Have you slept under the sky, on hard-ground or on soft grass, counting stars, tracing constellations? Do you think of them as twinkling little stars, so tiny or get humbled by the thought that you are not even a speck of dust in this wide universe? They are probably bigger than our own sun and someone in that galaxy might not even see our sun as a twinkling star, let alone our planet and the microscopic us.
As a child, every time there was an electricity outage at night, I used to get out of the house and sleep in the open, on the terrace of my house. Thoughts moved from perceiving the stars as tiny sparkles to perceiving humankind so as I grew up. Yet I fail to understand why we, human beings, even while we know that just the known universe is enough to bring upon this realisation, think of no end of ourselves? Why do we fill ourselves up with so much ego? Why do we ooze out so much pride on materialistic things? Why do we fail to acknowledge this short beautiful life and all the lovely people? Why do we not spread love and only spew hatred and jealousy? Why can’t we take jokes on ourselves. Why can’t we laugh at our misdeeds and shortcomings? Why do we take this body so seriously when we all know that it is destined to rot?
We take pride in the new house we bought; show off our expensive watches; brag about our lives to everyone; hold dear all the prized, expensive possessions; think that there is no one as loving as our spouses, no kid as smart and as cute as ours. We always try to impress everyone around us by our goods and not by a good nature. We buy stuff just because our relatives/friends have them. We have reduced our lives to comparison. We measure our success with it. Our choices like vacation travel, cars, clothes etc are made to outsmart the peer group. We envy them when we can’t achieve what they have achieved and brag when we outwit. Isn’t life peaceful when the whole comparison goes out?
“My honeymoon location has to be more exotic than my cousin’s”. “My phone has to be better than my subordinate’s”. “Now that I am at on-site I am superior than folks back home”. “I am cool because none of my friends own a Ferrari but I do”.
We don’t realise that others either might not have favourable circumstances to buy something or might choose not to buy because there isn’t a necessity. We don’t comprehend that not everyone chooses to stay away from family. We don’t understand life is not just measured monetarily. We get judgemental and hate people who don’t perceive whatever we perceive as right or wrong. We scoff at people who don’t support our favourite political party, music band or even as trivial as clothing. We don’t understand the difference between a healthy argument and arrogance. We rush about our lives not minding that we share space with fellow living things. Our manners are dying. We gossip and back-bite. We fall for flattery. We push and shove in public transports, choke the earth with our choices, corrupt kids’ minds and teach them to value the finite things more than the infinite nature and boundless love. We are getting poor, not rich.
No, I don’t mean to say that we need to give up on life, on ambitions, on goals. I just say that there is a fine line between taking pride on what one has achieved and being egoistic about it. Sure you’ve hard-earned all the feathers on your cap but so have others. Even if you can’t appreciate them at least don’t degrade their efforts. Shun the ‘I’, ‘Me’, ‘My’ and ‘Mine’. Grow your knowledge, improve your skills, perform better at work, chase your passion, win titles and awards, read more, build houses, buy jewellery, look your best, hit the gym, travel to different countries, conquer hearts but don’t take anything to your head. Work hard, strive harder, stay humble..
Dream Big and Reach for the Stars but plant your feet firmly on the ground.