Archive for December, 2011

My Struggle with Fear

December 21, 2011

Life has many descriptions. Life is a journey, not a destination. Life is also a challenge, a struggle. Life is the toughest challenge we’ll face in our life (a sentence starting and ending with life). Life is also a test, with different outcomes for different people, as not everybody succeeds in this test called Life. Life is also an experiment, with full of trials and errors, like Gandhi’s. In fact, they are nothing short of a real life movie with many plots and twists and the ups and downs. Hence, I don’t bother much with movies and other entertainment stuffs, as I’ve my own movie (life) to take care of. We all have something to learn from our lives. We learn from our mistakes, our experiences. Some manage to correct their mistakes and break the cycle of habitual patterns, while the rest keep repeating it and wallowing in it.

When there are problems, we are advised to write it down. So, I also decided to write it down, to understand myself better, and let others know me better. I usually keep things to myself, as I tend to suppress my emotions, out of nervousness or fear. This is not meant to highlight my flaws or insecurities and seek attention. This writing is primarily meant for me, as my self motivation. I’m well aware that my writing is only focused on my negativities and not on positvities, but those are the things that I want to overcome. I’m trying to accept my good and bad, but I’m not content. I still have a long way to go. I’m baring my soul here.

I realized that Adolf Hitler also wrote a book “Mein Kampf” which is a German translation for “My Struggle”. So, there is a similarity in the title, but not the content. I haven’t read his book, but it must be different as we are writing our own stuffs. There is also a movie with the same title on him, but it’s not an exact description of book.

I feel like my life is crippled with fear. Though, I’m physically an able bodied person, mentally I feel handicapped. I feel a disabled person with a positive attitude is a better person than me.

Why am I so afraid? What am I so afraid of? I’ve been asking this question to myself my whole life and still found no answer. I’ve somewhat figured out what I’m afraid of, e.g, fear of making mistakes, fear of revealing my weakness in the public, fear of conflict. I’m trying but I’ve still not been able to break away from my shackles of fear. I hope that someone might have definitive answer while I continue to look inward. Why am I not able to toughen up my soft nature? Why am I so afraid of conflict? Why do I lack confidence? Without overcoming these problems or my flaws (imperfections), I cannot achieve inner peace. These things are holding me back from realizing my potential ‘cos I want to take on the world as I see too many wrongs in this world.

Overcoming fear is the biggest challenge of my life and a rite of passage for me. I need to get through fear and pass this test of life. Tibet is burning and I’m not able to do much about it. I feel like I’ve never really grown up. My desire for perfection is to be completely free of fear. I just want to overcome every kind of fear that I’ve in whatever I do. I don’t want even a trace of fear in me. I just cannot accept any fear within myself. Its a total no.

I’ve to face my fear and believe in myself that I can overcome this fear. I’ve not exactly been running away from my problem, but I used to get overwhelmed by fear and was not succeeding in my quest. I’ve some excuse as well. There are so many things to think about in life like family, friends. studies, careers, etc and responsibilities that its hard for me to focus on my problem full time. I’ve been struggling to find balance in my life. Sometimes, I wish I can leave everything behind, to go on my quest for inner peace. But I’ve never had any intention of becoming a monk ‘cos I like girls, though I’ve no courage. haha. So, I don’t know where my life will take me, but I certainly don’t want be stuck in the monotonous and dull (robotic) life of just making a livelihood to survive, to support myself and my family. Goto work, come home, sleep, then goto work. There is no meaning in this as major part of our life shouldn’t be devoted only to work. We, humans have a lot of potentials, and we aren’t meant to do just work.

Human life is precious and we all are meant to do something meaningful in our life, not just work and bitch about others. This system needs to change. Anyway, I don’t think this “only work, work ” responsibility is for me. If we only work and work, one day we are going to die and this cycle of life will just keep going on and on. There will be no end to this cycle and it doesn’t have to be that way as life after all, according to Buddha, is full of sufferings and we’ve to break away from these cycle of sufferings, which I think is the ultimate purpose of human life. I think I got bit side-tracked but I still think its relevant.

I want to live by the truth. Hence I don’t want to be afraid of anything as I don’t want to have anything to hide. Therefore, even the Chinese spies are welcome to pry upon here. I may regret posting it later on, but not right now. Haha.

I’m always trying to know myself, my true nature. I’ve tried some meditations, but it’s not helping much as there can be no alternative to the real experience. If I want to overcome fear, then I’ve to face it, rather than meditate on fear and hoping it’ll go away. But, like others, I tend to prolong it and procrastinate. We always feel that our fears are just too big and that we are not yet ready or that it is not the right time.

I’m always observing and learning about myself. I’ve seen that in my quest for striving a perfect balance or perfection, I end up doing nothing, like being stuck in the middle. I know that I tend to take things seriously, so I try to take things lightly and I then end up not being serious at all, and then I lose my drive, and do nothing. I then lose touch with myself and feel lost for a while. In my case, I’m either driven or not. Looking for a middle ground loosens my drive. There may be this third or middle alternative, but its very elusive to me. I also lack lots of experiences in life, so perhaps, my search for the right balance or the middle path is too early for me. The third option should only be considered when both the previous two options have been well tried and tested. Otherwise, its like taking on more tasks than you can handle, or biting on more than you can chew.

Believing in oneself is important, but too much self belief can make the person stubborn, arrogant or narrow minded. It becomes the case of my way or the highway. So, being open minded is also very important, which means not being so full of oneself. So, this concept of balance applies in all aspects of life. And this is the hardest part. But from my life experiences, there is a right time for it, and the idea of balance only comes into play when both the extremes have been covered, but not before that. Otherwise, people will be be lost like me.

Also, my anxiety comes from me being perfectionist. There is a fear of making mistakes as I like to get everything right. I really have to confront this fear, and accept my mistakes. Saying and doing it, is two different things though. Somedays, its even a struggle for me to do the simplest of things, as I get so nervous and feel so low, like stepping out of home.

My life is still an experiment and a work in progress. And I haven’t found the key to my happiness yet or the right balance. When I do find it, I’ll let the whole world know. In the meantime, I’ll continue with my serious nature. At least, I can try to get something done rather than nothing. I also feel a lot better when I find a purpose.

Ways of tackling fear.

I found this great article by Pema Chodron.

HOW TO DEFEAT FEAR

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave instructions for the battle.
The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”
Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.”
Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?”
Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”

In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.

I also want to share this great but short video from sadhguru.

Freedom from Fear – Aung San Suu Kyi.

December 21, 2011

It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it. Most Burmese are familiar with the four a-gati, the four kinds of corruption. Chanda-gati, corruption induced by desire, is deviation from the right path in pursuit of bribes or for the sake of those one loves. Dosa-gati is taking the wrong path to spite those against whom one bears ill will, and moga-gati is aberration due to ignorance. But perhaps the worst of the four is bhaya-gati, for not only does bhaya, fear, stifle and slowly destroy all sense of right and wrong, it so often lies at the root of the other three kinds of corruption. Just as chanda-gati, when not the result of sheer avarice, can be caused by fear of want or fear of losing the goodwill of those one loves, so fear of being surpassed, humiliated or injured in some way can provide the impetus for ill will. And it would be difficult to dispel ignorance unless there is freedom to pursue the truth unfettered by fear. With so close a relationship between fear and corruption it is little wonder that in any society where fear is rife corruption in all forms becomes deeply entrenched.

Public dissatisfaction with economic hardships has been seen as the chief cause of the movement for democracy in Burma, sparked off by the student demonstrations 1988. It is true that years of incoherent policies, inept official measures, burgeoning inflation and falling real income had turned the country into an economic shambles. But it was more than the difficulties of eking out a barely acceptable standard of living that had eroded the patience of a traditionally good-natured, quiescent people – it was also the humiliation of a way of life disfigured by corruption and fear.

The students were protesting not just against the death of their comrades but against the denial of their right to life by a totalitarian regime which deprived the present of meaningfulness and held out no hope for the future. And because the students’ protests articulated the frustrations of the people at large, the demonstrations quickly grew into a nationwide movement. Some of its keenest supporters were businessmen who had developed the skills and the contacts necessary not only to survive but to prosper within the system. But their affluence offered them no genuine sense of security or fulfilment, and they could not but see that if they and their fellow citizens, regardless of economic status, were to achieve a worthwhile existence, an accountable administration was at least a necessary if not a sufficient condition. The people of Burma had wearied of a precarious state of passive apprehension where they were ‘as water in the cupped hands’ of the powers that be.

 Emerald cool we may be

As water in cupped hands

But oh that we might be

As splinters of glass

In cupped hands.

Glass splinters, the smallest with its sharp, glinting power to defend itself against hands that try to crush, could be seen as a vivid symbol of the spark of courage that is an essential attribute of those who would free themselves from the grip of oppression. Bogyoke Aung San regarded himself as a revolutionary and searched tirelessly for answers to the problems that beset Burma during her times of trial. He exhorted the people to develop courage: ‘Don’t just depend on the courage and intrepidity of others. Each and every one of you must make sacrifices to become a hero possessed of courage and intrepidity. Then only shall we all be able to enjoy true freedom.’

The effort necessary to remain uncorrupted in an environment where fear is an integral part of everyday existence is not immediately apparent to those fortunate enough to live in states governed by the rule of law. Just laws do not merely prevent corruption by meting out impartial punishment to offenders. They also help to create a society in which people can fulfil the basic requirements necessary for the preservation of human dignity without recourse to corrupt practices. Where there are no such laws, the burden of upholding the principles of justice and common decency falls on the ordinary people. It is the cumulative effect on their sustained effort and steady endurance which will change a nation where reason and conscience are warped by fear into one where legal rules exist to promote man’s desire for harmony and justice while restraining the less desirable destructive traits in his nature.

In an age when immense technological advances have created lethal weapons which could be, and are, used by the powefful and the unprincipled to dominate the weak and the helpless, there is a compelling need for a closer relationship between politics and ethics at both the national and international levels. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations proclaims that ‘every individual and every organ of society’ should strive to promote the basic rights and freedoms to which all human beings regardless of race, nationality or religion are entitled. But as long as there are governments whose authority is founded on coercion rather than on the mandate of the people, and interest groups which place short-term profits above long-term peace and prosperity, concerted international action to protect and promote human rights will remain at best a partially realized struggle. There willcontinue to be arenas of struggle where victims of oppression have to draw on their own inner resources to defend their inalienable rights as members of the human family.

The quintessential revolution is that of the spirit, born of an intellectual conviction of the need for change in those mental attitudes and values which shape the course of a nation’s development. A revolution which aims merely at changing official policies and institutions with a view to an improvement in material conditions has little chance of genuine success. Without a revolution of the spirit, the forces which produced the iniquities of the old order would continue to be operative, posing a constant threat to the process of reform and regeneration. It is not enough merely to call for freedom, democracy and human rights. There has to be a united determination to persevere in the struggle, to make sacrifices in the name of enduring truths, to resist the corrupting influences ofdesire, ill will, ignorance and fear.

Saints, it has been said, are the sinners who go on trying. So free men are the oppressed who go on trying and who in the process make themselves fit to bear the responsibilities and to uphold the disciplines which will maintain a free society. Among the basic freedoms to which men aspire that their lives might be full and uncramped, freedom from fear stands out as both a means and an end. A people who would build a nation in which strong, democratic institutions are firmly established as a guarantee against state-induced power must first learn to liberate their own minds from apathy and fear.

Always one to practise what he preached, Aung San himself constantly demonstrated courage – not just the physical sort but the kind that enabled him to speak the truth, to stand by his word, to accept criticism, to admit his faults, to correct his mistakes, to respect the opposition, to parley with the enemy and to let people be the judge of his worthiness as a leader. It is for such moral courage that he will always be loved and respected in Burma – not merely as a warrior hero but as the inspiration and conscience of the nation. The words used by Jawaharlal Nehru to describe Mahatma Gandhi could well be applied to Aung San:

‘The essence of his teaching was fearlessness and truth, and action allied to these, always keeping the welfare of the masses in view.’

Gandhi, that great apostle of non-violence, and Aung San, the founder of a national army, were very different personalities, but as there is an inevitable sameness about the challenges ofauthoritarian rule anywhere at any time, so there is a similarity in the intrinsic qualities of those who rise up to meet the challenge. Nehru, who considered the instillation of courage in the people of India one of Gandhi’s greatest achievements, was a political modernist, but as he assessed the needs for a twentieth-century movement for independence, he found himself looking back to the philosophy of ancient India: ‘The greatest gift for an individual or a nation . .. was abhaya, fearlessness, not merely bodily courage but absence of fear from the mind.’

Fearlessness may be a gift but perhaps more precious is the courage acquired through endeavour, courage that comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one’s actions, courage that could be described as ‘grace under pressure’ – grace which is renewed repeatedly in the face of harsh, unremitting pressure.

Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear ofdeath, fear oflosing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man’s self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.

The wellspring of courage and endurance in the face of unbridled power is generally a firm belief in the sanctity of ethical principles combined with a historical sense that despite all setbacks the condition of man is set on an ultimate course for both spiritual and material advancement. It is his capacity for self-improvement and self-redemption which most distinguishes man from the mere brute. At the root of human responsibility is the concept of peffection, the urge to achieve it, the intelligence to find a path towards it, and the will to follow that path if not to the end at least the distance needed to rise above individual limitations and environmental impediments. It is man’s vision of a world fit for rational, civilized humanity which leads him to dare and to suffer to build societies free from want and fear. Concepts such as truth, justice and compassion cannot be dismissed as trite when these are often the only bulwarks which stand against ruthless power.



Chen Guengcheng, the blind Chinese activist, comments on China and the gov't.

December 16, 2011

We can see in any society that man’s natural tendency is to punish the evil and promote the benevolent. However, in this society of ours, the opposite is true where the benevolent is punished and the evil is promoted. It is a system that discourages people to do benevolent things and teaches them to do evil deeds. It leads people in violating the law and in doing evil deeds. Full comments on his youtube video below.

Understanding Love and Life.

December 3, 2011

Turns out I haven’t learned anything new at all. I don’t like to change my statements and I even get tired of it, but if they don’t hold true, then they must be changed. You only try hard if your love is true, otherwise you are just feeding the ego of people with hard to get attitude, though they may not be mean. In my case, I was blinded a bit by desperation, so its crucial of get hold of oneself, thanks to my inner circle of family and friends. So, at least I realized my mistake. The article below is from my previous statements which don’t hold true anymore, but I didn’t want to delete it as I’ve put effort in my thoughts, and will be a testament of my previous thoughts.

There was an Indian movie “Chalte Chalte” on TV in morning while having breakfast, and I learned something about love from it, mainly the first half. The second half is about the usual fights between the couple and how love overcomes it all. Anyway, the story is a typical hindi movie that in it, Raj likes the girl but she is engaged to someone else. but Raj doesn’t give up and wins her heart eventually.

In the movie, the gal tells Raj to let go of her and gives him reasons like she is engaged to her childhood friend and all of her family and relives will be coming to her wedding. So, she tells him to find someone else. But raj feels his love is true and isn’t willing to accept any reasons. He’s determined to pursue her till the end as he doesn’t want the question mark for the rest of his life as what if he did or didn’t try? In this movie, the girl lives in athens, and will be going home soon. So, he books the same flight as her and keeps wooing her on her way home with the usual dance and songs and gradually wins her heart and she later calls off her wedding with her friend and marries Raj instead and they return to India. That’s the first half. Second half is another story.

I’m always on the lookout for answers and I observe and learn things from films also, not just romantic ones. What I learned from this film is that had I been in Raj’s place, I would have easily given up on her as I’m man of reasons and her reasons would have been enough for me to let her go. My policy has been that if I like someone and she don’t, then I’ll move on without much fuss and look for another one as I don’t want to create problems for her. The end of matter as no is a no. I’m also too proud to pursue girls ‘cos I think that’s only for cheap roadside romeo. I also have a too complex mindset to think about girls. I also don’t have courage to ask girls as i don’t believe in myself nor have confidence. I’m too guarded a person to let out all my feelings in front of someone. To sum it up, I’ve had many crushes, but never a gf as I never tried hard enough to get one and if I keep on like this, I’m never going to get one. I didn’t believe in wooing when there are so many other issues to think of in life.

I’m emotional but at the same time, very logical and I don’t do anything without reasons. so, I will not be able to find love with my head. It has to be through heart and I need to stop thinking too much and just feel the love and go all the way. ‘Cos of guarded personality and habit, I’ve a hard time lowering my guard and letting myself go, but it is something I must work on. For the same reason, its hard to accept myself for the way I’m as I’m not content with my flaws. I also need to take the love seriously and focus on it. I don’t pursue girls ‘cos I don’t want to look a fool, but I think I need to get over that awkwardness. Also, There is indeed such a thing as fighting for love, as someone once told me. Haha.

I’ve to learn to overlook all the reasons and try to woo the girl till the end ‘cos I shouldn’t be questioning myself later in the years as to did I try enough or not? I should give it all. Again, all these are easy to say, but lets see if I succeed. For me, life is all about learning and I felt to need to write about my new insights on life and love. I also need to find the balance in life ‘cos my problem is I either overdo it or I don’t do it. Life is also about finding the right balance.

One major things is that I’ve a very critical mind which makes me negative, so I need to get over it. In a way, my life is also an experiment. Haha.

Anyway, I still have many things to learn in life due to my closed nature and I’ll keep them posted. haha.