Talk of ‘giving back’ to society is in the air. It resounds in the social spaces we glide in and out of. And there is a nice little futuristic tint to these proclamations. There is this ever prevalent mass notion that chides us for having received so much. The understanding is that sometime in the future, when the hour is ripe and the pronouncer settled and secure enough, they are going to teach underprivileged children or adopt a few or maybe volunteer in an old age home. “Something worthwhile that preferably does not call for too much time. We are all so fortunate; we must do our bit by this hopeless world. The times are becoming so dangerous. Surely that places a moral responsibility on us for donating old clothes to Goonj or celebrating our personal events in an SOS village or clicking the smile box while booking ourselves a movie ticket.”
What strikes me is the implicit belief in one’s immortality these plans project, as though to say there is plenty of time before the skin starts scaling and the winds go out of the sails.
It is commendable to want to do something meaningful to make a difference. The assumption here is that one has achieved enough of a personal nirvana to now work for the betterment of others. What if I were to say one’s primary duty is to one’s own development and one lifetime is not good enough to get to that sharpness? And that rather than fix the outside, if we worked on our own interiors that would earn the human race a greater, longer lasting return.
Too many of us want to accuse, protest and suspect the agencies outside of us. We foam at the mouth over the ethical toxicity surrounding us. There is righteous outrage at the violence in communication. With some, the despair is so great that we withdraw from our public spaces.
Begin by calming and cleansing yourself, I say. Reorient! Reboot! Reset the mind’s exhaust engine. Hose away the clogged consciousness; vacuum out the cobwebs sitting on the heart. Begin living the exemplary life you want to see others live. Go after the happiness you deserve. Pack your days with feel good hormones. Wash yourself in Vitamin D. Release your peeves and resentments and hurts. Please get off that guilt trip. Sit down and punch out that bucket list.
You are enough. You are here, breathing, whole and full of possibilities. Quit waiting for the grand moment. When you begin humming with a sense of accomplishment and confidence, the trees will stretch taller, the grass will go tizzy with delight. As you dump the baggage of dark emotions behind, the winds will surge through the new spacious you. Stop the chatter therefore. Shut your eyes for a moment and breathe a while. It will descend on you. The unbearable joy of being! Those tears of gratitude will come, steady in the flow.
There is no boogeyman out there. Do yourself a favour! Banish the one inside.