Monday, November 30, 2009

Thoughts on Equality

Every creature whether it is a human being, bird, animal, insect, fish etc. is made up of two essential elements. One is the body and the other is the soul / life within the body. The body of each being is clearly made up of the basic elements like water, earth, fire. The soul is more subtle and one cannot see it or feel it. However, we can presume that the soul is no different in each. Thus if we break down the substances that go to form each being, we can see that it is the same.

Thus, although the outward appearance is different each is the essentially the same. Yet, we believe that we are different, superior, inferior etc. We believe that we deserve to get higher share in things because we are human. We believe that the world is made only for our existence and enjoyment. Many of us care two hoots about the rights of other creatures or beings.

Within humans also we create artificial barriers and obstacles for others based on colour, religion, caste, creed, region etc. Due to our selfish motives, we expect the best for us and want the others to be satisfied with our left overs. Our ego always prompts us to fulfil needs of ourselves even if it is at the cost of depriving someone else.

Although everyone is equal and has equal rights, we are all different in terms of our capabilities and talents. It is not easily possible for anyone to become extraordinary in any field without certain inborn talents. Dedication, sincerity, perseverance and hard work can take us forward but without the inner spark, we may never move from good to great.

Similarly, there are certain roles that we are biologically programmed to do that can't be delegated or modified. For example, only women can bear children and that too, safely only during a certain period of their lives. Likewise, women are psychologically better equipped in the role of educating and grooming children to become responsible adults.

We see two extremes prevalent in the world. One is gross inequity in the treatment of humans and other creatures by people who are better endowed. The other extreme is the abuse the concepts of equality. If, in the name of equality, everyone wanted to be doing cushy jobs and have cushy lives, how will the world survive? For instance, the taxi driver cannot fly the aeroplane, the engineer cannot do a surgery and the cat cannot perform the role of a watchdog. Each one has to perform the role that one is best suited for.

While we work towards re-establishing a comprehensive equality mindset in this world, we should also work towards becoming mature, balanced and realistic in choosing and performing our respective roles.

"Having choices in life is a privilege. Making the right choices in life is a responsibility" - Anonymous

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Greed is Evil

It has been almost a year since the terror attacks in Mumbai. It was a mindless display of hatred and violence against helpless and innocent civilians. The terrorist who was captured says he was instructed to create fear by killing as many people as he could while he was still alive and had ammunition. Many lives were lost and many more people were injured in the two days of carnage.

A question that comes up is how do we prevent such attacks in future and how do we create conditions for a peaceful life. Lot of talk and discussions have revolved around increasing the level of intelligence networking, patrolling, security forces and arming ourselves with superior weapons. Retaliatory attacks were also considered as a possible option.

While all of these may be good deterrents, they are by themselves not enough. Haven't we seen endless bouts of violence in some countries and regions? We know through history that permanent peace cannot be brought by violence or by suppression. An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world become blind, said Gandhiji. The solution to permanent peace lies elsewhere.

The root cause of most problems is greed. As long as greed exists, men will continue to seek more, acquire more and amass more. In modern world today, greed is considered as an acceptable behaviour. People think progress is linked to greed. It is not just the political leaders or the criminals who have greed. All of us can be accused of indulging in greed. The only difference, perhaps, could be in the methods used to satisfy our greed. Even nations sometimes display behaviour that originates in greed.

When the society thus allows greed to occupy a space, it starts manifesting itself in various ways. Come to think of it, we are all jostling each other to get a larger slice of the world's resources. Some do it subtly or by using their intelligence or talents. Some, who do not have these skills use other methods. Some use power and indulge in violence. The terrorists, in many ways, represent the cruder or crueler form of greed satisfaction. The objective of their greed is power and all that it can achieve.

The important question to ask ourselves would be whether greed should have a space in our society. If we say yes, we will continue to live in a dangerous world. And if the answer to this is negative, we should ponder on how to eradicate greed. How do we create conditions wherein greed is abolished from our hearts? How do we learn of be satisfied with what we have and not crave for what we have not? How do we make values-based-living (VBL) as the most popular and sought after lifestyle?

Any thoughts?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hit the pause button !

Have you noticed people who are outspoken? They tend to speak the first thing that comes to their mind. In a way, it is a good thing whereby people around them know exactly what they think. In many ways, it is a weakness because blurting out thoughts without thinking about its effect is really foolish. I am one such guy.

It is not just in moments of anger or emotion that I do this. Even in normal situations, I feel kind of compelled to spell out my thoughts. Maybe it is a need to be honest and truthful that drives me to this. Maybe it is a desire to get straight to the point without beating around the bush. In any case, I have suffered and caused much suffering to happen with this trait of mine.

Intuitively I know that it makes sense to push the "pause" button before I speak. When the pause button is pushed, it gives us time to think over what we are going to speak. We can re-frame our words to make it sound more agreeable and acceptable. It can help us to not speak if we realise that our words are going to hurt.

People will not mistake us if we speak or react slowly. Even if they do, it is OK. Better to be thought of a slow or a dull person than a rude or a brash person. When we pause and speak words that sound smart, soft and sweet, people will forgive us for speaking late or slow. We may even appear to be intelligent and thoughtful.

Do you agree?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Celebrate in Style !!

Today is the birthday of a dear friend. This post is dedicated to him.

When I asked him yesterday as to how he is going to celebrate his birthday, he said "My company gives a very expensive cake to all its employees on their birthday. I have told them to send the cake to an orphanage where a girl who shares my birthday lives. I am also planning to give her a few gifts. In addition, I am planning to buy a good self improvement book to read."

I was delighted to hear this. How many of us think of others on our birthday? How many of us think that celebrations can be made more meaningful if shared with others? Here is a living example of a selfless person who takes every opportunity to spread joy around and takes pleasure in that. I am glad I have a friend like that who is so inspiring.

I saw an advertisement recently in which a person reports late to work on his birthday. His boss asks him sarcastically as to what kind of celebrations he was up to. This guy says he had gone to donate blood which he does each year on this date. This is also another beautiful example.

If we tune our minds to it, each day can be an occasion for a celebration. Each day can be spent on helping someone and on making someone smile. Whether it is a birthday, an anniversary, a promotion or some other milestone, let us celebrate it by including people who need it the most.