No, I am not a visa salesman. Another year has come and gone (or nearly so) and I’d like to think they are both priceless for each of us (not priced less!).
I’d like to wish you erudition and information – but we seem to have too much of it anyway. We also have InternetEverywhere, TimeNowhere and PeaceAnywhere but here!
What we need therefore seems to be not more information but a means to transform all that information into wisdom. To do that, it seems to me we need to learn to unlearn – a skill that will I trust befit the title of this piece.
What do we do to unlearn you ask – here’s a little list I hope will do the trick for starters…
1. Read a book, bungy jump (!) or watch a video that pushes you out of your comfort zone and makes no sense logically (of course i don’t mean anything like the “dumb and dumber” movie). Here’s an osho video for instance that while in no sense educational, breaks stereotypes. The thought of an Indian mystic with a Japanese name and a hundred rolls-royces, discoursing to a suited man on jacuzzis and designer wristwatches – has me in splits every time while becoming open to the fact that we haven’t seen it all yet!
2. Get inspired through an example of sheer courage – A terminally ill man (and one of scientific temperament at that) delivering a heartwarming and inspirational lecture on achieving childhood dreams – this is one of my all time favorites. Talk about Randy Pausch’s courage and compassion in the face of death – lots of unlearning lessons (how’s that work eh?) on how long faces, strong coffee and sailor language isn’t the only antidote for pressure-cooker situations.
3. Deciding on our stand on religion – do you want to be curious about religion or a policeman (or women) for religion? A lot of Indians were affronted (justified no doubt as they observed this to be an insult to their culture and beliefs) when the USSR recently banned a translation of the Bhagavad Gita – I continue to wonder however on how many of those protesting had read even a bit of this great book. The gita is the most pragmatic course in self unfoldment that i know of – and its hero, Sri Krishna sizes us up, diagnoses our particular condition and delivers specific solutions – all within 800 short verses (need a working manual for mass customization, anybody?). The curious would have found multiple paths (and signposts) to a better life – using the intellect (the path of knowledge), emotion (through devotion), societal (through service to others) etc. and picked up skills to still the mind, become responsive to our body’s responses…. The police(wo)man would have been left with a political adversary and a troubled mind.
4. Relate to the fact that social media = discovery. We can discover friends, hobbies, skills, vocations, places and -what the heck – even life. No age is too aged for a plunge into this world.
5. Finally management (had to bring that in somewhere!). Where resources are limited, we need to be aware of how we are using them, else we risk running out of the already limited resource. This is especially so when we are dealing with things that are unlimited by their very nature. Time and money for instance are limited – the things we can use them on (information, gadgets, travel, emotions) are unlimited. When we treat them as we would when we enter a fancy restaurant with limited cash (and no credit cards), all is generally well.
6. Most important – we need to distinguish between what we “care” about and what we “lust” for. The difference is really simple – we care about things/ people for their benefit and our mutual growth together (you care about your spouse or children for instance) while we lust for things for enhancing our own ego (buying a Ferrari not because we are a car connoisseur but because our competitor bought one – make sense?). Care gives us purpose in life and does not follow the diminishing curve (over time value goes up actually), while lust gives us ego trips and (mostly!) lighter wallets and a sense not being fulfilled. The lesson here – unlearn lusty habits (while strengthening the “care” ones!).
And that brings me full circle. Life reminds us it’s priceless everyday, and here’s wishing everyone a year that will make us priceless as well (and no I don’t mean we’ll go to work for visa!!….)