The essence of life lies in discovering the truth within and finding your inner anchor, but the journey doesn’t end there. It is often said that ‘man is a social animal’, which indicates the importance of social interaction in our life. The idea is not to disconnect with the world but be in the midst of it and still be connected to your core and find the balance that can add to your progress in every aspect of life. These lines by Swami Vivekananda truly capture the essence of this thought:
“The ideal man is he who, in the midst of the greatest silence and solitude, finds the intensest activity, and in the midst of the intensest activity finds the silence and solitude of the desert.”
One should not renounce the world but be an active part of the world and function from the truest part of his being and make this world a better place to live in. Here I would like to discuss a few things that may help you to connect with the world in a better way.
Knowing yourself a little better
Always start from the self. Self-discovery is a never ending process. Getting to know yourself and understanding your thoughts and actions gives clarity about your life and also plays an important role in how one perceives the world around. A real understanding of one’s own thoughts and emotions helps in understanding others as well. When you develop the clarity and ability to understand how your mind thinks and interprets, and influences the emotional quality of your interactions with others, it helps you to be empathetic towards others with an increased ability to know them better, as then you can see others for who they are and not what you want them to be and this can only happen when you are confident of who you are. Self-awareness cultivates confidence and opens up many new possibilities in life.
Develop the Art of Listening
Communication is a key component of our every day interaction with the world and one should realize that it’s a two-way process. Whenever you engage in a conversation with another individual, present your thoughts with clarity and give the other person an equal chance to express. Listening is an art which when put to use in its true sense renders the maximum benefit. Always listen carefully what the other person has to say, quiet the criticizing and judgmental voice in your head and make a genuine effort to understand rather than having your own interpretation of it. A lot of times interpretations and conclusions are biased by our perception, which may not have much to do with reality. It is through the lens of assumptions that we interpret things and assumptions are detrimental to any form of communication.
Recognize the intention
When you are on a journey of constant self–discoveries, you have a heightened sense of awareness and you can trace the path of your thoughts. It’s like peeling the layers of the onion; the more you peel the more you get closer to the core. Constant practice of being aware helps you go beyond words and actions. Whatever someone says or does is always a byproduct of a thought, a manifestation of an idea. Try to deepen your understanding and do not restrict your response to the action, rather, try and see what made that person do or say so and slowly and gradually, with time, you will realize and stop reacting impulsively and that will also help you accept people for who they are.
Living in the NOW
Give yourself time. Every day is a new day which brings in new possibilities. No two individuals are the same. Even the same individual reacts in the same situation differently at times. As part of the evolutionary process, we, as individuals, grow with time. It’s important to understand this progression and not stick to one point in life. Comparison is a strict no no, recognize your uniqueness and work on enhancing that rather than comparing yourself with the qualities of others. Never see yourself in relation to others. Always trace your own journey, with time people evolve, they grow out of their past and step into their present with an aspiration towards their future. Acceptance of what is now and letting go of the past is of utmost importance and helps you in understanding your relation with the world and being aware of what works for you and helps you in the present and what you can do to enhance it further makes you better equipped in your interactions with others. Letting go of past inhibitions and fears gives a lot of clarity and freedom to look at your life and helps you to give your best in whatever you do.
Be it your conversation with yourself or with others around, openness and receptivity are very essential. Give yourself a chance to grow. Be open to new experiences and ideas. Always be on a lookout for new ideas and ways to do things. Don’t forget to appreciate what you have, progress on your search with a contentment streak so that it helps you enjoy what you have and also motivates you to go beyond.
Life is a journey of constant discoveries, all you need to do is have a calm heart and an open mind to love and accept whatever comes your way. Enjoy the ride.