A year in retrospect

Today I turned 35.  A year ago on this very day, I was sat in the office getting a project I was involved with reach a crucial milestone.  This has been the first time in many years where I have been able to spend it a way that isn’t a complete distraction from what truly matters – a time to reflect and move onwards.

So, what has changed in one year?

  • After nearly 4 years of inertia, I finally started a complete overhaul of my apartment. Progress is good, given that this is a complex undertaking in both the financial and personal levels, but the rewards far outweigh the inertia of ‘someday’ that was plaguing me in the back of my mind all this time.
  • I travelled to India several times,  and visited two new places in Europe as well. I was planning to experience true authentic Ayurvedic treatments for a long time. Finally, I am glad that I trusted my judgement and visited Kerala for 3 weeks in December.
  • I bought my first car in the UK. This again, was a decision that fraught with many doubts, but I am glad that I finally made a decision and went ahead with my judgement.
  • I started a blog – I have always wanted to express my thoughts and realisations inside of me in some form. After much deliberation, I decided to do it in the form of a blog. At this point, it is too early to tell whether this will be a success, but for the time being, it allows me to organise and track my personal development

There is a quote from the ‘The Life of Pi’  which struck in my mind ever since I watched the movie

Pi Patel: Faith is a house with many rooms.

Writer: But no room for doubt?

Pi Patel: Oh plenty, on every floor. Doubt is useful, it keeps faith a living thing. After all, you cannot know the strength of your faith until it is tested.

Faith comes in many forms – religion is the most frequently conjured connotation.  But if we pause for a moment, we come to realise that we have ‘faith’ in many things in our lives.

  • That our fall-back options will always be there
    Maybe it is the dependability of our loved ones – whom we believe will always be available to break our fall.  Or the savings in the bank that we have kept aside for a ‘rainy day’. Or that employer you work for who believes you are indispensable
  • Hope/belief in that the world around us will remain constant (while we execute our strategy)
    We engage ourselves in goals that are born out of our analysis to be happy in life.  It could be that mortgage you are focused on repaying early. The career ladder you try to climb before you ‘settle down’ and have a family.  Or that person whose heart you are trying to win
  • That we have more time (than we actually do)
    A close friend and colleague of mine, passed away last September. She was 30 years old. During all the times we interacted, it never occurred to me that I would lose her company so suddenly. I remember writing an email promising to stay in touch when she left the company we worked at – but I did not realise she would pass away before I got to write that letter to ask how she is keeping with her change in life.

What if one day you realised that, these options no longer exist? Or the ambitions you spent time working on were based on a flawed analysis?

“If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter” ~Pascal

The biggest hinderance in our lives is not spending time to understand ourselves. No other human being knows you as well as you know yourself. Even those who are extremely close to us will never truly know the myriad of facets of us. There will always be that one tiny detail, that one little secret we hesitate to reveal about ourselves, that prevents another person from knowing us as well as we do.

“You read to become all knowledgable
But you never read yourself

You run to enter your mosques and temples
But you never entered your own heart

Everyday you fight Satan
But you never fight your own Ego

You try grabbing that which is in the sky
But you never get hold of what sits inside yourself

Stop it all my friend
Stop seeking all this knowledge my friend

Only an Alif is what you need
Stop it all my friend

Stop seeking all this knowledge my friend
God is Greatness, God is All

I shall follow the Jogi (ascetic)
those who deny the strength of Truth
God does not give them courage

We have drowned in the river of Self
the boat and the flowing waters do not matter

Stop it all my friend
Stop seeking all this knowledge my friend

God is Greatness, God is All”

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