As someone who prizes meditation and thoughts, I often tend to come upon thoughts that help me understand myself and see the world through a different eye. While they may look random, they are, in fact, byproducts of my own mind and heart. You may connect to some and not to others, but the underlying intent of these nuggets is to make you stop and ponder. You never realise how charming and smart your brain can be until you share a private moment with it. Here’s a journal of my fleeting but heartwarming thoughts…
Happiness, to me, seems to be a mixed bag of acknowledging our gifts, giving, and listening to others.
A gift to oneself: The little joyous moments that you gift yourself while composing poetry, listening to your favourite music, reading your collection of ‘best wishes’ cards or even just thinking about someone that makes you happy – goes a long way. When we fill up our own lives with joy, our feelings of abundance naturally spill over into everyone else’s lives as well. We owe this little time to ourselves to make our life beautiful.
A gift to others: Happiness is also about giving things to each other every day – an act of love, writing a letter to the special people in your life, cooking a loved one’s favourite dish or even complimenting someone.
I believe it is unwise to believe that we are giving, when all we are interested in, is getting. Nothing causes greater unhappiness than the conviction that we are not getting enough.
Once you start giving your love away, you will be amazed at how happy you can become. I have never expected anything in return to what I give others. I feel that is why perhaps, I’ve been fortunate to have few close friends around me, in different countries and cities. Friends, whom I have met through work; whom I have come to care and trust and have become good friends over the years.
The art of listening is another form of happiness. There is no such thing as a completely worthless conversation. If we care for someone, we will be attentive to what they say, even if they seem disjointed or confused. This, in turn, will deepen the warmth of our relationship and invite happiness. The world can be a lot better, if only we listen more.
Where we grow up and with whom embeds in us, a great deal of who we later become. I grew up in a family of distinct tradition and cultures. I was born to a Khasi mother and a Muslim father. I believe this contrast, propelled by the differences between two cultures and traditions, gave me an early insight into cultural diversity and coexistence.
My professional career, as a social entrepreneur for 25 years, requires me to travel to different countries of the world. While my Khasi matrilineal background made me more independent, it also made me more flexible towards the Western culture and lifestyle.
My Islamic background, on the other hand, helped me attain a natural flair to deal with different cultural environments in my professional career as a social entrepreneur. Years before I became an entrepreneur, I was accompanying my grandmother and mother to the markets bordering Meghalaya and Bangladesh for their business.
I was interacting with people and entrusting myself easily, to a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Later, with the Leadership Training Services (LTS) in school, and even later at Impulse NGO Network (INGON), I was ready to meet and greet anyone who could help augment my passion to help others. Nothing intimidated me because it was different.
Travelling, too, became the most natural thing for me to do. In my journey to different places for work, I would find similarities to my own culture and feel the warmth of home. While the Paris streets made me remember Shillong, the traditional shrimp chutney at the Ko Samui island of Surat Thani, Thailand reminded me of the Garo dry fish chutney called ‘nakham’ or the Khasi soya bean one called ‘tung-tap’. The islanders even chew betel nuts, like the Khasis.
This is but just one anecdote. There have been other experiences when I have felt akin to the world as a global citizen. I believe that in this, my background unconsciously prepared me to open my arms to a globally mixed culture and to be comfortable in it.
Dreaming and imagination are important aspects of everyone’s lives. Of course, sharing them with someone who doesn’t appreciate it may scatter them into endless fragments. Some rather pragmatic people have told me how futile it is to have expectations and that dreams may crash easily on the hard floors of life.
But they also fail to perceive that the world’s wonders began by being someone’s dreams. If they hadn’t sought out such an impossible wish, the world today wouldn’t be what it is. Dreams offer a beginning, by showing the goals one would want to strive for. A dreamer, therefore, not only widens imaginative horizons; but believes ‘the impossible’ to be a reality and strives to make it so. Without such dreams, our world of cynicism and crude materialism would have no hope to exist.
Love is a positive emotion. Although one pays handsomely if one loses it, life is always richer for those who have faith in love. It forges the bond between mind and soul, and the individuals who pull us out of the drudgery of everyday living. If we look around, we’ll see how we are losing out on this faith every day. Hate comes easily to us than love. We prefer to slit throats for our selfish needs. What we need today is to understand the value and importance of loving each other and that such an understanding would unleash our latent power to ensure a brighter future.
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