When you are leading an incomplete Life, how can you be happy?

Don’t nurture and cling on to expectations.

A young lady, who is a writer, met me at The Artist’s Soul  event yesterday. She said she loves writing but she doesn’t write much. I asked her why it is so. “I have a fear that people may not read what I write,” she replied. I told her, “Write for yourself. If people read it, great. If people don’t read it, great. Write without expectations. The moment expectations come into your Life, you have invited agony too.”

The young lady is not alone in the way she feels. A majority of people base their actions on social expectations. Either they are expecting something from society. Or they are pandering to society’s expectations of them. So, nett nett they are not living their lives the way they ought to be living them. They are living incomplete, unfulfilled lives. They are suffering, and so, they are unhappy.

AVIS-Viswanathan-Don't-expect-a-return-on-a-gift

The key to happiness lies in dropping expectations. And you can do that by focusing on the process, the journey, than on the reward or the destination. The problem with obsessing over the reward is that you will be depressed if you don’t get it. And, as is true about Life, you don’t always get what you want. So, in the lady’s case, she has talent, a gift, to express herself with the written word. But she’s not using that talent. She imagines people will not read what she writes. So, she has allowed an expectation of a reward – that people must read and possibly like her writing – to come into the picture. With the expectation around, she is living an incomplete Life – she is not doing what she loves doing. When you are leading an incomplete Life, how can you be happy? This is how, the moment an expectation comes into your Life, it ruins your inner peace.

On the other side, when you forever try to meet and fulfill expectations that others have of you, your Life is again incomplete. Then, you are not living your Life – you are living it the way others want you to live it.

I have lived my Life both ways. And, surely, I have suffered until I dropped all expectations – of others and of me. I have learnt that the simplest way to inner peace is to do whatever you have to do, whatever you love doing, and offer it to Life, without expecting anything back in return. If you think about it deeply, Life itself is a gift. So is your talent. Isn’t expecting a return on what you have got free – your Life itself and your talent – possibly being avaricious? This doesn’t mean you should not ask for or accept a value that people may offer you. In a real world, where money is an integral measure of value and also a necessary resource of survival, you can’t avoid asking for and receiving a return. But don’t nurture and cling on to expectations. Beware, they only bring agony!

 

 

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Awaken the child in you

Last evening I met a couple of interesting people – just social and professional acquaintances – and we laughed a lot. About silly things. We talked for a long time about inconsequential details that we obsess over in Life – and we laughed. This morning when I woke up and reflected on the evening’s camaraderie, I thought, why are we not this way all the time? Why must every meeting – at least in the professional circuit – conform to an agenda? Why can’t we be like kids – simple, uncomplicated, funny, happy?

Look at the children in your family, up until the age of 5 at least. Don’t they deal with people as they are? Never judging. Always trusting. Full of energy and enthusiasm. When you are child-like, and see the world with curiosity, with a raging quest for each new experience, you will find your soul singing and you will find bliss in every moment!

When you awaken the child in you, you will never have a problem living__and you will never feel old! While it may be a good idea to choose a successful adult to be a role model for your dreams, ambitions and professional aspirations, in terms of your attitude to Life__and to practice intelligent living__it may just be a great idea to make an infant your role model! Children teach us innocence, to forgive and forget, to trust and to be joyful at all times! British author, known most for his science fiction works, Brian Aldiss painted a bleak, but awakening picture of adulthood with these words: “When childhood dies, its corpses are called adults and they enter society, one of the politer names of hell. That is why we dread children, even if we love them; they show us the state of our decay.” As adults we have stopped being innocent. There’s a lurking suspicion we have in every encounter, judging motives and evaluating people all the time. We carry baggage of past hurts and often want to avenge insults and betrayals. We are never happy for whatever moment we are living through __ always choosing to wallow in the past or worry for the future.

Each of us has the opportunity to be the child that we once were. When nothing else but the pitter-patter of raindrops or a butterfly sitting on a flower or a passing train’s whistle really mattered. So, if you are walking around a puddle and not through it, if you are worried about what people at the table will think if you dropped sauce on yourself, if you are conscious of people looking at you at an airport while you peer at and count the planes, if you are unable to sleep deeply, peacefully, instantaneously, it’s time for you to go back to your childhood. And do all those things NOW that you did then.

There is still the child in you__rediscover your true self!