To Judge or To Not Judge

In my opinion, you should not judge other people. Maintain clarity, but do not judge. See people for who they are, but do not place moral judgments on their way of being. There is some reason for the way they are.

A thief is a thief because he had some reasons. Maybe he was hungry, maybe he just likes the thrill. Whatever may be the reason, there is no need for you to judge people. Believe me, I have judged people, a lot when they didn’t agree with my way of thinking. But now I don’t. I don’t try to suppress my judgments, they are just not there when I am busy living my life.

Don’t judge other people. When you judge other people, you are bound to make those judgments on yourself. Then, you will either qualify those judgments or you won’t. If you
qualify those judgments then you will have pride, and if you don’t, you will have shame. Neither of those is helpful. Both seek to keep you in your head and away from life. Life happens in the here and now; why would you want to be away in your head having imaginary conversations with yourself. You take action, you take pleasure in that action, and then you move on, there is no need for shame or pride.

Everyone is on a very personal journey of their life, just like you. You will never completely understand another human being. You may feel him to a certain degree, possibly, a very high degree but you can’t actually get in their head. And there is no need for that.

I have recently passed a transformation period wherein the distance between me and the society was growing by leaps and bounds every day. I didn’t know who I was or what I stood for. But I did know that I couldn’t relate to the actual people in my life. I found solace in books and that didn’t help with the situation. While the books did give me some sense of belonging they pulled me away from the real world in which I was living. This is true for books that are written on enlightenment. With growing awareness and detachment, I somehow developed a distaste for people who didn’t see the world the way I did. It was all in my head though, I didn’t go about quarreling with them. I fell into the trap that many young meditators fall into when they begin their practice. They don’t have compassion for their fellow humans and they start judging them for their desires and the actions that they take for achieving those desires.

I invite you to take action to move your life in the direction that you want. Along the way, if someone genuinely asks for your help, help them, share your life with them. There is no need for you to try to convert people to your way of thinking, to your principles, just give them invitations and leave the action part to them. What I’m doing here is sharing what works for me in the hopes that lost individuals like me would stumble a little less :).

Don’t judge, live your life, share, stay here and now.

Your man
-Vik

Confidence

Confidence is not a standalone quality as many of us have been led to believe. With most people, the problem is not their diffidence but their inability to focus. They fixate on the
wrong things and then get hurt. I’ll rant about confidence in the following lines. Stick around.

Say you have to give a speech in front of a large audience. Now, if you are not an accomplished speaker, and you have done this sort of thing only a couple of times before, then you will probably be anxious. Anxiousness is not bad, it is only natural. You might start to think of everything bad that can happen. That is your defense mechanism trying to protect you from getting hurt from humiliation in front of so many people. People choke because they overthink. Their focus is on getting a positive response all the time.

An invitation.

Focus on the task at hand. Whenever you think you are suffering from low confidence remind yourself that your success always lies in your actions, not in the responses that you get. The only aspect of your life that is under your control is your actions. The reactions that you get are highly circumstantial. You don’t know what is going on with the other person at the exact moment.
Always base your success on your actions. You went up there and you spoke. You spoke despite the fear and the anxiety. You are already successful.
A reminder, when you are giving a speech don’t become completely blind to the audience. Gauge their response and tailor your speech accordingly. There is a difference here in being successful and being effective.

Back to confidence.

Confidence arises when you are focused, clear, decisive, responsible and have practiced your craft.

Focus. Keep your focus on your actions. Keep your awareness in your body. Diffidence is a disease of the mind. The more you pay attention to it, the larger it grows. Stay in your body, stay in the here and now.
Clear. You need clarity. You need to learn to look at things objectively and with the realist’s eyes. You have to see them for what they are. This includes people, their desires, your desires, your shortcomings, your strengths, the list goes on. You get the idea. Do not under any circumstance try to impose your expectations on reality. Instead, work with it. It is what it is and you will be wise to work with what is than yearn for what should have been.

Decisive. You have to take sides. I’m not asking you to stick to the same side for the rest of your life but taking sides gives you power and purpose. You are not just floating around.
Choose and be firm. I’ve talked about this before in my “Why Spartan?” post. Go have a look.

Responsible. You have to own your choices and be responsible for them. This implies that you are ready to be judged for them. You not only own the rewards of your choices but you are also ready for the punishments if any may come. Desires are desires. Do not let them run you. Do not be ashamed for any of your desires. There is no need for that. Choose, decide and let go of the ones that are not in sync with your principles and own the ones that you act on.

Practice. You can’t really be confident about a task that you have never done before. Skills require practice. Hours and hours of practicing your craft will endow you with world class levels of that specific skill.

When you have all five, then your confidence will be natural. You can have confidence without practice, but that will not be based in reality. There will be lingering doubts in your mind and you will have to be constantly on the lookout for them to keep your confidence intact. It is better to just get better with your abilities.

Be Confident, Stay Sharp.

Your man
-Vik

Your Death is Near

The fear of death is irrational.

I can understand the fear of the pain preceding death but the fear of death itself, that is foolish. Death is rest. Who fears rest? Death is bliss. It is the only constant in existence.

Maybe you think that you will have some regrets before death. I don’t. I don’t have any regrets with my life up until this point. I have made mistakes, I have been foolish. I have been diffident, I have lied, I have even shoplifted once (damn childhood ;P). This may not compare with some of you outlaws out there, but each one of us has different scales. You only have regrets because you don’t own yourself. You are running from yourself. You are running from the choices that you made in the past and what could have happened. I don’t care for what could have happened. I don’t even care for what did happen. Your life is happening here, now. No matter if you are a twenty-something like me writing a blog in your home or you are an eighty-nine-year-old man lying in his death bed. Real power is in ownership and the ability to create change in any aspect of one’s being. Real power is in the now.

Realize this. You have always made the decision which you thought best at the time. Hindsight can be brutally judgmental. I should have known better. I knew that answer. I wanted to do that initially, why did I change my choice at the last instant. The list goes on.

The point is, move on. Let bygones be bygones. All it takes is one little black hole and all the work that has been done by the greatest emperors and saints till now will vanish, just like that. Poof, gone. I’m not saying that their work is not important but that you should not be so stressed about always doing the right things, attain the highest levels of power, wealth and what not. Live real, be honest, and what is important for you will stay with you.

Back to death.

The problem with a lot of people is that they are not aware of their own death’s inevitability. They know that they will die someday but this knowing is cerebral, not existential. It is not a part of who they are. It is just another fact for them.

When you meditate on death and develop a close relationship with it, your life goes up a couple of notches. Daily grievances bother you less and less. You realize that all this could be gone in an instant. Your parents gone. Your children gone. Your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend gone. Your beliefs gone. Your creations gone. Everything will be gone for you, not for the world. The world will still go on without you, no matter how important you think you are. What remains is the eternal, dark, peaceful stillness.

Meditate on death. Buddha asked all his disciples to go and watch the burning pyres of others for months till they realized their own death and were over their fear of death. Don’t keep your death far away in the future. That is a method of avoidance. Remind yourself that you may die any instant and such is the nature of all things in existence. The essence of creation is destruction. Every creation involves the destruction of some other creation and every creation will itself be destroyed.

The acceptance of death is a very important part of stoic philosophy. If you want to know more about that, go read some great stoic philosophers such as Seneca.

Till next time.

Be Real, Know Death, Be Free.

Your man
-Vik

My Beginning With Radical Honesty

I mentioned radical honesty in my last post. I’m going to expand on it in this post. It is a principle by Brad Blanton wherein the person practicing it is absolutely honest with everyone about what he thinks and feels plus about facts of the past. The facts in the past being secrets that are weighing down on the person.

When you let go of these secrets, you let go of a part of your personality which was acting like a mind-made prison. It is a different type of freedom. It may be very hard for you, in the beginning, you may have to die (metaphorically) and be reborn when you choose to pull the band-aid. It can be very hard to come clean with loved ones. But sooner or later, you will realize that it was for the better as now the people love you (if they do) for who you really are, not for some version that you try so hard to be.

When you let go of the secrets and the identity that you are constantly trying to live up to, you release an enormous amount of energy that manifested itself as anxiousness in your behavior. Now, you will be free and you’ll also be able to use this energy for creative purposes (such as writing a blog ;P).

Right now, I’m just beginning to come clean. This actually marks my beginning. If you can’t do it all at once, begin slowly and start getting more and more real every day. You will build momentum and the confrontations that used to scare you will become less daunting. Start being honest with acquaintances, then come to your friends, then finally come to your family.

With each circle, the difficulty increases and so does the payoff. Don’t wait for the perfect moment when you muster up enough courage to be completely honest, start right now, however and to whatever degree you can, build momentum, it all adds up.

There is one more strategy I learned from another book that will help in this situation. When you have to have difficult conversations with people, visualize these conversations ahead of time. Make them as clear and realistic as you can. Make the reactions of the other persons as bad as you can, so you’re prepared for the worst. Repeat this visualization again and
again till their reactions bother you much less than they initially did. Also, don’t unnecessarily build the pressure, use momentum. Be real.

There is one last level with this radical honesty thing, but that is too much for me to explain. I recommend you read the book for that purpose. This is not a sales technique, it really is hard for me to explain and I’d rather not miscommunicate the author’s message.

This will help you in dealing with shame. Shame is a very negative emotion that holds you back, make you feel bad about yourself. You reduce your shame when you share. You will realize that facts are facts and the past doesn’t define you. You took some action that you thought right in that moment. You’re alive and so you change with time. Only the dead are consistent.

Be Real, Be Honest, Be Alive.

To your freedom. Your man

– Vik

Live Here, Now

Morals make you dead. Morals belong to the past. If you start clinging to your morals, you start rejecting life for what it is and get depressed over what it should be and isn’t. Morals create a fixed image of you that you try to live up to even though it may be detrimental to you.

The problem is that a certain way of being served you in the past and you cling to it for security and certainty. This doesn’t allow you to grow or live in the present. You are
constantly trying to be a certain person while ignoring your existence as it is or worse still struggling against it.

You can’t step in the same river twice. (Not my line, paraphrased, credits to Heraclitus)

Morals make you dead. A better alternative?

Working Principles. These are essentially morals but with a big difference, the possibility for change. While Morals are sacrosanct to you as told to you by society, working principles
are not. They change. They change when, you guessed it, they don’t work.

This is a part of being ruthless. You are ready to change any aspect of yourself if you find that it is not working, even your principles. When your principles are changeable, you become adaptable. Being adaptable is essential for survival.

You know what happened to the species that could not adapt to the changing environment during evolution? You guessed it again, they are all extinct. Adaptation is an important part of life. It allows you to live in the present.

Beware, I’m not saying that you change your principles at the drop of a hat, then you’ll be worse. But create a balance of stillness and fluidity. Don’t become blind to your senses just because your mind says so. Mind is a good slave, but a very bad master. It is there to simplify your life not to create additional stress which is what most people use it for.

Don’t cling, be like water (Bruce Lee). Change. Adapt. Live Here, Now.

A good book on this topic is Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton. Do check it out.

Your man

-Vik

On Being Cool

Being cool. Such an important topic for most of the young generation of our days. Everybody wants to be cool, to be the guy/gal that everyone looks up to. But how does one be cool.

Such an important topic for most of the young generation of our days. Everybody wants to be cool, to be the guy/gal that everyone looks up to. But how does one be cool.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t become cool by following the latest fashion trends or being in line with other popular choices regarding various aspects of your life. Those are very superficial things and if you don’t have your core handled they’ll increase your insecurities.

From a physics point of view, warm things have high energy and things have high energy when they are in rapid motion. So, cool things have lower energy and lower motion, meaning that when it comes to humans, they are more grounded.

That’s it. For being cool, you have to be grounded.

You gain energy and get scattered all over the place when you are in a constant struggle with yourself. When you are schizophrenic, you have different parts of you struggling against each other. You have certain desires and you are ashamed of those desires. It is in these moments that you have to be decisive. Either act on those desires or take a stand against them and banish them from your life without any shame. You should not choose shame as a means of banishing desires, you remove certain desires from your life because you decide that in the greater scheme of your life they will be futile or worse, detrimental.

You remove the internal struggles of your personality with acceptance. You accept your strengths as well as your weaknesses. You accept your greatest moments as well as the moments of your life for which you wish you had the memory device from Men In Black. Remember this, you are not a robot. You are a human and humans are entitled to make mistakes. That is how we learn. We experiment, get positive or negative results and then we course correct accordingly.

All of your life is basically a course correction.

You rarely get where you want to go in the first attempt. Every day, people are just making things work somehow. Don’t get me wrong, people have plans, and those plans often work, but not without some measure of adaptation.

So, back to being cool.

How do you do it?

First, do this mentally. Recognise the internal struggles, as many as you can and resolve them with your decisiveness and your ability to let go. You don’t have to explain your desires to anyone else but you do have to bear the consequences(both good and bad) whatever they may be if you choose to act on them.

Secondly and more importantly, practice Osho’s Dynamic Meditation or Elliott Hulse’s Bioenergetic routine. Whenever you seek to create changes in your life, make sure they are not just on a cerebral level, involve your body wherever you can. You don’t want to be caught up in your head where your struggles live. These practices will bring your awareness in your body and ground your energy.

There you go, my thoughts on being cool. With time, this blog will evolve and my articles will get more refined (course correction ;P). Till then, bear with me and enjoy our journey.

By the way, I also mentioned two of my mentors, Osho and Elliott Hulse. I highly recommend you check them out.

Your man

-Vik

WHY SPARTAN?

Why Spartan?

When you have the first part handled, that is, you have realised your aloneness you’ll know that you don’t have a nature than that of the observer. This leaves you empty.

I invite you to fill this emptiness intentionally. You fill this emptiness with a working philosophy that is best suited to your desires.

While the last post on aloneness was of a universal nature, this post on the Spartan philosophy is personal to me.

The main tenets of this philosophy are minimalism, ruthlessness and courage.
I’ll go over them one by one.

MINIMALISM

The world offers you so much. But not all offerings appeal to you. There are so many choices, so many roads you can take. How do you decide?

Minimalism is actually a maximisation of effectiveness. We take the few things that give us the maximum pleasure and magnify them at the expense of the things that do the opposite (or to a lesser effect).

I’m not asking you to judge your desires or be anti-materialistic. No. I want you to focus. I want you to choose.

Focus on the desires that make you feel alive, shaking in your knees. Life is too short to just get by. These desires will demand so much from you that you will automatically have to give them all your attention to make them real.

This leads to the next tenet.

RUTHLESSNESS

When you have your few desires penned down (it is better to write these down, just
to make them concrete), it is time for action.

The first thing that you have to do is be ruthless with other conflicting desires or distractions. If you have spent sufficient time thinking about your desires, visualising them and feeling the emotions that come on their realisation, you can make an informed choice amongst conflicting desires.

Once you make a decision, you stick to it. You let go of the other desires and focus on the positive feelings that will come to you when you realise your chosen desires.

You have to be ruthless in letting go and against distractions. Our world is replete with distractions. You have emails, twitter feeds, WhatsApp messages, breaking news and what not. When you are deep in the trenches taking action, you can’t afford distractions.

Be ruthless. Ruthless with the things holding you down. These things could be distractions, your friends, family or even yourself. Choose and be ruthless.

COURAGE

The last tenet of this philosophy is courage. The Spartans were known for their courage and their fearlessness. If you have the seen the movie 300, you know what I’m talking about (if you haven’t, watch it).

You have to have the courage to go after the seemingly impossible. The thing that seems to be just out of your reach or even way out of your reach. If people have done it before then so can you. If they haven’t, wouldn’t it be cool to be the first ;P.

Courage is a belief in yourself that “I’m okay, it will all be okay. Let’s do this.”

Final words

There are a lot more little things that I’ve found important to tell you. I’ll be talking about them soon.

So.

Imagine. Choose. Focus. Have Courage. Take Action. Be Ruthless.

Till next time.

Your man

-VIK