A while back, I had read my friend’s blog-post (“On dealing with jealousy“).
I’ve loved writing, since school. I remember eagerly looking forward to the essay-writing assignments. All the other students used to copy from ready-made essay books available in stores; not me. In school, I was proud of my writing prowess. Naturally, I assumed I was good at it. I was not. Not as much as I would have liked to, at least … Since the time I realized my writing was not as good as I hoped it would be or wanted it to be, I spend more time reading than writing. I spend time admiring other works and being jealous.
To which, I had commented:
I can relate to this (as I am sure, the rest of humanity can as well). I also used have a sense of pride over my intellectual and linguistic prowess – until of course, that bubble burst by the realization that there are many like me, and many who are better than me. It happens. Jealously might be a short-term response to it, but it isn’t a healthy response over the long-term. I have made peace with the fact that in a world of 7 billion (and counting!!) people, there’s only a handful few who are going to stand-out as people extraordinaire. It’s a simple fact of population, statistics and probability. I personally take solace in the fact that in the grand scheme of things, nothing matters – that we are all transient, that nothing is permanent. And the best way of looking at the whole situation is to compete with oneself – never dwell too much on the external world, and don’t compete with others. As long as you are improving by your own benchmarks and standards, you are making progress and learning and evolving. And that counts for something.
And yet, it appears that I forgot my own words. I fell back on the old familiar patterns of thought, action and behavior. I fell prey once again to insecurity and pride, to envy and coveting, to ignoring what I have (and being grateful for it), and instead salivating after things not in my reach. And in doing so, I completely lost the whole plot … It’s not always about undergoing newer and more profound realizations. In fact, it’s seldom the case that you undergo some earth-shattering epiphany that reveals a new worldview in it’s wake. A lot of the times, we tend to forget (or take for granted) the existing set of realizations and epiphanies we have had over the course of our life. It’s all the more common that we are reminded of some lesson we learnt in the (distant or not-so-distant) past, and which we are having to learn all over again, the hard-way. Or as David Foster Wallace puts it:
On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.
As it stands, the really key challenge is to follow through the chain of life lessons that I have learned so far: in the nitty-gritty of actually doing the boring, mundane, grinding grunt-work of implementing these life-lessons; of “keeping calm and carrying on” while going through day-to-day routine (especially daunting/unpleasant work that just needs to be done), and maintaining an imperturbable zen disposition towards Life in general. And this is where I fail time and again (and so I suspect do a lot of other folks).
I have realized I have been running away from doing this by couching everything in a jargon-heavy language of intellectual rationalization, or trying to explain away the inherent messiness of life; trying to come to terms with it through lengthy onerous deliberations in the form of so-called philosophical treatises (blog posts). And in all this, what’s lacking is not thought or deliberation, but action and following through. Action that’s meaningful, consistent and sustained. Repeated with diligence over and over again.
And while this lack of action has impacted every sphere of my life in ways big and small, one part of this has spilled over my ‘inability’ (in reality: ‘unwillingness’) to write/blog regularly. I have been too content being a consumer for far too long – reading and absorbing all the amazing writing out there, while not even attempting to produce any of my own. And in doing so, I might have deprived myself a chance of cleansing myself with the cathartic power of words, of reminding myself time and again of contemplative realizations. And of keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. That’s going to have to change (along with concrete actions in other critical areas of my life). Hopefully. Trouble is the truth fades away rather quickly from daily consciousness – one bit a day. It takes sustained attentive consciousness and willful striving on your part for the truth NOT to fade away. And this seldom happens. And it’s easy to lose track and let things slip. And a few days/weeks/months later, you find yourself right back to Square One.
[Also Mirrored on my Medium Page]