I’m a proud self-proclaimed Atheist. Budhha became one by witnessing the sufferings of people. Wanting to know the reason for pain and pleasure, he began a life long process of personal development, and then he found out what he was looking for. But I on the other hand, became a staunch atheist when God didn’t respond to my simple requests to get married to the most beautiful girl in my 9th grade class. Further on, the belief was cemented and watered by eloquent people like Kamal Hassan, Douglas Adams, Stephen Fry and the likes. But Kamal Hassan had spent time doing his own god-pursuit. He found God in every other person he met, and equated God with Love just for his own convenience, just to keep the matters simple. Whatever that was, it worked for him. And every other Atheists had their own research and reason.
But I just took all of their conclusions and based my life’s beliefs on them. Which is driving me crazy now.
Why did Pi say weird things like ‘bliss’, ‘thank you’, “let me die this very moment!” etc when the thunderstorm became frighteningly unbearable? Was he delusional? Was he hoping secretly for some kind of favors from the Gods he’d always prayed back at home? That’s what I’d do. Screw atheism, call in the last available hope when the world is about to kill you!
I think he surrendered. It clicked to me because I had previously read about one man’s opinion about the meaning of surrendering here: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2011/10/i-surrender/
Surrendering doesn’t mean to give up and maybe, hope for hope. To surrender is to realize that the situation around you, the circumstances you are in, and the whole world in general, is so much more bigger than you that you can’t control it all, you can’t even influence them ever so slightly. My mother worries all the time about me and my brother, how our future is going to be, how our wives will treat us, how software is not the right kind of job for us and so forth. Her hobby is to worry. That same way Pi was worried about the storm killing him, the tiger killing him, the food supply draining in, the frustrated attempts to live on, and not knowing what to do the next moment. Fear was clouding his thoughts ever since the wreckage happened. When the huge thunderstorm hit the sky, it was the final tipping point. He couldn’t take it any more. There’s nothing in his head and heart to keep on the fight. Too much to be afraid of that he thought dying was better. And when you stop running away from the thing that scares you the most, turn back, and not put up a fight, ready to give up and die in shame, that I think is called Surrendering.
That’s the dark side of the story. There’s a flip side to it. When you give up, you get a power boost, only most people don’t notice it. If you are intelligent enough or if you read through the rest of this post, you’ll notice it and harness it the next time your life sucks.
The power comes from the fact that you’ve just given up control over many things – fear, money, boss, society, recession, guilt, future, past, and everything else that made you to shit in your pants. And then, what’s left is just you. You are free to do whatever you want, and what you should do is whatever you can, at the moment.
Didn’t do a good job of explaining that, did I? Ok here’s another take. You are born, you take up different roles. Let’s assume that your hands were free when you started entering the stage of life. And then the God person, gives you the puppet called child. You are now playing the child of your parents. And then God gives another puppet to you, the brother puppet. You are now playing the brother of your father’s another child. And then the student puppet, where you have to get good marks to keep the puppet dancing. Then when you grow up, more puppets are shoved in your way – job, marriage, children, family, passion, society, blogging, good-will of other people, peer pressure, debt, death fear, desire, responsibility. On and on. You juggle through the strings and play the game as it is usually played. Rarely does the God person take away a puppet from you. He’s only willing to give you more, for you are his son, and that’s how he loves you!
When trouble comes around, people are afraid of losing the puppets. When you go broke would you ask your wife to go back to her parents’ house? People want to hold on all of their puppets. And when the ultimate test comes, when trouble brings up all of his relatives to visit, then people surrender by giving up ALL OF THE PUPPETS. That’s when they either commit suicide, or declare bankruptcy, or lose morale, eat more junk food, watch tv all day, or hide in the safe house called facebook.
But then you’d miss out on the power that surrendering can give you to bounce back on life.
The James Altucher and the Pi version of surrendering is, you give up most of the puppets, not all of them. You only hold on to the things that you think you can hold on strong. Your health may be. It’s in your control right? You may be eating out junk to alleviate the depression right now, but then, at the moment you realize everybody’s on you and against you, you can at least force your body to be your ally. You can exercise a little bit. Your passion, or whatever act of creation you ever liked doing – painting, or writing in a journal, or coding if you have access to it, or even sleeping. You can still do a good job of livening up these puppets. And you don’t have to do it in a depressed way. You have every reason to cheer up at this particular moment. You’ve let go of almost all the thing that you can’t influence positively. Say, “Bring it On” like a Winning Loser to those puppets. Whatever comes out of your surrendering, would hurt you for sure. But at least you face the music knowing that there’s nothing you could’ve done about it, really. Believe in that! You’re just a momentary pixel that comes into life and goes out instantaneously in the grand schem of the Universe. Leaving out all worries lightens your chest. Which makes it even more easy to focus on the things at hand. That’s called Power. It would make you create things, for instance, it would buy you the grandest of all lotteries – HAPPINES, right that moment! And then you can create good stuff for people around you too. Call it the Midas’ Touch.
Yes, it is eating my head to see that my wife is still at Madurai, and I’m unable to bring her with me, it is gnawing my heart to know that my father is struggling with his business doing a one-man show for the past 30 so years, my mother did not ever have a full body check-up, my job, of all the things, SUCKS like a… what’s the worst thing you can put in there, it sucks like that. I am doing my best in each of these puppet situations, but I can’t really control the outcome the way I desire, at least not right now. What I can control is, my health, I sprinted like a dog yesterday and sweated like a pig in the cold bangalore morning. My coding skills, screw it job-seeking meme, I don’t need a job to do what I love, I’m building a twitter-url shortener right now, and I’m loving all of it. My idea muscle, thanks to James Altucher for showing a “framework to become an idea machine”, I’m now creating all sorts of ideas daily in a small pocket spiral notebook. (James’ gurantee is that it will change one’s life dramatically, in just 6 months.) I still am an atheist (if there’s a real God, then we wouldn’t have to pray or praise him! To me, it’s just dictatorship. Or even worse, ass-kissing a really powerful Boss.), but I pray and surrender in my own way (actually James’s way) – I write a list of things/people/events I’m grateful for daily, and I imagine myself to be a SuperHero (I’m Goku of Dragon Ball Z) and look for souls that are in pain and save them from certain death!. For the past 2 days, I’m helping out a depressed cousin to better make use of his free time by learning new programming concepts.
That keeps all the suffering, pain, guilt and numbness worthwhile. It’s a slow process, and the world is moving fast and there are amazing souls who are productive as hell, who make me jealous. But then I can’t anything about it, at least by directly trying to imitate them. I can only strive to be better and creative NOW, because that’s all I have now.
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