Try Not To Look For Yourself Outside

When you say that you need to go find yourself, does that mean that you feel lost?

Did you find something that you would rather do instead?

A break is always nice, especially after working really hard. But taking a break with the intention of finding oneself is like trying to go fishing with the intention of catching a fish. At first, it may seem like “well why else would you go fishing if you don’t intend to catch fish?” Perhaps it is not so important what we do, rather than why we do it. Some people might want to spend time with their sons, or perhaps they would just like an excuse to be out on the boat. And what if you don’t catch any fish; would you deem the entire trip a loss? Being goal oriented is great, but we should always remember that, like Bruce Lee said, a goal is merely something to aim at.

If you take a break, then take a break. But going out with the intention of finding yourself is putting the same pressure on yourself that is making you take the break in the first place! There is no ideal version of you except for the version that you are right now. We are made to learn, mold and adapt. Whether we do it intentionally or have the universe do it for us, we are always under a constant state of change. There is no need to run away from yourself to find yourself. You are enough.


 

Suffering Illustrates Capability

Fear is like a virus that is passed down from generation to generation. And unfortunately, the only people who have the strength to overcome it are the ones who suffer the most.

Think of war, particularly our white blood cells that attack foreign objects coming into our bloodstream. When we get sick, it is an immunological response to something foreign that may kill us. Our body temperatures will rise, we may vomit frequently and just feel like total hell–but if the body didn’t have the capability to fight, we would just be dead. Pain then, is actually a way for the things we can’t see, to tell us that the smaller forces are doing their job.

As Jiddu Krishnamurti once stated, fear is a result of thought and time. The more we think about something that has happened, or of what might happen, the more fearful we become. Many of our parents, peers and coworkers have built a life based on the blueprint of someone else; and yet they are surprised when their decisions don’t allow them happiness. This is where the fear begins, because memories of failure are compounded over time with the pain they cause.

Seldom in our lives, are the comments that are made about us, actually about us. If you’re not good at something now, you can get better. If you have flaws that bother others, you can always work on them–no one is without them. But most importantly, if you didn’t have what it takes to win, you wouldn’t be suffering right now. Because suffering (in the positive light) is a bitch of a blessing for living.

Mindfulness Reduces The Power Of Fear

Photo by Northwoods Murphy

Fear is an illlusion that can feel very real–but seeing it for what it is can help us fight its grip on us. We can never give up fighting it. If we give up and let it have a chokehold on our neck, we feel like we cannot breathe. This is when the darkness begins to intensify, and we enter the bottomless well of depression. But just like any other feeling, fear originates from the mind–and anything that we can concieve is never greater than the creator: ourselves. Fear gets its power from failures from our past, and anxieties from our un-formed future. The truth is that we are no longer the same person from before, or this imaginary person from the future. We are we who are, today and now. Failures and successes are only a part of the entirety of us. By being in the present moment, we begin to take away the sources of power of fear; it is from this moment that anything is possible and fear is weakest. So why place our energy elsewhere? Be here, be present and be freed.

Liberating The Self

This article was originally posted on Medium.


“The door is there, and the key in your hand.” — Jiddu Krishnamurti

When we doubt ourselves, we doubt the universe from which we are manifested. And the universe makes no mistakes. If we doubt its ability to produce a path for us, we won’t take steps forward to pursue our goals. If we doubt its ability to solve obstacles in our path, we won’t be able to see that the “obstacle eventually becomes the way.”

Our best thinking brought us to where we are today. If it’s not where we want to be, we need to think differently. There is always much more to learn, and learning is thriving. If we grow comfortable with the way we think, we eventually seek out those who validate us rather than challenge us and our narrow way of thinking. We trap ourselves to a certain fate. But if we knew we were trapped, wouldn’t we want to search for the way out if we had even a little chance of finding it? As Jiddu Krishnamurti once stated, “The door is there and the key is in your hand.” With knowing where the key is, we just need the demonstrate the courage to deal with the unknown outside the prison walls of our familiar thinking. If we fear what is out there, we are no better off than being voluntary prisoners. But what is there to fear really, when the universe outside our reality are also a part of us? There is nothing that is truly foreign to us, because just as we were manifested, so was everything else around us by the universe. The more unknowns we are willing to accept, the freer we become. And then, we can realize our true nature and the connection of the universe.

The Engine We Call A Brain

black-and-white-car-engine-chrome-190574
Photo by Mike Bird from Pexels

This post was originally posted on Medium.


The minds of different people see the world differently. Some people can have minds that process a lot of information like a powerful V8 engine. And others may have a 4-cylinder that is more than enough power to sustain analytical productivity. Do you know what type of mind you have, and is it suited for success in what you’re doing?

More powerful doesn’t necessarily mean better. Often times, people with overactive minds tend to process a lot more information than others. This doesn’t mean they are better or more intelligent, but rather that they are better suited for making connections between things. For artistic minds, if all of the cylinders are not fired to accomplish a large, complicated task, the leftover energy gets transferred into boredom, self-analysis, and creation of falsehoods about ourselves. An artistic mind needs a more challenging path in the form of complex problems.

Every path we take in our lives has its own challenges, so it’s important to use the right tool for the right job.It doesn’t matter how powerful of a car you have, a 500+ horsepower engine driven into the ocean is a massive failure. In this instance, even a rowboat is more efficient than drowned car. From childhood, we start learning societal social norms and are expected to follow the paved path/freeway that is often: work your 9-5, raise a family, be amiable, retire, travel. There is nothing wrong with this path, but if the thought of this makes us uncomfortable then we are not meant for that life. Unfortunately, the majority of people today have falsely convinced themselves that this is the most secure path for them in life. But people that are not meant to belong in the corporate machine are adding more misery to an already overpopulated demographic. People have become so accustomed to travelling on this “normal” path,  they forget to exit to refuel, to go fishing, to smell the roses, to go off-roading, to go camping. They forget why they were ever on this path or freeway in the first place. The V8’s are wasting way too much fuel idling in traffic, whereas they’re meant to go off-roading or something with that power elsewhere. People feel restless from having unused energy because their engine doesn’t match their road. They need to exit. We need to exit.

But not everyone needs to exit, because some are on a path that gives them true happiness. Just like how creatives are happy doing deep work, analytically-minded people cringe at the thought of processing so much data. What seems crazy to them, is easy for the V8 mind. And what V8 mind finds difficult (marketing, hitting deadlines, etc.) is where this mind is expert. Everything and everyone has their place in this interdependent web. The Analytical V4 is an efficient engine that gets shit done. Every bit of energy has a task or purpose, unlike the V8 mind that constantly needs direction and information. These V4 people are better suited for being goal-oriented and being to the point. Unlike the rowdy, boisterous artistic mind that thinks laterally from concept-to-concept to make connections, the analytical V4 thinks vertically in steps, from task to task. The analytical minds know their purpose. The artistic minds are conquering uncharted territory. They both need each other because the analytical minds are the ones that help the artistic minds realize their goals into reality. If Shakespeare was a V8, the entire cast of people, set design, lighting, etc. were the V4’s that helped realize his dream and plays. And each person was happy doing what they did (or so one would hope).

We both need each other to make movement happen, like Yin and Yang. The kind of engine or brain that we have isn’t an indication of our worth or ability. Each brain requires a different level of maintenance, and a different path to conquer. We shouldn’t be comparing abilities in the first place, but rather, how we can better help each other, and by extension ourselves by practicing self awareness. Success is different for everyone. Each person requires their own type of care and fuel: the care is meaningful relationships and the fuel is gratitude. Instead of being convinced by others to stay the course on the beaten path, let’s recognize the power of our engines and drive accordingly.


Jay-Ram is a former Industrial Chemist turned writer who aims to help others use deductive reason and the scientific process to gain deeper insight into people, and create deeper, meaningful relationships between his fellow humans.

Into The Cosmos of Ourselves

arches-national-park-dark-formation-33688

You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean. — Alan Watts

You are enough, because you are actually many. Whenever we feel alone in our journey, exhausted and ready to give up, open your palms and look deep within to the core DNA of every cell. There, you will find the genetic memory of all of your ancestors who have succeeded. Let their energy carry you through the trials of your life, as their successes have carried them through theirs.

And when you shake the hand of another or embrace them, feel the universe within them and know that they too are on the journey of navigating the cosmos within themselves. The same spirit — The Tao, In Lak’ech, The Logos, Brahman — that resides within you, flows through them as well.

The different names for the energy that both encompass us and flow through us are like individual waves in the same cosmic ocean. The rise in the interest of spirituality during our current generation is no coincidence. If or when the next revolution will happen, it won’t be as much as tearing town physical walls as it will be for spiritual ones. The names of the deities and holy men may be lost to history, but the feelings and connections with people will always remain. Who was the greatest Shaman or Holy Man a billion years ago? How about more recent, say 10th millennium — 8,000 BC to 6,000 BC — ? It’s hard to say, but I’m sure people interacted with each other then, how we interact with each other today. Names may be lost to history, but our feelings and memories reside within us from long ago.

What our ancestors sought may not be much different than what we seek today. The human desire for connection is more prevalent than ever before, and perhaps one of the reasons why social media is so prevalent today: to facilitate creation of communities, and help people like ourselves find our tribe members. During a time where India, Rome, Latin America, China, etc. thought that they were the entire world because of geographical isolation, it was the need to connect and know about the existence of others like them that drove each empire to fund expeditions. What other motivation could be powerful enough to drive someone from the comfort of their homes, for months into rough seas?

Unfortunately, we now know how modern civilizations did a really poor job assimilating into indigenous cultures; usually ending up colonizing or enslaving them for the name of their God, profit and/or country. But it was ultimately their identities and the division of us/them that caused many of the complex problems associated with cultural ignorance. In our overall global culture today, is it a coincidence that the more scientific-minded we become, the more access we have to history, the more people seek connection with culturally different groups of other people? There may be some proof in how strong our ancestors’ desire to connect with each other was, because it seems like we are learning and more accepting of different cultures than ever before. We are beginning to see the soul of each other’s humanity.

There is much that we don’t know, nor ever will. But it doesn’t seem like life asks us much more than to do the best with what we know. What has happened before, will happen again, and will continue happening because of our vast ignorance. But during our lifetime on this planet, when we are able to see the first picture ever of a black hole in space, maybe we can dive deeper into the universe, within ourselves, and connect with the spirits of those who still continue to seek through us. We are them, they are us, but they and we are one energy, like ripples in one cosmic ocean.


Jay-Ram is a former Industrial Chemist turned writer who aims to help others use deductive reason and the scientific process to gain deeper insight into people, and create deeper, meaningful relationships between his fellow humans.

Failing, Falling and Flying

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels

Do you feel defeated? So what if you failed at trying something new? You tried something new, learned something new. We learn to have faith in our wings by spreading them. By stirring wind beneath them, they carry us towards our goals. We cannot learn to fly if we’re constantly afraid of failing and falling. The more confidence we have in the strength of our wings, the less worried we become about falling.


Be Your Own Element

art-artistic-background-1020315


Nature has an interesting way of organizing things. Let’s say we take a look at something as small as an atom of an element. We can find that it has its own set of properties. Depending on its characteristics, the atom will either bind with more things of the same element, or combine with something else to make an entirely new thing — to help that element find its most balanced state. This is very much like us as humans. We often hear the phrase “in their element” applied to people who are comfortable in their surroundings, and perhaps in the flow of what they are doing. To be in our element implies that we are the most simplest version of ourselves, amplifying our true self into the world through our words, actions and creations.

Often times, when we attract things into our life that don’t seem to feel right, people will also be prone to saying that “I’m sending out the wrong vibes into the universe.” There is some truth to it, but it is not as abstract or mysterious as we think. But rather, living any version of ourselves other than our true nature requires energy. There is a reason why actors go through intense emotional detox, possible psychosis, or take a hiatus from acting after a serious role: it requires a great deal of energy to pretend to be something we are not. When we yearn for the weekend, a drink, a vacation, or anything else outside of ourselves for a release, we are actually seeking release from the role we have convinced ourselves to play. Instead of giving ourselves permission to leave this play, we continue acting and hiding the true element of ourselves — the irony being that what we sought has always been within us. To find the people who are truly valuable to us, who bind well with our element, and to create the tribe or community we seek to enrich and uplift, we must first have the courage to expose our vulnerabilities and strengths, and unearth the hidden element of ourselves.


This article was originally posted on Medium.

Advance Through Your Fears

The constant and often unexpected challenges in our life can be exhausting to deal with. Fortunately, we are sometimes given respite from our struggle by experiencing moments of happiness. This temporary dose of endorphins helps us forget the daily grind and many of life’s deeper problems. There are many ways to achieve this sense of euphoria, but ultimately it can be achieved by two modes of action: retreat or advance from our problems. I would like to suggest “advancing” as a way to create a mental environment in our minds where happiness is more likely to grow. To advance towards the things we fear, by heightening our self-awareness and consciousness, relieves us of the need to get away, to exhaust ourselves from over-analysis, and to waste our time with indecision (retreating).

The way we perceive the world is through our minds, so it is important to cultivate a fertile environment where the seeds of peace and happiness can grow. For a good portion of my life, I thought that the goal of life was to be happy. But then, that belief metamorphosed into the philosophy that happiness isn’t the destination but the way. But something about this belief seemed to lack a balance between eternal optimism and the harshness of reality. I recently heard a piece of advice from @ryannicodemus from The Minimalists that helped me find that balance:

“I stopped chasing happiness once I realized that happiness is a symptom and not the purpose [of a life lived well].”

There are many things outside of our control in life, but the choice to advance towards (or retreat from) our fears is entirely up to us. Peace and happiness are scarce in many peoples’ lives because it is easier to run away, ignore, or justify our problems as a victim. If we handle our life as most other people do, then we too shall live an unremarkable life with unfulfilled dreams similar to those who complain about lack in their finances, love, health (exempt from certain situations) or career. The upside in demonstrating courage is exponentially high: to advance towards our problems, and realize that nothing short of physical death will stop us, allows us to go through them. What we fear, once conquered, transforms into an invigorating energy within us. We have been transformed. The new us can now aim higher and achieve things that our former couldn’t even concieve.

Advance through your fears, advance through your life. Retreat from your fears, retreat from your life.


Jay-Ram is a former Industrial Chemist turned writer who aims to help others use deductive reason and the scientific process to gain deeper insight into people, and create deeper, meaningful relationships between his fellow humans.

Unravel The Unique You

If we want uncover what makes us unique, then we must do the work that others are unwilling to do: the rigorous task of constant self-actualization. Raising our own self-awareness will deepen our connection with others, and our work will have depth that resonates on a profound level with others.

We can begin self-actualization by defining what we want out of our life. What are we trying to create? A life like [enter person here]? Another Eat Pray Love book? Another painting like Mona Lisa? Another electronic dance music (EDM) hit single? And most importantly, why do we need another one of any of these? Imitation is derivative, but true art is original.

“Marcel Duchamp, also an artist, puts an upside down urinal into an art exhibit in 1917, causes a riot–this is art–Not art, is the second person who puts a urinal in an art museum. They’re a plumber.” – Seth Godin

If it’s already done, an imitation of that particular thing is just a mere copy. The world needs less plumbers, and more artists. People who can uncover and express things from deep within themselves. True artists provide a service to the world much greater than any paycheck can pay. They know the value of what they do, and aren’t controlled by vanity metrics like (excessive) money and fame. Yes, we all need to eat and pay rent–but how much do we really need for that? And is our fear of going broke much more powerful than finding peace and expression within ourselves? Did we enter our career because of the potential wealth? Or was it because we felt a calling from some force within to express a message? Unfortunately, some people are seduced into becoming an “artist” because of fame and fortune. They are not aware how doomed they’ve become by restricting themselves to parameters of money, validation and fame. In the end, the freedom they sought becomes the (gold) bars of their solitary prison. If we want validation, there are easier ways to achieve that. But if we wish to engage in a daily battle with our deepest feelings and insecurities, express our repressed emotions, to turn the abstract into tangible art, then we can begin to make work that matters. Our task is arduous, and great art requires constant awareness of our motivations.

To prevent falling into this trap, we must form a vision of what we want in the long term. If it so happens that money is a primary motivation, our art (and by extension us) will suffer with the volatility of working in a art industry. Anyone who controls our paycheck will control our art, and by extension us. We don’t want this. Many of us chose the lifestyle of creating art and self-expression because we want to experience the freedom of being ourselves. Why would we give that up? Let’s not go back there. We must remember that we are creating lasting art that will live on longer than us. Eventually, we too will return to the stillness of the Earth.

“It is from stillness that all things emerge and to which all things return.” – Lao Tzu

We must teach ourselves to be comfortable with stillness. To create art that transforms a generation, we must be in a constant process of transformation within ourselves. We must seek out experiences that are new and sometimes uncomfortable so that we can create new neural pathways in our brain. And we will see new connections within our life and art as well. There’s very few good reasons to work so hard and endure many difficulties in life just to emulate someone else. We are in the process of creating a first-rate version of ourselves rather than a derivative of anyone (or anything) else. The depth of our art will depend on how deep we can go within ourselves. If we are not comfortable sitting down in silence and going deep, our work will resonate a fearful and superficial tone. We must constantly practice this skill of exploring the parts within ourselves that others fear to dive within themselves.

Most importantly, let’s make sure we are the best versions of ourselves. One of the many rewards of self-actualization will be that our art will be just as vibrant and resonant as our soul. To create unique art, we must be willing to undergo unique experiences within ourselves. You become your art.


This article was originally posted on Medium.


Jay-Ram is a former Industrial Chemist turned writer who aims to help others use deductive reason and the scientific process to gain deeper insight into people, and create deeper, meaningful relationships between his fellow humans.