Monday, 19 August 2013

Loser despite winning every time.

Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to loose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat and go onto win again, you are going to be a champion someday.
-Wilma Rudolph

Winners are not who wins every time but who knows the importance of losing also. Donald Trump said “Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away and move on to something that’s more productive.” One cannot work all the time: 24X7. One needs to take rest. One has a limited resource. One must have the faculty to distinguish between important or unimportant, worthy or worthless. It is wisdom to reserve one’s resources for meaningful purpose and surrender against meaningless goals. 

I heard a story about a man who was going with his son to a market to sell a donkey. On the way, they met a person who asked “Why walk when you have a donkey to ride?" The man let his son to sit on the donkey. Soon they met another person who said "How shameful of you! Let your father ride, won't he be tired?" So, the boy got down and the man rode the donkey. Again they marched on. "Poor boy", said the next passerby they met, "why should the lazy father ride while his son is walking?" So, the boy got onto the donkey too. As they went on, they met some travelers who commented "How cruel of them! They are up to kill the poor donkey." Hearing this, the man and the son got down. Now they decided to carry the donkey on their shoulders. As they did so, the travelers broke into laughter. The laughter frightened the donkey. It broke free and galloped away. Don’t try to win every argument or situation. You cannot satisfy everyone’s need. You cannot please everyone.

We think that getting what we want brings us happiness; winning brings happiness. We all know the story of the greedy king named Midas. He had a lot of gold and the more he had the more he wanted. One day he was visited by an angel and asked to make a wish. The king was delighted and said, "I would like everything I touch to turn to gold." The angel said "Starting tomorrow morning with the sun rays you will get the golden touch." The king thought he must be dreaming, this couldn't be true. But the next day when he woke up, he touched the bed, his clothes, and everything turned to gold. He looked out of the window and saw his daughter playing in the garden. He decided to give her a surprise and thought she would be happy. But before he went to the garden he decided to read a book. The moment he touched it, it turned into gold and he couldn't read it. Then he sat to have breakfast and the moment he touched the fruit and the glass of water, they turned to gold. He was getting hungry but he couldn’t eat. Just about that time his daughter came running and he hugged her and she turned into a gold statue. There were no more smiles left. The king bowed his head and started crying. Despite winning his wish, his life became miserable and he had to live a life of a loser.

Winning is an event while winner is a spirit. By merely winning, one cannot become a winner. Winning an event may be chance but having a winner spirit could not be chance; it is something that one earns. Almost we all have heard the story of tortoise and rabbit who once raced and tortoise won and declared winner. The story goes like this. There lived a rabbit who ridiculed a slow-moving tortoise and it was decided to have a race between them. The rabbit soon left the tortoise behind and, confident of winning, took a nap midway through the course. The tortoise got tired but he kept going. When the rabbit awoke, however, he found that his competitor, crawling slowly but steadily, had arrived before him and won the race. It was a chance victory. Under normal circumstance, a rabbit could never be defeated by a tortoise. Despite the fact, tortoise was a winner. How come so? Tortoise was a winner not because he won the race but because he had winner spirit. This fact is mostly neglected and gives rise to a mind state which is self-defeating. This problem is correctly raised by Joshua Waitzkin in his statement: “Very gifted people, they win and they win and they are told that they win because they are a winner. That seems like positive thing to tell children, but ultimately what that means is when they lose, it must make them a loser.”

Olympics is a lifetime event. It was the year 1988 and the event was Seoul Olympics Finn Class race. Lawrence Lemieux was in second position with a medal almost certain but he stopped racing to help fellow competitors who were in trouble. After rescuing them, he resumed the race and finished in 22nd place out of 32 boats in the race. Even though he did not win the race, he was a winner. He was honored by kings and queens all over the world because he kept the winner spirit alive. He was also awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for sportsmanship. The medal has been given to only 12 athletes till date.

Winners do not play for winning but for self-integrity. Reuben Gonzales was in the final match of the racquetball tournament. This was an important event and he was playing for the world title. In the final game at match point, Gonzales played a super shot to save point. The referee and the linesman both confirmed that the shot was good and he was declared the winner. But Gonzales, after a little pause and hesitation, turned back to shake his opponent's hand and said, "The shot was faulty." As a result, he lost the serve and eventually, lost the match. Everyone was stunned. Who could imagine that a player with everything officially in his favor, with winning in his pocket, would disqualify himself and lose. When asked why he did it, Gonzales replied, "It was the only thing to do in order to maintain my integrity." He lost the match, yet he was a winner.

Winner does not work for credit but for the work done. Colonel Edward M. House wielded an enormous influence in national and international affairs while Woodrow Wilson occupied the White House. Wilson leaned upon Colonel House for secret counsel and advice more than he did upon even members of his own cabinet. What method did the Colonel use in influencing the President? Fortunately, we know, for House himself revealed it to Arthur D. Howden Smith, and Smith quoted House in an article in The Saturday Evening Post. " 'After I got to know the President,' House said, 'I learned the best way to convert him to an idea was to plant it in his mind casually, but so as to interest him in it - so as to get him thinking about it on his own account. The first time this worked it was an accident. I had been visiting him at the White House and urged a policy on him which he appeared to disapprove. But several days later, at the dinner table, I was amazed to hear him trot out my suggestion as his own.' "Did House interrupt him and say, "That's not your idea. That's mine?” Oh, no. Not House. He was too adroit for that. He didn't care about credit. He wanted results. So he let Wilson continue to feel that the idea was his. House did even more than that. He gave Wilson public credit for these ideas.

Endeavor only for winning is attachment, freedom lies in sacrifice of transitory winning over deterministic winning.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Love: The Biggest Death

Love and Death, move through the world, like closest friends indeed, never far separate, and together dominating it in a kind of triumphant superiority; and yet like bitterest enemies, dogging each other's footsteps, undoing each other's work, fighting for the bodies and souls of mankind.
- Edward Carpenter

Is pain always painful? I heard a story about a tree who loved a boy very much. Boy used to come and play in the shades of tree, climb up, swing from the branches and eat its fruits. The tree was happy. Time went by. The child became adolescent and found happiness in other things and abandoned playing around the tree. The tree was left alone to live. One day, the adolescent boy was passing beside the tree with a sad face. The tree felt the sadness inside the boy and shouted “Come Boy, climb up my trunk, swing from my branches, eat my fruits and play in my shade and be happy.” “I am too big to climb and play. Don’t mess. I’m in trouble” said the adolescent boy. The tree asked “What happened? What is the cost of your happiness?” The adolescent boy replied “I want to buy things and have fun. I want some money.” The tree said “Don’t worry my boy. Take my fruits, sell them in the market, earn money, have fun and be happy.” The adolescent boy climbed up the tree, plucked fruits and left the tree alone again. But the tree was happy for the boy. After a long time tree again saw the boy, felt alive with joy and shouted “Come Boy, climb up my trunk, swing from my branches and be happy.” The boy replied in hard voice “I am too busy to climb trees. I need to expand my business far off the sea. I need a boat. I don’t know what to do?” The tree said “Calm down Boy. Cut off my branches, build a boat and be happy.” The boy, now a young man, did the same and again left the tree alone. But the tree was happy for the boy. After travelling and wandering place to place. The man returned with his wife and son and wanted to settle down. The man introduced his son to the tree and shared the stories how he used to play around the tree and how tree helped him time to time. Now tree is itself old and hardly speak but whispered “You look sad what’s the matter.” The man replied “Now I’m a married man having wife and kid. I want to settle down. I need a house.” The tree replied “Cut down my trunk, make a house and be happy.” The man and his son together cut down the trunk and made a house for themselves. The tree was once again left alone. But the tree was happy for the boy. Many years passed. This time the man was also alone. The man’s child became young and became busy in his carrier opportunities. In meanwhile, the man’s wife also died. He was sad. Now, he realized that the tree was his real lover. He went to the tree. The tree greeted him properly and said “I am sorry Boy; I have nothing left to give you. My apples are gone. My branches are gone. My trunk is gone. I wish that I could give you something but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump.” "I don't need very much now," said the boy, "just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired." "Well," said the tree, straightening as much as it could, "an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest." And the man did. The tree was happy for the boy. The emotions of the tree could be expressed better in the words of Mother Teresa who said “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

I heard once a lover knocked on the door of his beloved. A sound heard from inside "who are you?" Lover replied "It's me." Another sound heard from inside "go back there is no room for I in love." Lover wandered and wandered for the meaning of love. After a long time he again knocked the same door. Again same voice "who are you?" Lover replied "It's you" Beloved said "go back when there is you there is I" Lover realized his mistake and again knocked the door and again the question "who are you?" This time lover replied "It's love" and the door opened.

Love breaks the wall of "I." Love could not be confined within any wall. Love is infinite sky. If one see the sky from a window and think what is visible is sky then it would be a wrong assessment. Love is not only that reflects through the window of relationship but is the whole sky. The energy of love passes into instincts, into the power of ideas, into creative force on different planes of life, into images of art, into songs, sounds, music, poetry. And we can easily imagine the same energy passing into intuition of a higher order, into higher consciousness which will open up for us a mysterious and miraculous world. Rumi said "This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet."

It is the fear of demolition of the wall of ego inside individual, the abolishment of "I-ness," death of individuality that causes pain in love. The death of ego is the biggest death and source of happiness. It is the feeling of I-ness that is the cause of misery in human life. Barbara de Angelis said “Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible - it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.”

A candle burns to give light. Burning is the necessary condition for obtaining light from a candle. Burning and light are two faces of same phenomenon. The same is true with light of love and burning of ego and, that is why; Sufism believes in love as "divine and a way of salvation", Buddhism's  "Karuna" is egolessness, Benedict XVI wrote his first encyclical on "God is love." One can start his journey from either side. In fact, in Hindu mythology love and death are the two faces of one deity. Shiva, the god of the reproductive force in nature, is at the same time the god of violent death, murder and destruction. His wife Parvati is the goddess of beauty, love and happiness, and she is also Kali or Durga - the goddess of evil, misfortune, sickness and death. And Shiva and Kali together are gods of wisdom.

Socrates once said “By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll transcend through love; if you get a bad one, you'll transcend through suffering.” It is a well-known psychological fact that at moments of very intense experience, great joy or great suffering, everything happening around seems to a man unreal, a dream. This is the beginning of the awakening of the soul. When a man begins to be aware, in a dream, that he is asleep and that what he sees is a dream, he awakes. In the same way a soul, when it begins to realize that all visible life is but a dream, approaches awakening.

Whoever is capable of seeing beyond 'facts' begins to see many new things precisely in love and through love.

-P.D. Ouspensky