Free Will or Fatalism?

How do we know what we know? To know something, we must first of all establish what we accept as data, and what we consider requires definition and proof, that is, we must determine what we know already, and what we wish to know. And, we know from the very first step towards cognition that a man is struck by two obvious facts: The existence of the world in which he lives and the existence of consciousness in himself. Neither the one nor the other can he prove or disprove, but both of them are facts for him. This is all we have the right to accept as data. All the rest requires proof of its existence and definition on the basis of these two data we already possess. The direct outcome of these two fundamental data; the existence in us of a psychological life, i.e. sensations, representations, concepts, thinking, feeling, desires and so on, and the existence of the world outside us is a division of everything we know into subjective and objective, a division perfectly clear to our ordinary perception. Everything we take to be the properties of the world, we call objective, and everything we take as properties of our inner life, we call subjective. The ‘subjective world’ we perceive directly; it is within us. The ‘objective world’ we represent to ourselves as existing outside of us is most clearly denned by the fact that we perceive it as existing in time and in space and cannot perceive it or represent it to ourselves apart from these conditions. Usually, we say that the objective world consists of things and phenomena, i.e. of things and of changes in the state of things. A phenomenon exists for us in time, a thing exists in space. But such a division of the world into subjective and objective does not satisfy us. By means of reasoning we can establish that, actually, we only know our own sensations, representations and concepts, and that we perceive the objective world by projecting outside of ourselves the presumed causes of our sensations. Further, we find that our cognition of both the subjective and the objective world may be true or false, correct or incorrect. The criterion for determining the correctness or incorrectness of our cognition of the subjective world is the form of relationship of one sensation to others, and the force and character of the sensation itself. In other words, the correctness of one sensation is verified by comparing it with another of which we are more sure, or by the intensity and the taste of a given sensation. The criterion for determining the correctness or incorrectness of our cognition of the objective world is exactly the same. It seems to us that we define things and phenomena of the objective world by means of comparing them one with another; and we imagine that we discover the laws of their existence apart from ourselves and our cognition of them. But this is an illusion. We know nothing about things separately from ourselves and we have no means of verifying the correctness or incorrectness of our cognition of the objective world apart from sensations.
 
Since the remotest antiquity, the question of our relation to the true causes of our sensations has been the main subject of philosophical research. Men have always felt that they must find some solution of this question, some answer to it. These answers alternated between two poles, between a complete denial of the causes themselves, and the assertion that the causes of sensations lie in ourselves i.e. we have free will and not in anything external and the admission that we know these causes, that they are contained in the phenomena of the external world, that these very phenomena constitute the causes of sensations, and that the cause of observable phenomena themselves lies in some subtle forms of external world i.e. fatalism.
 
In simple words, free will is the ability to select a course of action as a means of fulfilling some desire which is under control of oneself. David Hume, put it as a power of acting or of not acting, according to the determination of one’s will while fatalism is the doctrine that all events are preordained and predestined in such a way that human beings do not have control over them. Nietzsche described it as an attitude of resignation in the face of some future event or events which are thought to be inevitable. 
 
A huge debate is going on with lots of argument: both in favor and against. Natalie Barney sees fatalism as the lazy man’s way of accepting the inevitable. Bill O’Reilly denied the concept of free will by saying “You don’t have free will when you have lung cancer.” Alan Moore’s opinion is “As far as I can see, it’s not important that we have free will, just as long as we have the illusion of free will to stop us going mad.” There are many who do not share either of these extreme views and hold a place midway between free will and fatalism. Kant established that our sensations must have causes in the external world, but that we are unable, and shall never be able, to perceive these causes by sensory means, i.e. by the means which serve us to perceive phenomena. Jawaharlal Nehru put it as “Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.”  
 
Life only thinks about itself. Life is only concerned about itself. Life everywhere faces two problems: survival and propagation. Life is being busy to resolve these fundamental issues or else goes extinct. In the words of Charles Darwin, “It is survival to the fittest.” Life in humans has some addition features due to having a larger brain in humans as compared to animals.  The misery in humans hampers the quality and performance in terms of survival and propagation.
 
Thus, by determining everything we know is about survival and propagation through our senses in terms of space and time which is indeed confirmed by Special Theory of relativity that space and time are not properties of the world, but merely properties of our perception of the world by means of sense organs. In the words of Einstein, “Time and space are modes by which we think and not conditions in which we live.” Consequently, it is we who invest it with these properties when we sense and perceive it. Quantum Physics, further, acknowledges the role of an observer in the observed physical world. The observed physical world is described rather by a mathematical structure that can best be characterized as representing information and propensities: some information about all the possible choices is simultaneously present in the quantum state, and the possibility that any one of the mutually exclusive alternatives might be pertinent. Whichever choice the experimenter eventually makes, the associated set of predictions is assumed to hold.
 
According to Kant, everything we find in external world is put into it by ourselves. We do not know what the world is like independently of ourselves. Moreover, our conception of things has nothing in common with the things as they are in themselves, apart from them. And, most important of all, our ignorance of things in them is due not to our insufficient knowledge, but to the fact that we are totally unable to have a correct knowledge of the world by means of sense-perception which is in congruence with the Principle of Uncertainty. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle states that one cannot simultaneously know the position and momentum of an object with arbitrarily high precision. The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa.
 
Sir Roger Penrose, studying the physical basis of consciousness applying quantum physics and Einstein’s general theory of relativity on Plank’s scale, figured out that consciousness involves a factor which is neither deterministic nor probabilistic but non-computable. Conscious choices and understanding may be non-computable and life may be seen as a combination of deterministic pre-conscious processes acted on by a non-computable influence.
 
It could be deduced that one can never know whether free will or fatalism. It is also clear that the main question is not about the free will or fatalism but to avoid the misery or sorrow in life. All schools of philosophy and religions are directed to solve this problem. The theory of free will, fatalism or concoction of both was devised to tackle this problem.  It is now a well establish fact that relaxation in concepts of absolute free will and fatalism appeals most of the people and could better cope with misery in majority. When Yagyavalkya, ancient Upanisada sage of India, was asked about free will or fatalism, he said “The concept of free will and fatalism are like two wheels of a cart; if anyone is missing, the cart only moves in circle- round and round. To ensure proper movement on path, one needs to use both the wheels.”
 
The same confusion was put before Muhammad and he asked the person to lift one of his legs. The person lifted his left leg. Again, the Prophet asked the person to lift another leg but he is bound and could not lift his leg. Initially, the person was free to lift his leg; in fact, he had options to choose whether he wanted to lift his left leg or right leg. As soon as he chose, he became bound. The concoction of free will and fatalism could also be understood by considering a sailboat analogy. A sailor sets the sail in a certain way; the direction the boat sails is determined by the action of the wind on the sail. One cannot change the direction of the wind but can adjust the sail to be in right direction.
 
One could think beyond space and time but could only express within the limits of space and time. Conscious choices may be non-computable but expressed algorithmically through deterministic or probabilistic statements. It could better be understood through biology of brain. The newest area of human brain is neocortex. The neocortex is responsible for rational and analytical thought and language. The limbic brain is responsible for all of feelings, such as trust and loyalty. It is also responsible for all human behavior and all decision-making, but it has no capacity for language. The communication takes place directly with the part of the brain that controls decision making, and the language part of the brain allows rationalizing those decisions. The part of the brain that controls the feelings has no capacity for language. It is this disconnection that makes putting feelings into words so hard. Again, the part of the brain that controls decision-making doesn’t control language, so we rationalize. Rationally, one knows that one’s explanation isn’t the real reason. So, enlightened people could not express the higher level of consciousness in words and keep silence over the subject and when speaks one’s version is found to be different from another enlightened one’s rationally as in the case of Muhammad’s explanation and sailboat analogy.
 
There are also the cases where absolute free will was experienced; that is why, statements such as “Thou art That” and “I and My Father are One” were stated independently in different cultures and religion.  It is not possible to obtain absolute free will without entering in the realm of occultism and very few would have such psychology-type to combat misery in one’s life.
 
Basically, human beings can be broadly classified into four types according to their psycho-somatic conditions: the active type, the mystic type, the philosophic type and devotional type. This classification is based on the predominance of one or the other three aspects of the human mind: the will, the intellect and emotions. In the light of latest biological researches, the active type, devotional type, the philosophic type and the mystic type can be attributed to neurological pathway dominated by four major neurotransmitters: testosterone, estrogen, serotonin and dopamine respectively.  
 
Any single theory or concept could not meet the different requirements of all pyscho-somatic types. So, it is obvious to formulate various theories and concepts to alleviate sorrow and misery  in one’s  life keeping in mind the  necessities of different psycho-somatic  types.
 
You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way and the only way, it doesn’t exist.
~Friedrich Nietzche

Discipline- Essence of success

Steam without chamber and water without dam could not produce electricity, so is man without discipline could not achieve success.
 
Discipline is collection of scattered components of personality within and channeling them towards success by being a part of the system. Discipline is in fact derived from proto-Indo-European word “dek-” which means “acceptance.” Discipline is the acceptance of the fact that channeling requires confinement; a sense of sacrifice for something better; a sense of hardship to forge a character as steel.
 
Gary Keller and Jay Papasan in their book ‘The One Thing’ state “this pervasive idea that the successful person is disciplined person who leads a disciplined life is a lie. The truth is we don’t need any more discipline than we already have. We just need to direct and manage it a little better.” And they are right.
 
There is a principle in physics which says that under constant volume, increase in pressure is directly proportional to increase in temperature and upon this principle, pressure cooker are made to cook the food fast as compared with traditional cooking. A gas pressure cooker is a device to cook food by raising pressure and subsequently raising temperature inside the cooker placed over the ordinary flame produced by domestic gas. It contains a metal base packed with all sides except top, a lid to cover the top after placing the food inside the cooker, a gasket or sealing ring and a weight. The lid has an opening for escaping the gas and releasing the extra pressure. The working is very simple. Food is placed inside the cooker along with some water and is closed with lid and sealing ring. Weight is put over the opening in the lid. The pressure cooker is now put on flame. Due to the heat of the flame, the temperature starts rising inside the cooker; the increasing temperature makes the water boil and evaporate. Since there is a weight on the opening in the lid, steam could not escape and increase the pressure inside and the increasing pressure raises the temperature. The process continues till the required pressure and temperature obtained. When the pressure exceeds the required limit, it lifts the weight on the lid and let some steam escape to maintain the required pressure and temperature inside. The lifting of weight and escaping of steam produce a whistling sound and it is the number of this whistling sound that determines whether the food is cooked inside or not. The same principle is applied in steam engines to run turbines for producing electricity or moving wagons on rails through railways.
 
What will happen if lid is not properly closed or there is defective sealing ring? The steam leak and required pressure and temperature will never be achieved. And, what will happen if weight is fixed or opening in the lid is closed? The cooker will burst due to excess pressure builds inside. The case is same with discipline. Lack of discipline incapables us to achieve success and on the other hand, excessive discipline breaks the system. We need optimal amount of discipline in order to succeed and we are already born with that. We must take care that it doesn’t leak through procrastination or other ways. In fact, we always do not need discipline; sometimes we have to relax it as marching over the bridge by the army. When army marches, all the members move their legs together in synchronous manner; all the left legs put together and all the right legs put together and this is dangerous for the bridge because of the pressure applied by the simultaneous feet at a time. 
    
I think all of us know that it is easy to break a single stick and very hard to break a bundle of sticks. This is also reflected in the potential damage of bridge by collective feet pressure of a battalion at a time and the collective pressure of steam inside the cooker while lifting the weight placed upon the lid. The purpose of unity is to focus on a common point and discipline is involved in it. Discipline is like a magnifying glass which concentrates the beams of sunlight on a point and helps burn a match stick without rubbing on match box. Focusing, channeling, directing or unifying mean stopping the leakage and make them available for our purpose. Discipline involves sacrifice and priority. Discipline helps us in reserving our vital strength and enthusiasm for more useful and productive things. In the words of Brian Tracy, “Discipline is having dinner before dessert.”
 
Discipline doesn’t mean to work mechanically like a robot with certain sets of programs pre-installed in the body. Discipline doesn’t imply to follow rules like a zombie but assimilation of principle to break the rules when necessary to sustain the principle. Discipline is courage to make a right decision for betterment in long terms rather than enjoying short term gratifications.  Paulo Coelho put it as just a choice between what one wants now and what one wants most.
 
Monkey-hunters use a box with an opening at the top, big enough for the monkey to slide its hand in. Inside the box are nuts. The monkey grabs the nuts and now its hand becomes a fist. The monkey tries to get its hand out but the opening is big enough for the hand to slide in, but too small for the fist to come out. Now the monkey has a choice, either to let go off the nuts and be free forever or hang on to the nuts and get caught. Guess what it picks every time? It hangs on to the nuts and gets caught. The monkey thinks that it is free and have right to get what it wants and now the thing of desire is in its hand. It seems happy but its happiness dries out as it get caught and put into cage for life long as a showpiece for entertainment of others. Epictetus said “Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired but controlling the desire.” Discipline is needed for not getting trapped in the web of unending lust and remain free. Discipline is yajna in which momentary happiness is sacrificed to get everlasting happiness.
 
Discipline is sense of love and responsibility. Shiva Khera said “Discipline is loving firmness. Sometimes you have to be unkind to be kind: Not all medicine is sweet, not all surgery is painless, but we have to take it.” Giraffe gives birth to a baby giraffe while standing; the baby hits the hard ground directly out of the comfort of mother’s womb, and sits on the ground. The first thing mother does is to get behind the baby and give him a hard kick. The baby gets up, but his legs are weak and wobbly and the baby falls down. Mother goes behind again and gives him one more kick. The baby gets up but sits down again. Mother keeps kicking till the baby gets on its feet and starts moving. It is hard for a mother to do such thing but it is necessary because  she knows that the only chance of survival for the baby in the forest is to get on its feet otherwise it will be eaten up by other wild animals. 
 
Discipline is hardship too. Butterflies feel very pain and trouble while coming out of cocoons.The pain is unbearable; almost nearly to die but it is necessary for their wings and survival. Without this process, they would die. Similarly, in one’s life, there are many situations when one has to take hard decisions because they are necessary to sustain life. Discipline is the ability to willingly make sacrifice in the present to secure the success in the future. In other words, discipline is bringing the future into the present so that something could be done about it in now.
 
Discipline is self-mastery which involves determination, hardwork and persistence.  Michaelangelo put it, “If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem wonderful at all.” Calvin Coolidge said “Nothing will take the place of persistence. Talent will not: Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not: Unrewarded genius is a proverb. Education will not: The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
 
Mahatma Gandhi in his autobiography confessed about a time when he felt double shame because of his carnal lust. His father was suffering from fistula and he was one of the principal attendants with the duties of a nurse which mainly consisted dressing the wound, giving the medicines and massaging his leg untill his father fell asleep. This was also the time when his wife was expecting a baby. He mentioned that while every night his hands were busy massaging his father’s legs, his mind was hovering about the bedroom and that too at a time when religion, medical science, and commonsense alike forbade sexual intercourse and when relieved from duty, went straight to the bedroom. His father’s condition had been deteorating day by day and then the dreadful night came. As usual he was giving the massage, this time his uncle offered to relieve him and he gladly accepted and went straight to the bedroom,  woke his sleeping wife up but within five or six minutes, the news came that his father was no more. He realized that if animal passion had not blinded him, he should have been spared the torture of separation from his father during his last moments. He took it as a blot that he would have never been able to efface or forget. But he overcame that desire and duing his later stages of life he slept naked with naked ladies beside him on a single bed without any thought on the subject in his mind. He wrote “It took me long to get free from the shackles of lust, and I had to pass through many ordeals before I could overcome it….. All these efforts did not seem to bear much fruits, but when I look back upon the past I feel that the final resolution was the cumulative effect of those unsuccessful strivings.”
 
Do not surrender to initial failures because to give up when get tired is a easy way to live but winners always go on. Winners are committed and put on pressure not for winning but for hardwork and preparation. Steve Jobs said “It is impossible to connect   the dots forward but it is very very clear looking backwards ten years later.” When a wall falls due to hitting hundred times, it is not because of the hundredth hit but it is due to the cumulative effects of all hits. And so is the case with every endeavor as Mahatma Gandhi admitted.
 
In the movie ‘Invictus’ Nelson Mandela is shown to get inspiration from a poem which, according to him, helped him to stand when all he wanted to do was to lie down.
 
Out of the night that covers me
Black as the Pit from pole to pole
l thank whatever Gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
ln the fell clutch of circumstance
l have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of fate
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
lt matters not how strait the gate
How charged with punishment the scroll
l am the master of my fate:
l am the captain of my soul.

Loser despite winning every time.

Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to loose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat and go onto win again, you are going to be a champion someday.
-Wilma Rudolph
 
Winners are not who wins every time but who knows the importance of losing also. Donald Trump said “Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away and move on to something that’s more productive.” One cannot work all the time: 24X7. One needs to take rest. One has a limited resource. One must have the faculty to distinguish between important or unimportant, worthy or worthless. It is wisdom to reserve one’s resources for meaningful purpose and surrender against meaningless goals. 
 
I heard a story about a man who was going with his son to a market to sell a donkey. On the way, they met a person who asked “Why walk when you have a donkey to ride?” The man let his son to sit on the donkey. Soon they met another person who said “How shameful of you! Let your father ride, won’t he be tired?” So, the boy got down and the man rode the donkey. Again they marched on. “Poor boy”, said the next passerby they met, “why should the lazy father ride while his son is walking?” So, the boy got onto the donkey too. As they went on, they met some travelers who commented “How cruel of them! They are up to kill the poor donkey.” Hearing this, the man and the son got down. Now they decided to carry the donkey on their shoulders. As they did so, the travelers broke into laughter. The laughter frightened the donkey. It broke free and galloped away. Don’t try to win every argument or situation. You cannot satisfy everyone’s need. You cannot please everyone.
 
We think that getting what we want brings us happiness; winning brings happiness. We all know the story of the greedy king named Midas. He had a lot of gold and the more he had the more he wanted. One day he was visited by an angel and asked to make a wish. The king was delighted and said, “I would like everything I touch to turn to gold.” The angel said “Starting tomorrow morning with the sun rays you will get the golden touch.” The king thought he must be dreaming, this couldn’t be true. But the next day when he woke up, he touched the bed, his clothes, and everything turned to gold. He looked out of the window and saw his daughter playing in the garden. He decided to give her a surprise and thought she would be happy. But before he went to the garden he decided to read a book. The moment he touched it, it turned into gold and he couldn’t read it. Then he sat to have breakfast and the moment he touched the fruit and the glass of water, they turned to gold. He was getting hungry but he couldn’t eat. Just about that time his daughter came running and he hugged her and she turned into a gold statue. There were no more smiles left. The king bowed his head and started crying. Despite winning his wish, his life became miserable and he had to live a life of a loser.
 
Winning is an event while winner is a spirit. By merely winning, one cannot become a winner. Winning an event may be chance but having a winner spirit could not be chance; it is something that one earns. Almost we all have heard the story of tortoise and rabbit who once raced and tortoise won and declared winner. The story goes like this. There lived a rabbit who ridiculed a slow-moving tortoise and it was decided to have a race between them. The rabbit soon left the tortoise behind and, confident of winning, took a nap midway through the course. The tortoise got tired but he kept going. When the rabbit awoke, however, he found that his competitor, crawling slowly but steadily, had arrived before him and won the race. It was a chance victory. Under normal circumstance, a rabbit could never be defeated by a tortoise. Despite the fact, tortoise was a winner. How come so? Tortoise was a winner not because he won the race but because he had winner spirit. This fact is mostly neglected and gives rise to a mind state which is self-defeating. This problem is correctly raised by Joshua Waitzkin in his statement: “Very gifted people, they win and they win and they are told that they win because they are a winner. That seems like positive thing to tell children, but ultimately what that means is when they lose, it must make them a loser.”
 
Olympics is a lifetime event. It was the year 1988 and the event was Seoul Olympics Finn Class race. Lawrence Lemieux was in second position with a medal almost certain but he stopped racing to help fellow competitors who were in trouble. After rescuing them, he resumed the race and finished in 22nd place out of 32 boats in the race. Even though he did not win the race, he was a winner. He was honored by kings and queens all over the world because he kept the winner spirit alive. He was also awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for sportsmanship. The medal has been given to only 12 athletes till date.
 
Winners do not play for winning but for self-integrity. Reuben Gonzales was in the final match of the racquetball tournament. This was an important event and he was playing for the world title. In the final game at match point, Gonzales played a super shot to save point. The referee and the linesman both confirmed that the shot was good and he was declared the winner. But Gonzales, after a little pause and hesitation, turned back to shake his opponent’s hand and said, “The shot was faulty.” As a result, he lost the serve and eventually, lost the match. Everyone was stunned. Who could imagine that a player with everything officially in his favor, with winning in his pocket, would disqualify himself and lose. When asked why he did it, Gonzales replied, “It was the only thing to do in order to maintain my integrity.” He lost the match, yet he was a winner.
 
Winner does not work for credit but for the work done. Colonel Edward M. House wielded an enormous influence in national and international affairs while Woodrow Wilson occupied the White House. Wilson leaned upon Colonel House for secret counsel and advice more than he did upon even members of his own cabinet. What method did the Colonel use in influencing the President? Fortunately, we know, for House himself revealed it to Arthur D. Howden Smith, and Smith quoted House in an article in The Saturday Evening Post. ” ‘After I got to know the President,’ House said, ‘I learned the best way to convert him to an idea was to plant it in his mind casually, but so as to interest him in it – so as to get him thinking about it on his own account. The first time this worked it was an accident. I had been visiting him at the White House and urged a policy on him which he appeared to disapprove. But several days later, at the dinner table, I was amazed to hear him trot out my suggestion as his own.’ “Did House interrupt him and say, “That’s not your idea. That’s mine?” Oh, no. Not House. He was too adroit for that. He didn’t care about credit. He wanted results. So he let Wilson continue to feel that the idea was his. House did even more than that. He gave Wilson public credit for these ideas.
 
Endeavor only for winning is attachment, freedom lies in sacrifice of transitory winning over deterministic winning.

Love: The Biggest Death

Love and Death, move through the world, like closest friends indeed, never far separate, and together dominating it in a kind of triumphant superiority; and yet like bitterest enemies, dogging each other’s footsteps, undoing each other’s work, fighting for the bodies and souls of mankind.
 Edward Carpenter
 
Is pain always painful? I heard a story about a tree who loved a boy very much. Boy used to come and play in the shades of tree, climb up, swing from the branches and eat its fruits. The tree was happy. Time went by. The child became adolescent and found happiness in other things and abandoned playing around the tree. The tree was left alone to live. One day, the adolescent boy was passing beside the tree with a sad face. The tree felt the sadness inside the boy and shouted “Come Boy, climb up my trunk, swing from my branches, eat my fruits and play in my shade and be happy.” “I am too big to climb and play. Don’t mess. I’m in trouble” said the adolescent boy. The tree asked “What happened? What is the cost of your happiness?” The adolescent boy replied “I want to buy things and have fun. I want some money.” The tree said “Don’t worry my boy. Take my fruits, sell them in the market, earn money, have fun and be happy.” The adolescent boy climbed up the tree, plucked fruits and left the tree alone again. But the tree was happy for the boy. After a long time tree again saw the boy, felt alive with joy and shouted “Come Boy, climb up my trunk, swing from my branches and be happy.” The boy replied in hard voice “I am too busy to climb trees. I need to expand my business far off the sea. I need a boat. I don’t know what to do?” The tree said “Calm down Boy. Cut off my branches, build a boat and be happy.” The boy, now a young man, did the same and again left the tree alone. But the tree was happy for the boy. After travelling and wandering place to place. The man returned with his wife and son and wanted to settle down. The man introduced his son to the tree and shared the stories how he used to play around the tree and how tree helped him time to time. Now tree is itself old and hardly speak but whispered “You look sad what’s the matter.” The man replied “Now I’m a married man having wife and kid. I want to settle down. I need a house.” The tree replied “Cut down my trunk, make a house and be happy.” The man and his son together cut down the trunk and made a house for themselves. The tree was once again left alone. But the tree was happy for the boy. Many years passed. This time the man was also alone. The man’s child became young and became busy in his carrier opportunities. In meanwhile, the man’s wife also died. He was sad. Now, he realized that the tree was his real lover. He went to the tree. The tree greeted him properly and said “I am sorry Boy; I have nothing left to give you. My apples are gone. My branches are gone. My trunk is gone. I wish that I could give you something but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump.” “I don’t need very much now,” said the boy, “just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired.” “Well,” said the tree, straightening as much as it could, “an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.” And the man did. The tree was happy for the boy. The emotions of the tree could be expressed better in the words of Mother Teresa who said “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
  
I heard once a lover knocked on the door of his beloved. A sound heard from inside “who are you?” Lover replied “It’s me.” Another sound heard from inside “go back there is no room for I in love.” Lover wandered and wandered for the meaning of love. After a long time he again knocked the same door. Again same voice “who are you?” Lover replied “It’s you” Beloved said “go back when there is you there is I” Lover realized his mistake and again knocked the door and again the question “who are who?” This time lover replied “its love” and the door opened.
 

Love breaks the wall of “I.” Love could not be confined within any wall. Love is infinite sky. If one see the sky from a window and think what is visible is sky then it would be a wrong assessment. Love is not only that reflects through the window of relationship but is the whole sky. The energy of love passes into instincts, into the power of ideas, into creative force on different planes of life, into images of art, into songs, sounds, music, poetry. And we can easily imagine the same energy passing into intuition of a higher order, into higher consciousness which will open up for us a mysterious and miraculous world. Rumi said “This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.”

It is the fear of demolition of the wall of ego inside individual, the abolishment of “I-ness,” death of individuality that causes pain in love. The death of ego is the biggest death and source of happiness. It is the feeling of I-ness that is the cause of misery in human life. Barbara de Angelis said “Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible – it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.”
 
A candle burns to give light. Burning is the necessary condition for obtaining light from a candle. Burning and light are two faces of same phenomenon. The same is true with light of love and burning of ego and, that is why; Sufism believes in love as “divine and a way of salvation”, Buddhism’s  “Karuna” is egolessness, Benedict XVI wrote his first encyclical on “God is love.” One can start his journey from either side. In fact, in Hindu mythology love and death are the two faces of one deity. Shiva, the god of the reproductive force in nature, is at the same time the god of violent death, murder and destruction. His wife Parvati is the goddess of beauty, love and happiness, and she is also Kali or Durga – the goddess of evil, misfortune, sickness and death. And Shiva and Kali together are gods of wisdom.
 
Socrates once said “By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll transcend through love; if you get a bad one, you’ll transcend through suffering.” It is a well-known psychological fact that at moments of very intense experience, great joy or great suffering, everything happening around seems to a man unreal, a dream. This is the beginning of the awakening of the soul. When a man begins to be aware, in a dream, that he is asleep and that what he sees is a dream, he awakes. In the same way a soul, when it begins to realize that all visible life is but a dream, approaches awakening.
 
Whoever is capable of seeing beyond ‘facts’ begins to see many new things precisely in love and through love.
-P.D. Ouspensky

Doubt and Faith: Sides of a coin

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.       

-Khalil Gibran 
 
A fever or pain is itself not a disease but an immune response in a form of an indication that a struggle is started within the body; something went wrong whether an outsider intrusion or internal imbalance which needs immediate attention and some remedial action. The same is true with the feeling of doubt. Doubt is an indication of somewhat disturbed belief system which needs immediate attention and some remedial action. In the words of William Shakespeare, “Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.”  
 
I heard a story about Gautam Buddha who once was taking rest outside a village. A passerby recognized him and greeted. He, despite being theist, asked Buddha “Do God exist?” Buddha replied “No.” He passed with a state of despair on his face. Another passerby asked the same question to Buddha but he was an atheist; the reply came “Yes.” He also walked with desperate face. Third one came and said “It doesn’t matter for me whether God exists or not, but, since I met you it is not unwise to ask you so I am asking do god exist?” Buddha said “May be may not be.” Buddha’s disciple sat beside him and was listening all questions and answers and finally asked “All of them asked the same question but you replied differently I don’t understand why? Which one is correct?” Buddha replied sheepishly “All of them were correct for those whom given and none of them for you. The thirst of truth could not be quenched by firm belief in prejudice but through curiosity i.e. asking smart questions and meeting their answers. I was just breaking prejudices of the first two and the third one was already in that state.”
 
It is not that we don’t know answers but we don’t know how to ask questions. The moments of doubt could be used to learn asking question. Most people thought being a part of question as failure and want to be a part of solution. It is okay but when the same principle is applied to doubts then the opposite happens. Doubt doesn’t teach answers but questions. It is the question that meets answer. Dennis Palumbo, a former Hollywood screenwriter and now a licensed psychotherapist in private practice, said “The plain fact is, the more willing you are to mine the landscape of your own doubts, the truer and more recognizably human your characters will be.”
 
Quantum physics reveals nature as a realm of knowledge. The physical theory has become converted from a theory about `physically reality’, as it had formerly been understood, into a theory about human knowledge. Freedom is granted to each experimenter to choose freely which experiment he will perform, i.e., which aspect of nature he will probe; which question he will put to nature. Then nature is allowed to pick an outcome of the experiment, i.e., to answer to the question. These elements of `freedom of choice’, on the part of both the human participant and nature herself, lead to a picture of a reality that gradually unfolds in response to choices that are not necessarily fixed by the prior physical part of reality alone. The basic building blocks of the new conception of nature are not objective tiny bits of matter, but choices of questions and answers.
 
Doubt is like a situation where one stands at an intersection of roads and does not know which one is correct for his destiny; which one to choose. Doubt is a state of mind in which one is struggling between opposite propositions and unable to stick either of them. Doubt is not the situation of multiple choice options but doubt against each option in terms of its validity whether it is true or not. On the basis of logic, doubt could be understood in two ways: one in which logic could be applied equally by both side, i.e. for the proposition or against the proposition and second in which logic could not be applied by any side due to lack of evidence. In either case logic could not be of much help but faith. Logic needs axioms to spin arguments. Mark Twain said “when in doubt tell the truth.” Truth could not be an interpretation of brainstorming but a direct message. Truth is something that sprouts from within and requires faith to act upon it. William James said “faith means belief in something concerning which doubt is theoretically possible.”
 
A child was born in the year 570 and raised from the milk of nomad, vicarious mothers in the desert of Arabia. He tended sheep and soon hired out to a rich widow as leader of her caravans. In 595, the widow aged 40 and was 15 years older than he, looked upon him with favor and married him. He continued his living as a rich and respected trader. Each year during Ramdan, the ninth month of lunar calendar, he wandered in mountains surrounding Mecca to refresh himself with solitude and prayer. In the year 610, at the age of 40, the humble trader took himself on one of these retreats in the cave of Mount Hira and suddenly found someone calling him to proclaim. He terrified and ran out of the cave. At first, he thought, it had to have been a hallucination; a trick of the eye or of the year or his own mind working against him. He even thought worst about being possessed by an evil spirit to deceive him and to crush life out of him. He was deeply distressed and resolved to commit suicide. The man who fled down the mountain that night was in a state of stark, primordial fear and overwhelmed not with conviction but by doubt. Slowly and gradually he learned to have faith along with confusion and struggling. He continued his prayer and fast. After three years, once again, he heard from the same source “By morning brightness and by the stillness of the night, Your Lord has not forsaken you, nor has He become displeased, and surely what comes after is better for you than that which has gone before.  And soon will your Lord give you so that you shall be well pleased.” He was Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam and this was the beginning of holy Quran and faith in one “Allah” which started with a terrifying doubt. Lesley Hazleton, author of ‘The First Muslim’ said “It was precisely Muhammad’s doubt that brought him alive for me, that allowed me to begin to see him in full, to accord him the integrity of reality. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense that he doubted, because doubt is essential to faith.” In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “Faith keeps many doubts in her pay. If I could not doubt, I should not believe.”  
 
As it is said that excess of anything is bad, so is with doubt. Excess of doubt creates fear which ultimately leads to frustration and misery. One should make a stand and act accordingly with faith. On the other extreme, if all doubts are abolished, then what remains is not faith but absolute heartless conviction which leads to self-righteous arrogance.
 
All innovations whether scientific or spiritual are results of doubt: doubt over existing system. They are the answers put forward by nature as a result of the questions raised in doubts and nurtured by faith. All religious system did not origin at the same time but gradually doubting over the previous system as Buddhism from Hinduism and Islam and Christianity from Judaism. But the followers stop asking questions and show their blind faith which resulted in decline of religions because the questions have changed and they are still giving the same old answers. If they do not assimilate current questions then they are preparing grounds for new religions. The existence of many religions is the outcome of fundamentalist thinking prevailing in the religion which is not ready to accommodate new questions.
 
Faith has no easy answers. It involves an ongoing struggle, a continual questioning of what we think we know a wrestling with issues and ideas. It goes hand in hand with doubt in a never ending conversation with it and sometimes in conscious defiance of it. What drives us is that, despite our doubts and even because of our doubts, we reject the nihilism of despair and insist on faith. Consider the ambivalence as put by Frederick Buechner, “If you don’t have any doubts you’re either kidding yourself or asleep. Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.”
 
Faith and doubt both are needed not as antagonists, but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve.
-Lillian Smith  

Procrastination- Termite of Success

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting.       -Gautam Buddha
 
Do you put things off until tomorrow? Do you get sidetracked from your goal by involving in many low priorities tasks? Do you wait for the perfect time to do things and then miss opportunities? Do you avoid dealing with difficult issues with the hope that they will go away? Do you ignore minor problems until they turn into full blown predicaments that demand your immediate attention? If all or any of the answer is ‘yes’ then you are suffering from a serious ailment called procrastination.
 
Termites are small insects often referred as white ants. They live inside wood and eat it from inside. From outside, the wood looks healthy, okay and normal but from inside due to eating of termites become hollow and thus useless and of no practical importance of any kind. A huge tree could be fall by a little blow or its own weight owing to its hollowness from inside as a result of termite activities. The problem of termite is considered very seriously in many countries of the world that no insurance is guaranteed to those houses which are found to be infected by termites.
 
Procrastination may be considered as termite of success. Like termite, the habit of procrastination eats away the personality of a person from inside. He may look normal and confident in appearance but from inside he is broken and could be blown away by little push of life.
 
A bollywood blockbuster ‘Tare zameen par’ literally mean ‘Stars on the earth’ is a story of child who is suffering from a learning disorder called dyslexia in which one is having difficulty in learning to read fluently and with accurate comprehension despite normal intelligence. The child in the movie conceals his inability of reading and writing properly into his naughtiness. Others think of him as mischievous and wicked but he is helpless and do not want to reveal his incompetence to become a subject of prank among others. He found his self respect in being called as naughty but do not to become a center of pity and sympathy in society. The problem is same with procrastinators. Procrastination appears as laziness, the habit of resting before one gets tired but underlying problems may be different and even serious.
 
Procrastination is not mere laziness but a mask behind which deeply rooted serious threats of success are hiding. The underlying problems may be inadequate purpose, lack of goal or motivation, shortage of planning, lack of physical or mental strength to execute plans, fear of criticism or rejection, fear of committing mistakes or taking risks etc. Sometimes lack of concentration also fans procrastination. Arrange a separate working place, make its environment work friendly and do not let others to enter it and disturb its interior harmony.
 
Write down your goal and purpose for achieving the goal. Try to give a pictorial representation either by self drawing or cutting pictures from somewhere else and pasting on paper. Daily review it at least twice a day; one before sleeping and another just after awaking in the morning. If possible, try to visualize it on mind’s screen at junction of eyebrows and nose. If you are seeing it in dream while sleeping is a good sign.
 
Make a schedule of your daily work and include activities of morning walk and listening music in daily routine.
 
There was once a problem with Indian Railways. Indian Railways is the world’s ninth largest commercial  employer and one of the world’s largest railway networks comprising 115,000 km of track over a route of 65,000 km and 7,500 stations. The problem was untimely running of trains. This created a situation of panic over the nation. Lots of complex strategies were discussed over the issue but solution came in the form of simple idea; an idea of extending duration of running time between the stations. If you are not able to finish your assigned work in the given time then reschedule time span with requisite extension. This will boost a new energy and confidence in your bloodstream.
 
Prepare a hierarchical list of procrastination activities based on your extent of resistance. Start with lower level in the list having less resistance to activity. Action is the only antidote to procrastination. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “A man is hero not because he is braver than anyone else but because he is brave for ten minutes longer.” Just do it when you feel procrastination’s cloud over your head. In the words of Pablo Picasso “Action is the foundational key to all successes.” After successful completion of task, reward yourself. Reward may be anything; it may be collection of pebbles for each completion. It is a symbolic activity to reassure you that you have done this and could do anything else. By seeing your collection and increasing numbers of pebbles in it infuse a new enthusiasm in you.
 
Fear is nothing but indecision and postponement. Indecision crystallizes into doubt; the two blend and become fear. On the other hand, a firm decision melts fear and its execution in form of action evaporates away the fear.
 
The art of a young cartoonist was stated as rubbish and rejected by many cartoon editors. He was Walt Disney whose concept of Mickey Mouse was widely acclaimed and even considered as masterpiece. J. K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter, was rejected by 25 publishers. So procrastination directed by fear of criticism or rejection is a lame excuse for not to proceed a action.
 
Mistakes are footsteps of learning. The most important fact about mistakes is that many important discoveries and successes came about as a result of so called mistake. Charles Goodyear, during an experiment in 1839, accidentally spilled a mixture of sulphur rubber on to a hot stove. The result of this smelly-smoky was vulcanized rubber and the birth of a billion dollar industry. The group of effective medicines on bacterial infection called antibiotics was also discovered as accidental mistake.
 
The greatest risk ever mentioned in history is the risk of not taking any risk and if you are prepare to take that risk then you are capable of taking any risk.
 
Just do it! First you make your habits; then your habits make you.    -Lucas Remmerswaal
 
 
 

Dream is not conception but architecture

Make no little plans they have no magic to stir men’s blood. Make big plans, aim high in hope and work.
–Deniel H. Burnham
 
Dream is not conception but architecture. Dream is not mere implantation of wish in one’s mind but the planning, designing, and construction of wish into physical reality. As Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said that architecture begins when two bricks are put together so dream begins with wish; wish is not the entire building but foundation only. Le Corbusier wrote: “You employ stone, wood, and concrete, and with these materials you build houses and palaces: that is construction. Ingenuity is at work. But suddenly you touch my heart, you do me good. I am happy and I say: This is beautiful. That is Architecture.” Dream requires a sense of passion and enthusiasm. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “nothing great is ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
 
Dream is visualization of planning in every aspect with minute details. Visualization and detailing are very essential part of physical reality, lacking them may turn down the transformation of dream into reality. Try to see it as you see dream while sleeping. It is a very important process. A detailed design is an essential constituent for the construction of magnificent monument. Each small element contributes to its brilliance. It is said that little things make perfection but perfection isn’t a small thing.
 
For descriptive visualization of dream one should write the title of one’s wish on piece of paper then add attributes in point-wise manner, then comes the purpose of goal. There is one quality that one must possess to win is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and why one wants the same not any other things. After elaborating the purpose on paper, come back to goal and break it down into some definable mid-term goals which could be used as milestones during execution. Further, break each mid-term goal into a series of organized little steps. Definiteness is an integral part of productive dream in terms of date and time with other quantifiable entities. This written portrayal is clear and vivid picture of one’s dream. Don’t bother about execution planning at this stage, just concentrate on mental picture, try to visualize with minute details. That’s it. It is said that well presented problem is half solved.
 
To help a plant grow, one never pulls it to make it grow faster. Constantly picking it either is no help. What does help is take care of its environment, watering, fertilizing and other necessary things and true to its nature plant grows on its own.  The most important thing is to determine exactly how much one is ready to care and pay for one’s dream. There is no free lunch in the world.
 
Don’t wait for explicit plan to transform dream into reality when designing part is over but set in motion with initial necessary steps. St. Francis of Assisi said “start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” In the words of Pablo Picasso, “I’m always doing thing I can’t do, that’s how I get to do them.”
 
The feelings of passion and enthusiasm along with elaborative visualization invoke the Cosmic Consciousness to formulate a plan which will probably flash into one’s mind through the sixth sense in the form of an inspiration. Treat it with respect and act upon it as soon as one receives it. Shekhar Kapur, the famous filmmaker who portrayed the story of the great Queen Elizabeth on silver screen, once said “What I’m going to do is not what I plan to do. I put myself into absolute panic. It is my one way of getting rid of my mind. I align myself into chaos. Out of chaos some moments of truth come. All preparation is preparation. I don’t even know it is honest. I don’t even know it is truthful. Truth comes on the moment organically.”
 
Thomas Edison dreamed of a lamp that could be operated by electricity, began where he stood to put his dream into action and despite more than ten thousand failures, he stood by that dream until he made it a physical reality. Dreamers never quit.
 
When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital matters, however, such as choice of mate or a profession, the decision should come from unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves.
 –Sigmund Freud