Each of us is prone to self-destruct ourselves at least once. Only our awareness can help us avoid that phase in Life.
A friend chatted with me on Facebook and wanted to know what had happened to another friend who had not been in touch for over 20 years now. I said I had no clue. Apparently this friend, who had gone out of circulation, had had an affair with his colleague at work, so his wife had thrown him out of their home, his girlfriend took all his money and ditched him and the guy went into depression. He ended up getting booked on charges of planting a bomb at the Howrah railway station! That was the last that anyone had heard of him. So, the friend, who was chatting with me, said, sounding very holier-than-thou: “He destructed himself.”
Those three words startled me. There was a sharp, stinging truth in them. In a way, from where much of my immediate world would see me, even I had destructed myself. Making some horrible business decisions that landed us in a bankruptcy as a Firm and in abject penury as a family for a large part of the past decade. Even so, through this catharsis, I believe I have learnt a very, very important, albeit expensive, lesson: Life is all about losing yourself and finding yourself.
To be sure, there’s a self-destruct button in each of us. And without fail, without exception, each of us will press it at least once in our lifetimes. We may do it gradually or we may do it all of a sudden, but press it, we sure will. The only way to shift from a mode prone to self-destruction to one of intelligent living is to practice awareness.
In Life, all matters of morality, discretion, right, wrong, social hierarchy, power, position, grace, disgrace are subjective. Period. Who is to decide what’s right and what’s wrong? Who’s to define what’s discretion and what’s indiscretion? Is being physically intimate, as in the instance above, with someone wrong? Isn’t it a biological need? Is sharing with someone wrong? Isn’t it an emotional need? Who decides acceptable and unacceptable behavior in an individual? Society may define it to an individual perhaps, but nobody other than the individual__himself or herself__can decide that for that individual!
So, I don’t believe it is prudent to judge those who make choices that lead them on a ruinous path. Each of us, in some way or the other, is on a self-destruction mode. Our means of self-destruction may vary. Someone may be self-destructing with anger and someone else will be self-destructing with grief. Some may be prone to lust or to jealousy and others to insecurity. Some may be destructing with addictions like smoking or alcohol, while some others may be held hostage to gambling or a hi-flying lifestyle. Or someone may be simply struck by hubris. So, ‘self-destruction and falling from grace’ does not apply to a few alone. If you see the point being made here, then appreciate that no one, that includes you, is free from the possibility of self-destruction!
It is therefore important to review yourself from time to time. Ask yourself if whatever you are doing makes you comfortable – or does it leave you feeling guilty and disturbed? This self-examination is critical. When you do this, you are no longer, even subconsciously, hiding from yourself. A brilliant awareness then takes over. Every time a temptation arises in you, to get angry or grieve or lust or drink or smoke, your awareness will step in and awaken you from your stupor. Awareness is the only way to freedom. Then nothing will tempt you. Neither a cigarette, nor alcohol, nor anger or sorrow, nor sex or gambling. You may well continue to experience everything for sure. But you will cling on to nothing. Nothing can and will pin you down. Your awareness will ensure that you are free__and are not enslaved by someone or something.
Think about this. Employ awareness to exit the self-destruct mode. Only then can you find yourself whenever you feel totally lost in Life!
Celebrate being clueless and not knowing where your Life is going!
There may be times in Life when you will begin to question why you made the choices that you made. There may be anger and grief in you for what has happened. And there may even be guilt over what you have done that led to what has happened. As you wallow in self-pity and self-doubt, everything about your Life will appear listless, uninteresting and meaningless. You just begin to hate the Life you have and don’t know where to begin. Or how to snap out of such a state.
Relax. You are perfectly normal if you feel that way about your Life just now. It is only from feeling lost in Life can you find yourself, find focus and learn to appreciate the value of being happy despite your circumstances. I too have been there and felt exactly that way. So whatever I tell you now, I share from personal experience.
We must first understand that Life by itself has no meaning. You came with nothing. And you will go, when your time is up, with nothing. So all this drama of achieving, possessing, losing, reclaiming, all this is just a waste of an entire lifetime, really. But this doesn’t mean that there’s no point in living. Obviously a Higher, Intelligent (that’s certainly more intelligent that everyone around here) Energy has created you and given you the gift of this lifetime. Now if you are spending this lifetime brooding, grieving and feeling miserable, then you are clearly squandering this opportunity, this gift. Recognize that the opportunity to utilize the gift of this lifetime is with you. Nobody but you can live your Life for you. No matter who you are with, you have to act, you have to take charge, you have to get moving to create the Life that you will enjoy living. Simply, you must get down to work to bring meaning to your Life by doing all – and only – that which makes you happy.
Now, it’s quite possible that you are feeling lost in Life because you are where you are because of the choices you have made so far. It is always your past that creates your present. And it is your present that seeds the future. Since no one can undo the past, the only way you can move into the future is by living in the now. When you are clinging to the dead past, you are missing the now. Your brooding over what was is not going to change it for you. As you go along in Life you will discover that no experience is ever a waste – clearly, as Steve Jobs said, you can only connect the dots backward. So, let go of the past but learn from your past choices. Understand which of those choices made you happy. And which are the choices that you would never want to make again? Then ask yourself what is it that will make you happy? And begin to work in that direction. You must remember here that from where you are you may not be able to immediately transition to where you want to be. But unless you start making choices relating to your happiness, you will not move in the direction of where you want to be. Also know that sometimes the future you want to create for yourself may seem hopelessly distant. Or that you may struggle with getting started on the journey. This is when you must be patient and start learning to live in the now. Trust the process of Life. Things happen in their own time and at their own pace. Your job is to keep working on being happy celebrating and savoring each moment.
Knowing your ikigai helps here. Ikigai in Japanese means reason for being. But, colloquially, it also means what do you wake up for each morning? What gets you excited to get out of bed and going? Find your ikigai. And this takes some time and effort. So, you begin with a long list of things you like doing. And keep doing most of them. Soon you will realize that you love doing somethings more than the others. The list now gets shortened. And soon again you will discover that when doing a thing, or a couple of things, you just feel blissful. That then is your ikigai. Start focusing on it. Do it again, and again, and again. Become a master at your ikigai. When you become world-class and attain mastery at it, you not only are happy doing it, you are also profiting from your happiness because the world likes to pay a premium to engage with masters!
So, stop ruing the fact that you are lost. Instead celebrate being clueless. And get down to working on your Life. An exciting journey awaits you that will help you understand who you really are and what makes you really come alive and be happy.