My morning jogs are part of my daily routine. There is no fixed route that I take each day. Once out on the road, I let my mind rule.
Each new route has unfolded a different facet of the city to me. I have taken it all in as I traversed the roads. Some parts are beautiful, some others not so much. But they are all part of the city where I live, a sum of all parts.
Yesterday I went to a less-visited part of the city where I came upon an area full of graffiti. There was nothing that I would call artistic or pleasing; in fact, most of it was meant to be visually and intellectually offensive.
As I took it in and jogged past, I realized how my reaction would have been a few years back. “Who are these people defiling the city? Where is the law? Why can’t these people be put behind bars?” – something along these lines. And now, all I thought: “The people doing this, need a space to express themselves, to vent their feelings. It is better they bring it out as graffiti rather than in some other way”. And I jogged on, learning to appreciate the city with all its imperfections.
What happened to me over the past years that changed my perspective so much? How had I exercised my mind to accept that things are not always perfect? That there is beauty in everything and every person, not always despite their imperfections but at times, because of them?
I will tell you what happened. I invested in something priceless – in my own happiness. I realized that if I am unhappy and unfulfilled within, no outside factors can make me happy. No matter how many things I buy or eat, real happiness will elude me. This realization has been the most important learning of my life. And it has radically changed my world.
★ I have learnt to accept that imperfection is a part of life. It is integral to life itself. For if all was to be perfect, how would we value it? I have learnt to accept that chaos is also part of life. It is something we see all around us in nature. The way trees grow, how they shed their leaves, the patterns of sunlight on the ground, all of it is random. But it is so very beautiful. This is something I tended to overlook, the overall beauty of a situation.
★ I am blessed to have undergone a journey of self-development over the last years that has brought me in contact with some amazing souls. They have guided me into the light and opened and freed my mind from past cycles. I am now free to appreciate the goodness in every aspect of life.
★ I have realized the importance of self-love. The fact that no external agency, person or material possession can make me happy if I am not able to internalize happiness, has been an eye-opener. I now know that I need to be happy and content within myself to appreciate goodness and beauty all around me. This learning has been a life-altering experience for me.
What have been my take-aways from this realization?
★ It is better to expend my energies trying to help others rather than judging them. It is better to realize others’ unique circumstances and to walk in their shoes to understand what they are going through. I can always try to help, rather than pronouncing someone bad or imperfect.
★ Improper or vulgar graffiti is an expression of a person’s angst. I have learnt to respect the fact that they might not have an avenue for expression, or someone to guide them or hold their hand or to provide a solution. I have been lucky in this respect, they are not. It is a carryover of past traumas that is finding expression as graffiti. If this is the way they choose to clear their minds and cleanse their souls, so be it.
★ In an increasingly fake society, we are prone to pass judgment instead of looking within or finding solutions. Let the change begin within and the world will become a better place.
We must all make a concerted effort to look within ourselves to become a happier person. We owe this to ourselves and to society.
Come, join me in this inner journey and bring out the best in yourself!
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