Thursday, September 13, 2012

Responsibility

Bookstore
Late in 2010 I read about a large, renowned on-line retail bookseller selling a book written by a self-confessed child molester. The subject of the book was how to indulge in what is immoral and perverse. There was a furore amongst the public and a demand that the book be removed from the bookseller's site. The bookseller in turn slated such removal as censorship which according to them was not their responsibility. Thousands of customers joined forces and boycotted the bookseller, canceled memberships and soon after the company removed the book from the site. Many customers chose to go back to using the site and continue to make purchases through them again. I choose not to.

That incident has stayed with me as an example of how groups of individuals can abdicate responsibility by passing the buck to another. Maybe censorship is a big deal for the bookseller and so that was their first thought, but I truly believe that all the rules, regulations, institutions in our world should not rule over basic human values. This retailer probably refuses many authors for various reasons, was there really a reason to say yes to this one? Freedom of speech is a right of all, but that freedom abused cannot be a right. There must necessarily be a line that is determined not by written rules rather from our basic respect for one another as human beings. The innocent, the marginalized, the oppressed need us as individuals and as communities to protect them with every cell of our bodies. No one needs to know how to molest a child! The two words, 'child' and 'molestation' do not belong together. For me that is a no-brainer and yet the author gave an interview justifying writing the book to protect the children from harm. In his mind there is a 'humane way' in which the act may be performed. That can only come from a deranged mind. Such a person needs to be kept under surveillance because his thoughts are against basic human values.

When the top executives of an organization can justify the selling of such a book - they are not deranged but are calculating the profits and have shut off one side of their brains so as to let the other side do its job.

Two sides of the brain
Their brains are in an imbalance and this imbalance is rampant in our society today. The analytical side of our brain has placed a spreadsheet with a set of columns with specific headings and formulas, smothering our sense of values so thoroughly that our morality has become subservient to the glitter and glamour of materialism. This is evident when we see who we look up to as role models today. The ones with big homes, multiple luxury and sports vehicles, tons of money with faces and bodies that have completely lost their originality. We emulate celebrities by bragging about wearing clothes or jewelry that a star wore at an event, or one by a designer who caters to a celebrity. We are excited if we are in the presence of an athlete of a major team or a movie star. What is it about them that we admire or aspire to emulate - their name, their fame, their money, their lifestyle? None of these define them. We know very little about the real person within. Yet their outer persona is our ideal. These ideals only take us further away from our own personal humanity and divinity.

As individuals, communities and organizations our social responsibilities are multifold. They do not begin with donating a few bucks to charities or supporting a cause - that is a very small part of social responsibility.

Some Responsibilities
Our responsibility begins with being good human beings who care about the self, family, friends, neighbors, other people, other creatures, our environment, our earth, nature and our collective existence. When we consider this collective existence as an extension of us and us as an integral part of the whole, then and only then can we be truly charitable.
Sharing




Then it is possible to share what we have and gracefully be part of what others share with us.







I choose not to go back to the bookseller even though their repertoire is bigger, their prices are lower, their customer service is second to none - all great business qualities - but I hesitate because I doubt their integrity. If they can so easily compromise the well-being of children, they undermine their social responsibility and I prefer not to do business with those who may abdicate from their duty that demands they make this world a better place by responding to their inner truth and not only to their pocket-book.We need to slow down and take stock of who we have become as a race and champion change, be the change. Value the truth, measure the people we associate with and learn both how to be and how not to be.


Make a pledge to give up one action or habit today that is immoral or unethical but outwardly profitable so we can turn our own life inward and find that spark that takes us to a higher plane. As the human race, let us recognize that our existence is in jeopardy if we continue to compromise with our own humanity. It is my responsibility to increase the level of humanity and the only way I can, is by being more humane myself.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Concession vs Compromise

I just realized I have been misusing the word 'compromised' - I have always 'conceded!'


Be happy about it :(

Life has been a series of concessions. Give in, be happy about it, and proud of myself. I am not sure why I chose to fool myself this way. Maybe it is because I am a woman and an East Indian woman at that, who needs to consider everyone else's needs before my own. I never thought about my truth. Even as I write this I can feel the hesitation about being blatant regarding what I really want to say. It may hurt some people in my life. This, though, has nothing to do with anyone else. It is how I have treated myself. No one asked me to concede. I could just as easily have stood my ground, but chose not to.

I am queen!

My father, who is still my only real hero, always told me that I could be me and achieve anything I wanted to. Unfortunately I only had him actively in my life for 10 years. I took his lesson to heart and passed it on to my sons, but never really imbibed it myself. I live in this make-believe world where I am queen of everything and everyone around me, but in reality I simply hand my power to anyone who asks for it and pretend it is in my best interest too. It never is, I end up giving a part of me away.


There is no way to get the power back, as once given away it cannot be recovered. The power is inherent and I need to learn to use it wisely by drawing from my deep sense of self worth and self awareness. Over the years I have learned so much about myself and each discovery has surprised me, since what I thought was the right way to be, was harming the real me. Insidiously I self inflicted pain while vicariously celebrating the joy of others. For fulfillment life must be balanced. The joy of others is just as important as ones own joy. There is a joy in seeing others happy but to truly appreciate that joy one must nurture and respect ones own passions too.


I have given up careers for the welfare of family. It is not the giving up of careers that I am concerned about, it is the expectation that I should and would, that is the problem. To go from being a physician to an accountant to a home-maker because of the needs of my family have taken a toll. Being versatile is a great asset, but it also means shutting ones passion off. I am a healer - I believe I have the skills to help people who are ill. I am a writer - I can express my innermost experiences through the written word. I am not an accountant, nor am I an administrator, though I did well while I held these positions at work. When I ease the pain of another I feel complete, when I balance the books I feel........ job completed. No work is right or wrong, but how I feel doing the work is important and I feel rewarded when I help ease the pain of others and joyous when I write. I do not need to earn money doing these - I almost feel dirty using these as a means to an end, but the economics of family life has required me to sell my skills for a price.
Priorities are better aligned! :)
Today as I face another challenge in life I am wondering what I will be called upon to do, and how I will handle it. I know better and I should handle it well. I will go within me to find the answers and not accept what the materialistic world outside is demanding of me. Life priorities are better aligned now. I can truly compromise if the need arises, but I need not concede.



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Struggle

Difficult times visit us all as we go through life. Pain, struggle & heartache are always intertwined with pleasure, joy and jubilations. Just as we open ourselves to what brings pleasure we need to learn to open ourselves to what brings pain and do so fearlessly. Both will pass, since both are transient.





Fear only makes pain more pronounced and perpetuates more fear. The challenge lies in dealing with fear. Fear is an overwhelming emotion that affects our capacity to think rationally. Deep breaths and a conscious effort to overcome the fear is essential and constructive. The question, "What is the worst that can happen?" gives us answers that can be equally frightening, but may help quell the fear. 







Simply answering the question is never enough. We must find solutions to overcome or combat that worst case scenario by gathering more information, soliciting advice, discussing the problem and taking necessary action. This process gives us the feeling of being in control and of knowing more, some things that do help to dispel fear.

Sometimes the answer to the worst that can happen maybe as drastic as "I could die" or "so-n-so could die." Well if I could die then I need to ensure that those I leave behind do not undergo hardships due to things I may have neglected and so I could expend my energy in dotting my 'i's and crossing my 't's. If so-n-so will be gone, I need to develop a plan to cope. Often times, though, that is not the answer to the worst that can happen and finding things to do to help dispel the fear is much easier and the process itself helps ease the overwhelming fear.

Struggle is what teaches us important life lessons. Often if we stay aware and have foresight and the skills to make decisions by using the what-if method we can avoid the fears that bad times bring into our lives. To develop these skills requires a calm mind and an awareness about ones infinite potential.

Rat race!!

Constant rat races make it impossible to give the mind the rest it needs to be calm.


Nature Walks

Having a calming hobby like gardening, painting, running, nature walking or being in the habit of meditating, listening to soft music, caring for pets, gives us the opportunity to get in touch with our inner self.


Caring for pets.

Always looking outwards tires the mind. As humans we have the capacity to calm our mind ourselves. Just a few minutes a day of coming in from the rat race of life gives us the opportunity to ratify and strengthen the belief in our inherent potential to achieve what seems impossible - inner peace. Not that calming down is enough - from that calmness comes the capacity to develop skills that helps call on the inner strength to overcome fears and make intelligent life choices.

Struggle can break you if you do not develop the capacity to deal with it, but it need not. Look around at people, you can be sure that each has had to deal with struggles, some have stood on the back of it and grown to be better, stronger more compassionate people and then there are those who have cowered down and given up on themselves and stopped growing or being productive. There is a method to overcoming hardships and it is possible to learn the skills. Don't ever give up, find answers, take action and do it with confidence. Every life event will pass.