Saturday, July 31, 2010


Today I shall blog about Love. I know I still have to write about my trip to Venice long long ago, Italian food, etc. However, that's the joy about blogging/creative writing I guess. The writer is, or generally should only be motivated by such apparently random motivations, as they are the only things capable of enabling a genuine insight into the workings of his mind and heart. It surely offers a window to the readers about the writer and perhaps even an opportunity to think about the topic if it interests them. I always wanted to write about Love, but never came to manage to do so. Finally now I hope I can, well it shall be seen how the post unfolds.

Love is probably the most overused, abused, clichéd and misunderstood word ever. Not just in English but most of the languages. Everyone has their own concept of love, and most likely it is created by the environment, to be precise, media in today's world. Usually it can be seen that Love is only associated with a few things and these few things tend to make up the general idea about love that the public holds. I personally don't like to use the word public as to me it gives somewhat negative connotations about the people referred to as the "public". Anyhow, for the purpose of this topic, it is essential to separate the population into this public and the rest. Public are all the people who conform readily to whatever is perceived to be the "standard" or the "norm". Their opinions of course, change with the changing norms and perceptions of what is ok and what is not ok. For them, social recognition and acceptance is the only factor which drives any process of creating opinions. So then, having laid the foundation of the argument, I will now try to put in words what I feel about this idea. It may sound Platonic with the overuse of words like "idea" and all, but being a language with limits, English fails in this matter.

Love then, I feel is the most complex emotion, and hence, most misunderstood. If anyone has read Paulo Coelho's "The Pilgrimage", they would be aware of the different forms of love he describes. In fact I would like to credit him for being the inspiration of this post, or rather his book. Love is of different types. Each type is great in it's own right. In the broadest sense, there are 3 types. Love between a mother and a child, two lovers and unconditional love for everything in the universe. A mother loves her child without any reservations. Two lovers, truly in love, are like two bodies and one soul. Unconditional love is the love which one MAY feel for the entire existence and whatever it consists of, without being judgemental. I feel this is the highest kind of Love. However, if we look at this as a pyramid, then looking at our lives, lets assume this unconditional love to be the ultimate goal of humankind. Most never reach it and more worryingly, neither feel the need to do so. However, in our life we are touched by love for the first time in the form of the love of our Mother. A child grows up with the Mother's care and attention, devotion and love. This love is the foundation of the pyramid of love in our lives. The next level is when one falls in love with another individual and makes them a part of his/her life. This is when we take the love we experienced to a totally new level. Those who are genuinely in love would experience a deep feeling of oneness. It can never be expressed in any way. It can only be experienced. This love, if deep enough, can make the lovers one with each other. Its building blocks are faith, care, devotion and respect. They are equal. There is no difference of status or no question of an "upper hand". Such love is rare, but still some fortunate souls may just get a chance to feel it. If you notice, Love really is all about devotion and surrender. Love dissolves the boundaries of false ego. When two lovers surrender their self to each other, they unite in mind and thought. Their actions are in sync with each other. Their progeny is happy and at peace. Such love founded on surrender and devotion introduces a thorough grounding in our lives. This feeling of being well grounded ensures that our actions are righteous, as any unrighteous action disturbs this peace and as that peace and oneness is the original nature of our self, we automatically avoid anything which disturbs this peace. In an ideal world, families which are produced by such responsible couples united in love form a society which then stands on truth, justice and love. If enough people understand this, it won't be long before world becomes a happier and peaceful place. Thus, love alone has the potential to heal the malaise suffered by humanity. This leads us to our third type of love. When one is touched by love to such an extent, a feeling of fulfilment and satisfaction is established in that person. This gives birth to compassion. Compassion is the mother of this unconditional love. Ones it takes root, the tree of unconditional love for the entire existence begins to blossom. Full circle. It surely isn't that hard to understand, if only one realises the need to understand it.

After all life begins with love, then why not end it with love too?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Free Run, Hamsters and Learned Helplessness.

It has been a while since I posted, and also been a while since I felt the need to begin a blogpost with this line (as I have to every so often). I don't know whether it is a case of writer's block or what, perhaps not, but I had developed a complete aversion to even thinking about my blog, let alone posting. Albeit temporary, it had kind of left a weird block in my mind, where I would constantly feel the need to blog, but no desire to do it. This entry is essentially going to be a free run. I shall type whatever that comes to the mind, with an aim to empty it so that I can fill it with fresh new trash! Which brings me to the two words mentioned earlier - Need and Desire. How do we determine what is needed and what is simply desired? We face several situations where we feel we need to have something, but it really is nothing more than a desire. It is not just a need or desire for physical objects but also experiences, reply of certain experiences or maybe just new ones. Over a period of past few years, I have developed this rather annoying habit of "mind-watching". Annoying because after a while it happens automatically. This made me realise something. We are no different than a hamster on a treadmill. I think it is safe to assume this is a universal phenomenon and not just limited to myself. When we understand what makes us happy, we inadvertently tend to recreate or seek new opportunities which brings back that feeling of joy. When we understand what makes us sad, we tend to avoid or manoeuvre around things which cause this sorrow. Finally, when from past experience we categorise certain situations as those where we are helpless, we tend to assume our inability to overcome it and thus, stop taking efforts to come out of those situations. I remember from my IB time when I studied Psychology, that there is a phenomenon in behavioural theories called 'Learned Helplessness'. According to this, when we assume we can't help ourself, we can't. This is because we just don't try. This theory was proved by experiments which would be considered abominable today. The behaviourists got some rats into cages. The floor of the cage was connected to a battery pack and every few minutes the current would be passed through the metal floor. The poor rat would get slightly electrocuted and would run around looking for an escape. Being in a cage, there won't be any to be found. After repeated cycles of electrocution over a number of days or even weeks, the rat would then be put in another cage-like box but with an open gate on one side. The floor would be electrocuted again. However, the rat, having "learnt" that there is no escape, assumes there is no escape and suffers by self victimisation. It doesn't even look around to see if there is an escape this time, when there is one right behind it. Humans are similar I feel. We wallow in self pity due to this "learned helplessness" and give up. This is one thing. On close observation, one can see that our lives are really a series of events which repeat in a constant loop. The loop gets us in a soup, which is really imprisonment. People have these concepts of freedom. Some feel they are free when they have a lot of money, some when they can indulge in their senses indiscriminately, some feel freedom when they sleep or eat, others have an anarchist idea of freedom. No matter what our ideas of freedom are, isn't it really just that freedom we all seek? We all seek freedom in one way or another. Regardless of our backgrounds, cultures, upbringing, desires or ambitions, freedom is what we crave. I read a quote the other day, and it left a deep impression on my mind.

"The only man one needs to conquer is oneself, and the only freedom one should seek is from oneself. The self binds, and the self releases".

If we somehow just manage to step out of the treadmill, we realise that we can switch off this crazy loop, that is the real freedom. Not being enslaved by our own mind. If we learn to keep our balance in happiness and despair, we reach that state of freedom. Easier said than done, but not too hard with a bit of a "learned helpFULness".