You are insignificant!

There are two websites that you must visit from time to time.

A “size” perspective of things

http://htwins.net/scale2/

We can play around a size scale on this web site to see where humans fit in the grand scheme of things (if at all there is a grand scheme as we understand it). The three pics from the website below summarize our known existential reference framework.

improve your perception smallest objects

what we see as humans

perception of size known universe

You are a player in this vast scale of things from the minutest to the largest known objects and distances. You are insignificant for nature. But utterly significant for inter-dependent ecosystems that has been created in our perceived worlds.

A “time” perspective of things

http://hereistoday.com/

Our perception of the past, present and future is too narrow. What if you just take the past and compare that to the glorious age of the human kind?

perception of past on a time scale

We just came here about 200,000 years ago but we already think the universe about where we stand, what we have done, and what we are today.

Bottom line: You and I don’t matter in the overall picture. You eliminate humans and there is nothing lost. BUT, you and I matter a LOT to the each other and the world around us – today and at this moment. Nothing can take it away from us, and it is good it stays that way.

 

Are you stuck on repeat?

People tend to live in the past or in the future most of the times. It happens thus –

  • You start thinking a glorious time in the past where you had a good time. You think about all the friends and near ones who were with you and your experience in the situation
  • You would want to plan that for sometime in the near future, and have the same situation repeat

And, you grow increasingly impatient with the present since the present is not “that moment”.

are you stuck on life repeat

These simple thoughts are the ones that are mostly useless and contributing little towards our development. Between the re-living of the past and the hopes for a repeat in future, we completely forget about the present. The present is seen as a bridge from the past to the future, and nothing more.

We are “spending time” thinking about things that are irrelevant now and making yourself unhappy. Of course, we are seeing it wrong.

Re-living the past is not awesome

Life does repeat things for a few situations, and not for others. And, you will see life’s most repeated aspects as boring.

Don’t believe me? What exactly do you think about Rama’s life when all he has to do is be at his 9 to 5 job and enter data in a computer all day long.

I am sure this was exciting sometime back. Rama was learning something about word processing programs, had to learn those keyboard skills to begin with, and looked forward to the day. He had internal competitions with peers to see who keys in the most text with least errors, and also had his monthly pay check to look forward to.

Fast forward 2 years. Rama still keys in the text, but is not quite into it. He has been hating his job because of all the things he does over and over again.

Yes, there are more than quite a number of exciting things than a 9-5 job, but this was to show that we humans do not like go over the same things all the time. One of life’s conundrums is that we don’t like to change, but we don’t like to see repeats.

What can you do instead?

If you have enjoyed a situation and want to see it repeat, just brain-dump it in a to-do list.

If you were really happy about a picnic with friends in the past, set a future date for that picnic and get everyone’s commitment on it. If you enjoyed an adventure, set a date in your calendar to do that again after x months.

After that, you are done with the living in the past and the planning for future. Set aside the thoughts about the past and the future, and start focusing on the present.

Think about what can you do today to enjoy today better?

What PK teaches you about embracing change?

PK is causing quite a sensation.

There are daily/hourly calls from all and sundry from the religious right to boycott the movie. There are acts of vandalism in the movie halls, and a general sense of “something is wrong with the movie because the leaders are saying so”.

pk is good for you

I saw PK last weekend and was not quite impressed.

Yes, it is better as compared to the average Hindi movie. Yes, it has a message (for people who are into that kind of thing). And yes, it has a few scenes here and there that leave an impression (for the naughty: no, that does not include dancing cars – that is just puerile).

Controversies abound, there are more than few people amazed and upset over anything that is said, or unsaid. I quote Einstein – “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds”, but that may be just me.

But, PK does have a few lessons hidden about change –

1. Challenge status quo

There are a few things you are doing today because “they were always done in that way”.

That is the time to play an RPG (Role Playing Game, for newbies). Imagine yourself as an alien from an outside planet, and look at what you are doing with eyes wide open.

What do you see? Are you doing something because your seniors/friends/boss told you so? Challenge yourself to change that situation.

2. The majority does not always do the right thing

If a majority follows something, it does not automatically become right.

People follow a certain way because of their own constraints or external pressure. You are not called smart when you blindly follow that way in spite of a clear indication that it is suboptimal or plan doesn’t work.

3. Belief systems may not match up to facts

Cross check your beliefs to what works, or not.

Challenge those beliefs. See whether you have stuck with what worked before, while the underlying facts and framework have changed.

4. Don’t stop experimenting

Don’t stop when things work in a certain way the first time. Know that things may work in a certain way at a particular instance in time because of the law of probability.

Don’t be afraid of experimenting time and again – after all that is what life is about.

5. Be compassionate

People behave like absolute idiots when you decide to stand apart. Know that they are afraid for themselves and about the upcoming change when they see somebody challenging the today’s world.

Prepare people for change, you will find one or two souls who will listen, and take your message to others. Be firm, but don’t push people away. Be tough, but don’t abandon the people.

6. Don’t be afraid to stand out

Even when most people become upset with what you do, there will be some secret admirers who will be amazed by what you are doing.

You do your good deed, change your life and that of others for the better. And people come to appreciate that though it does take time to get those fantastic results.

I don’t have enough time!

What is your most favourite answer for any new task that you probably are not doing day in and day out?

Yes, that’s the title of this post – “I don’t have enough time”.

So where is this mythical time crunch is coming from? Let’s look at a few scenarios.

Lack of time scenarios

Her: How about learning this new course/technology/easier way to do stuff?

You: [thinking] Oh my God, I cannot stand another change. My grandfather always used to say “don’t fix’em if they ain’t broken”. Why do people want to “learn stuff” all the time?

[aloud] Oh, I don’t have enough time.

Him: Would you like to join in my new venture to create an awesome new business?

You: [thinking] I cannot commit to the new venture. I cannot take the risk of spending more money at this time with no returns in sight.

[aloud] I don’t have enough time.

Her: Learn to be fit by doing these simple exercises for 30 min each day.

You: [thinking] Here we go – yet another way to keep fit and promising everything including a loyal dog when I am fit.

[aloud] Sorry, cannot spare time in the mornings.

And, it goes on and on and on.. (yes, “on” repeats itself).

At some point you would have found yourself challenged with similar questions, and you would have answered on similar lines.

Why the lack of time?

So, why does this happen?

To be fair, the situation may be genuine. You may have been working 16 hrs a day and there is little you can do otherwise. But, most of those times you have got into that situation because you *want* to be in that situation.

You are unwilling to do the task.

You resist change. You do not want to be part of the evil empire that changes itself every now and then, and throws surprises at others. You do not want to “take the risk” of changing something and “breaking it” in the process.

You are afraid of commitment.

There are things in the past you have committed to, and which spectacularly failed because you could not bring yourself to go on. So, why commit  and suffer when you have the luxury of not committing to the task?

You do not want to dilute your current focus.

You do not want to commit on something when you have other “stuff” to do right now. You don’t want to take up new work unless the current commitments are met.

You do not like to work with people who have “popped the question”.

You just cannot bring yourself to like the person enough to work with her. So, instead of antagonizing the person by going into the nitty-gritty, you bring up the lack of time factor.

How you need to change?

First off, you need to understand that you are not helping yourself or others around you by quoting lack of time as the reason to avoid trying something new.

When you are given an opportunity to embrace a change –

  • you evaluate what the change means to you and your world
  • ask the person/people advocating the change on what they think of post change future, how it helps them and the people around them, the positives and negatives of change, and what do they make of your role in that process
  • get to know more about your role, get your own perspective on that, and decide whether you like it
  • evaluate the kind of work you will be doing vis-a-vis your current priorities

Only then you decide how, and when you are getting involved. Don’t be afraid to commit to a proposal when you like the end result but you don’t like to push yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

Also, don’t be afraid of the proposal since you very much like the status quo. Keep in mind that if you don’t change, others will – and that may become a much harder world to live in.

dont have time to change

You make time for the new venture if that is going to help you further your objectives, or create new objective hitherto unknown to you.

Finally, it is perfectly OK to not like the proposal. But instead of making up blaming the time factor, you MUST answer to yourself and to others about the reasons you will not be taking something up.

Quoting the actual reasons will give an opportunity for yourself to know where you are going with life, your positives, and shortcomings, and also give out a strong signal to others that you give the proposal a serious thought before committing to/rejecting it.

Start meditating today – all it takes is simple breathing

I have written about easy ways to start meditation before. But, of course we cannot live with one or two sites/apps for such a good idea. stopbreathethink.org is one of those websites.

Meditation is one of the good ways to look inwards and find peace, contentment and ability to actively live life. The benefits are multi fold, and have been crooned over by people associated with all walks of life.

Unfortunately, meditation also came to be associated with religion.

That has introduced many wrong notions about the process, and more often and not, results in being scoffed at by rationalists. The good news – times are a’changing.

More and more people accept that meditation can result in general well being of life. And, that is a good thing.

The older idea

So, let’s say for a moment that you want to check out what exactly is going on the other side – how and where do you start?

The older idea was to of course find the nearest Guru who can imbibe the knowledge. People found religion Gurus, Yoga gurus, and even travelled to the east to find more.

As we learn more and more into the benefits of meditation, we also came to know the “how” and “why” (at a high level, at least) of those benefits. This resulted in better, more modern ways of meditating.

This may be as simple as teaching a child to repeat “I am all right and happy” when anxiety hits her for any reason. Or, may it be an adult just thinking about her breath.

Easy ways to start meditation

The world is way more connected today than it ever was in human history. This makes internet the most powerful mechanism to deliver good ideas, processes, and products that help the general well being of a human. So, why not have meditation delivered the same way?

Many Yoga teachers who initially had been advocating physical presence to learn something the right way changed for the better. They either devised new ways to reach people far and wide, or started indirectly encouraging sharing media that can help others. YouTube has many such videos, and so are many other services.

When I chanced upon HeadSpace, I was indeed amazed by the idea. I could see how many people in the west, and even in the east can subscribe to the idea of meditating by following simple directions.

StopBreatheThink.org is another such website.

stopbreathethink.org review easy ways to start meditation

StopBreatheThink promotes meditation in an easy way. You can choose to use the Android or iOS app, or simply the website to get started.

You register to track your progress, and answer very simple questions (e.g. How do you feel today?) to enable the app to select the meditation practice that is best for you that day.

simple ways of meditating choose what to meditate on

Depending on questions, that day’s meditation can focus on contentment, compassion, encourage calmer thoughts and so forth.

choose ways to meditate using stopbreaththink.org

You can also choose to select your own meditation practice by going through the “List of Meditations” available.

The objectives are simple –

  1. Get aware of what your body and mind are saying, stop and listen to that inner voice (yes there is one, dummy)
  2. Think positive thoughts, and thoughts that reinforce good living
  3. Wish that good living for yourself and for the rest of the world

The benefits are the same. You will be calmer, more focused, and more confident to live life as it should be lived.

Personally though I liked what is being taught here, I have to admit – I was mesmerized by HeadSpace much more. HeadSpace appears more focused on making things simpler, focused and more inward focused.

Try both for yourself and choose the one (or both) that works for you. Headspace has 10 lessons free, while StopBreatheThink is completely free.