Certain things bring you back to perspective. When we experience life beyond our normal routine we find how comforting our routine normally is (you like that play on words don't you!).
I had been away for about a month, traveling India and Pakistan I came to one realization, which I always knew but seldom felt. I am blessed beyond measure, I am given more than I ever deserved and that gratitude is what provides me to not only believe there is a god but also gives me the power to be thankful to him.
We are creatures of negativity, as in our minds it is the only way to feel driven or want more, better. We stockpile our belongings, we create wealth which we never enjoy, we build false sense of security in things that are temporary, forgetting that which is permanent. Then we end up in depression, in strife and in constant conflict with what we need to feel full. There is no answer in living feeling empty constantly. The countries I visited, I can point out thousands of things that were wrong, I can point out thousands of things which annoyed me, which wanted me to come back to the United States, but I can tell you having nothing, at times even less than nothing, I have met those people who have a sense of satisfaction about life which seems to be missing even with those living in abundance in the west.
Sense of family, friendships, and relationships felt real there. I was offered assistance from complete strangers, I was force fed out of love from those who barely knew me, and I saw service that was unparalleled.
This made me think about many things as I was there, and even more as I have returned. Over there I told those who I talked to that here I see an overflowing element of faith, and in the west, I see an overwhelming element logic. Both are needed for living, but with a balance, as without balance both have some adverse effects to the human experience.
It is not fair to rationalize all the people I met and interacted with in these categories, obviously there are always exceptions but I am just talking generalizations. In the USA we have unlimited comforts, yet the level of stress, depression and medication for mental issues is very high. In India I noticed those in extreme circumstances, in dire states, were willing and prone to joke and laugh with me. Having close to nothing they lived with a positive outlook, here having everything we often live with a negative outlook. Our surroundings of ever competitive nature do not allow us to even enjoy what we have, as our thirst for more continuously fuels an uneasy desire.
In the East I experienced life in a different capacity, the basic human needs when not fulfilled, how thankful one becomes when they are. Having warm water, just having clean water was a luxury, that many were far beyond thankful to get. Yet here it is part of the routine, part of the norm, and so it is not given a second thought.
It led me to understand that human nature is that of thanklessness. Our basic default, is never to count our blessings, its always to count our short comings. We have to force ourselves to count what we have, why is that? It makes me think that we are sort of driving ourselves to be negative. We deny ourselves the bliss of living in a feeling of being full. Yet we are full, we are full in so many scenarios, even those who have nothing are still full, their lungs are getting full of air, for free, yet nobody has thanked anyone for this. There blood is being pumped to every part of their body for free, yet nobody has thanked anyone for this. Each millimeter of our body can sense, can feel even a soft breeze of air, within nanoseconds this reaches the brain and provides us awareness of our surroundings, yet nobody has thanked anyone for this. We have many around us who care, who love, unconditionally yet we do not have anyone to thank, we really did nothing to deserve this, and going into detail we can point out millions of other things in our surroundings to be thankful for, yet we fail constantly to live in fullness.
We have in fact programed ourselves to live in logic, fear and emptiness. Our desires do not like to hear, “I have enough” , that is not something we program. Every effort is made to strain relationships, not to appreciate what others have done for us, but to criticize what they didn’t do, or what they failed. We do not live in a state of compassion, we live in a state of delusion, that the world did not revolve around us, that we were the victims of certain circumstances.
It is only through disconnect, that you can begin to realize how blessed you are. It’s not about comparison, we always see others who have less yet somehow we justify to ourselves why that person has less. Maybe they didn’t work hard, they didn’t educate themselves, yet when we see someone above us, we only see that they may have been luckier, we seldom see what they must have sacrificed to ‘have’ more. This is the one of the biggest tragedies of the human condition.
The sad part of this is we teach our children, who learn not from what we say but what we do the same fault. They forget how to be happy, they forget how to laugh how to enjoy life because we put the pressures of what we think the world will give them. We begin to fear the future, even before it happens, just the chance, just the thought drives us to insanely prepare, to stop enjoying the present, to acknowledge all we have, just to protect ourselves from something that has not even transpired into reality! If that is not living in insanity, I don’t know what is!
In my trip I connected to many things, culture, heritage, history those, were just part of the surface level. Something deeper within me connected to a part of myself that had forgotten how to be truly grateful, not just in the sense of saying, but FEELING grateful . I had time to contemplate away from normal family life distractions, I had time to remind myself that this is not a race for possessions but life is about the experience, it is not how many people I can change or influence, but how much I can change and influence myself.
Life is simple, life is fun, life is not about having, life is not about worrying, life is about experiencing the reality that is in front of you at every second, it is about counting what you have and ignoring what you may not have. To do this we have to be in check constantly about our purpose, about not only who we are but what our actions and duties towards humanity should be. Once we numb ourselves to live as robots, running after possessions and temporary highs, we lose the constant default bliss that was always an underlining part of this human experience, sadly getting that bliss back requires more work than just giving it up! J