Polar Opposites

Intellectually we understand that every thing is a pair of opposites – life and death, inside and outside, matter and anti-matter, hot and cold, pain and pleasure. Religion screams -learn to treat both the opposites with the same equanimity. Wise men explain how you cannot have one without the other. Yet human we remain eternally lost in trying to find balance amidst these polar opposites. Well, I just realised there is no single point of balance one can achieve and declare ‘arrived’ to the world. It is a life long play, moment after moment, trying to find that equanimity. Unfortunately, many of us are looking for it at the wrong place.

Imagine you have not been sleeping too well at night lately. So you decide to take the next day off to sleep during the day. Now sleep eludes you – both at night and at day because your body is not ready to succumb to the slumber of sleep. You go on trying, rest more, try to sleep in the early hours, in the mid afternoon. Sleep will go on eluding you. On the contrary, imagine as sleep has been eluding you at nights, you decide to go for a walk, flex those muscles, expend some energy, push your body – it will actually help you sleep better. Trying to sleep more when sleep eludes you is not the solution. Exercising, may be even to the point of exhaustion, will make you sleep like a baby.

Imagine you have not learnt to train your mind yet. There is an issue that keeps running in your mind with too many scenarios. Looks like your efficiency has dropped. Pushing yourself to think more, understand the situation more, grind the options available – none of these will get you a solution. Its time for a swim, a walk in the park, some music or painting, a few moments of silence – that will surely clear the mind of its clutter.

The relationship is in trouble. Too much is happening too fast. You believe it is time to sit down and bash it out. How ever much you communicate, you cannot make the other look through your eyes! They can grow only at their pace. You begin to crowd the individual. Try to have more time together. Push them to do things your way. Everything will back fire. It is time for a little polar opposite of the togetherness you cherish – give them some space!

You have been training for that competition. You believe you are ready yet there are so many you think can do better than you. Months and weeks of practice. Intense training and skill development. But if you exhaust yourself before the show begins, you cannot give your best. The time before the finals, is the time to internalise all the learnings and not cram more information, methodology or practice into your system. You need a time out.

Well, there are some areas that seem apparent – you want more money to spend? Earn it! You want more space in your room? Remove the clutter. You want more time? Finish the work. You want to spend less energy doing something? Become more efficient! Life is too chaotic? Bring in order. Life is too mechanical? Do something for the first time! The solution is always in the polar opposite.

A family is not just a bunch of individuals living under a common roof. It is not even about sharing meals or praying together. A great family is one made of very strong individuals – individuals who are so capable of being independent, decisive, loving and accountable. From the outside it may seem like a family of very strong willed people. We may even conclude that they must be having too much power play and dominance at home. But actually it can be the family’s biggest advantage for only when you value and respect your own decision do you even understand the value and respect for another’s role in the scheme of things.

The hierarchy of one individual being the decision maker and the rest of the family being followers no longer works. If each individual is a decision maker, for the sake of every other person in the family who will be affected by every person’s decision, each individual must be taught to be a contributor. Enough we have built a world of followers. Even if the decisions turn out bad, it still is crucial to let them become decision makers. And stick together to come out of it together.

A great family is made of strong individuals. Rest should only follow work. Spending can come only after earning. And so fear of death can go only when you no longer fear life! Take it head on! Live life with freedom – not the shallow freedom of demanding acceptance from society for the irrelevant. But freedom to stand by yourself, stand for yourself, believe in yourself – the freedom to just be yourself. The world will accept you only when you totally accept yourself. You can look your creator in the eye only when you have learnt to truly look at your inner self.

Written by Gita Krishna Raj  |  Published in infinithoughts in December 2015

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