This write-up includes not only ideologies/measures (along with a rationale underlying each of them) to be adopted during testing times, but during all times of one's existence, because, IT MAY BE WORTH IT :
1. A human cannot die due to hard work: Having born as humans, it may not be a choice, but our OBLIGATION, to indulge in nothing other than “Serving Humanity”; ironically, considering the same as an obligation also, is, after all, a choice we can make if we allow our powerful brains to do so. For daily wage labourers, going to work daily is a service to humanity, because, through that, they can protect their families, which in turn serves as a role model for other families around them to survive similarly, or better. For millionaires, making GENUINE business deals is a service to humanity, because, through that, they can make money, which in turn can (rather, SHOULD) be used to make the poor dive out of poverty. For game developers, creating SENSITIVE content for games is a service to humanity, because, through that, they can address some societal ill and add value. In this larger picture, do parties, abusing drugs, excessive social networking, etc make any sense at all? Hence, as a start point, let us think about how we can cut down on some of our current insignificant/wasteful activities, and plan our schedules better, towards serving and saving humanity.
2. Think or write: Consciously spending "mind time" (either through mere thinking or penning down) daily, at least for 30 minutes each day, helps with articulating one's ideologies into something concrete, that can benefit at least one individual around us. IDEAS AND IDEOLOGIES are mere self-dialogues if they are not translated into BENEFICIAL ACTION, and beneficial action is mere action, if not translated into REPETITIVE BENEFICIAL ACTION. For example, if I am constantly idealizing about being an artist (ideology), I have to constantly and passionately create pieces of art (action); I cannot afford to stop at this, because creating art and locking it in my desk drawer does no societal good; the ‘societal contribution’ part may involve several acts such as sharing it with as many people as possible so that they get inspired and work harder at their areas of interest, putting up an exhibition to sell my art and use the money from it towards my family's medical expenses or towards community donations, etc (beneficial action); I cannot afford to stop here too; I have got to repeat the above-mentioned my whole life over and over again with undying spirit and passion (repetitive beneficial action).
3. Pursue your passion: Investing at least one hour each day on actively engaging in any form of creativity (music, art, dance, painting, writing, etc), because, self-expression through the same, is the easiest and quickest path towards connecting ourselves with the higher power we believe in (a higher power may be an idea, or God, or our own self). The purpose of connecting to a higher power is to realize the beauty of the inner self and life, as a whole, amidst all the worldly affairs and noise.
4. Let us not view any period of our life as a break/escape route from hectic life: As soon as we start viewing it this way, we will indulge in two unhealthy processes, one, craving for a break while having a hectic life, and two, stressing about having to go back to hectic life while on a break. Both these processes prevent us from "being fully present" in a given scenario, due to constant apprehension or worry. The more and more we direct each of our daily activities towards our life's MISSION (in case we do not have a mission yet, let us start making one, by slowly converting one or more of our current hobbies into something that can, generate an income through a career, as well as serve humanity in some format), alias, the service of humanity, the lesser and lesser will the difference between a hectic life and a break be felt; the latter being the healthy way forward. For example, if my mission is to become an artist, even though I spend two long weeks on one piece of art, I will not regard it as a hectic period and crave for a break; I would, rather, work on it with as much passion as possible and right away start with my second piece of art.
5. Split entertainment activities into segments rather than indulging at one go: In a distracted world as today, it may be considered by a few/many as close to impossible to live every single minute pursuing our mission, hence, it is okay, sometimes, if a dire need is, to engage in activities that are entertaining in nature. To note: during indulgence in such activities, for instance, viewing a TV series, let them be viewed in parts (spanning a maximum of 1.5 hours a day) so that they are not exhausted at one go (considering their finite nature). For example, I am working on a complex piece of art and choose to take a 15-minute break once every two hours. In this case, I could watch 15 minutes of one episode of a TV series of my choice, rather than getting carried away by the entertainment component and watching all 10 episodes in a season on the same day. Here, I have fulfilled my desire for entertainment through taking breaks, as well as, directed focus back onto my mission.
6. Reduction in feelings of claustrophobia when around loved ones: Just like love overrules anything else, while around and close to our loved ones, war and conflict are also, needless to say, inescapable realities. However, if we look deep down, we realize that, very often, what tears us apart the most is, feeling claustrophobic about feeling claustrophobic, because, we are overtaken by the fundamental realization that we were never supposed to be feeling claustrophobic around our loved ones, in the first place. Hence, the thought process that could be undertaken to battle the above-mentioned is:
Everybody around us, including our family members, come from varied backgrounds and childhoods, hence, they are all bound to act in different ways and project it all onto us, as well as the other people around them, in different ways, just as we do too. Therefore, though there are closely knit families, the individuals who make up these very families are so unique and peculiar and they will always be so, thereby the conflicts amidst them, so, instead of looking at their actions/behaviours as faulty, or uncalled for, or judgmental, or hurting, and so forth, let us start looking at those very actions/behaviours as mere actions and behaviours which are the way they are/seem, without assigning a label to them or taking them personally; this will give us so much inner strength and peace, which would, in turn, serve as a foundation for the execution of Point 7 below.
7. Separation from a loved one shakes even the strongest of humans: It is, sometimes, after the departure of or separation from a loved one that we realize and regret so much, and begin engaging in the bargaining process, wherein, we wish for more years with the departed. If we look real close at the emotions and grief we undergo after the departure of our significant one, we may realize that some or most of the pain may be a result of feelings of guilt and regret. Hence, the eye-opening message here, is, to live with the loved one TODAY, in such a way as to not feel even a pinch of regret once they truly depart. That is possible only if TODAY is lived compassionately and mindfully. So, NOW IS THE TIME to remind ourselves of the harsh reality that any of our loved ones can depart from our lives at any time and in any manner, and we have no control over this, hence, let us live with our loved ones TODAY as if they were not going to be in our lives, tomorrow. This approach, if internalized adequately, would also help us deal with the pain of separation, with much more strength and grace. Forgiving and seeking forgiveness (this need not always be followed by re-entry into a full-fledged active relationship post the bitter event between the two; we could also mutually decide to not be in contact after forgiving each other, because, after all, forgiveness does not necessitate togetherness; it is just a virtuous gesture), loving more, loving more and more, giving more and more, being with each other more and more, writing letters, sending emails, dropping messages, are the different things we can do TODAY and EVERY SINGLE DAY, to NOT REGRET TOMORROW. After all, today always becomes tomorrow, but tomorrow can never become today.
8. Enhance physical and mental health: Mental health is automatically an end result of implementing points 1-7.
Maintenance of our physical health is not a 'vacation affair', rather, it ought to be a part of daily living, just like eating and excreting. Physical health does not mandatorily involve exercise; constant movement of some sort is itself a great state to be in. Laughing out loud (for which we may not require a reason always) is also a calorie-burning exercise :D
9. Before we put into practice, one/more/all of the above-suggested, let us make sure we first absorb the ideas, take them inside our brains, integrate them into our pre-existing ideologies, create our unique version of the original idea and only then implement in reality; only if we engage in such a process will we feel a sense of individuality, ownership and accountability, thereby enhancing our preparedness to assume complete responsibility for the consequences of our deeds (be it favourable/unfavourable); there furthermore comes a sense of deep fulfilment to have adopted something that was created by our own selves rather than if we had borrowed a strategy from somebody else, however, reputed the somebody maybe. Therefore, let us now come up with our own list of 8 points and begin practising them with all possible zest. Furthermore, in case you have derived some inspiration from the above-suggested, to create your list, I request you to give all credit to yourselves, because, after all, only because you had the INTENT, you sought the inspiration, so, ALL CREDITS TO YOU! You have just SELF-GIFTED! ☺
In case any of the above seems overly “idealistic” or even mildly offensive to the readers, I beg your pardon, but, I also gently urge to not forget that, the very purpose of having “ideals” is to get closer to them and feel a sense of inner growth in the process; if we keep placing them at a pedestal distant from us, they will always seem unattainable. On the contrary, in case all the above seem doable, then it is a clear indication that we are being honest (honesty, after all, starts with our own selves) with ourselves and already on the path of BECOMING ONE WITH OUR IDEALS.
Let us make our existence, amidst all kinds of circumstances, a revolution! May love and peace prevail!
Wellness Centre, IITM