Be BRAVE. Go SEEK.

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. – Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

A wise man once told me:

It is not what you know that will kill you.
It is not what you don’t know that will kill you.
It is what you don’t know that you don’t know….that is what will kill you.

He told me to seek the unseen.

Seeking the unseen is nothing fancy.
It is kind of like looking in the blind spot when you are driving.

Let us talk some neuroscience.

Use it or lose it…is very true for our brain and beliefs it holds.

Over adolescence there is a pruning back of the brain connections. The brain decides which connections are important to keep, and which can be let go. Scientists call this process synaptic pruning, and speculate that the brain decides which neural links to keep based on how frequently they are used.

Not just that. We start losing neurons (brain cells) almost immediately after birth with very few neurons ever forming during our post-birth lives. It’s an important part of healthy brain function.

Got that context?

Now, let us assume that we don’t use the reasoning side of our brain.
Let us assume we accept what the main stream media is feeding us or we accept what is popular belief amongst our friends and family.
Then, eventually we lose it.

We lose the ability to see the unseen.
What is worser than losing the ability to see the unseen is that, eventually, we even lose the ability to recognize the need to seek the unseen.

It is so much easier to believe the popular belief.
Because, it is very hard to be the ONE voice of dissonance in a group.
It is very hard to be brave enough to rise up and call out the unseen.

Remember, for as long as humanity as lived, the one who called out the unseen has been persecuted.
So, even if you have a semblance of doubt about the unseen, we are wired to be a sheep, say blah and follow the crowd.

Like I always say, don’t take my word for this.
After all, I am not a neuro scientist.
I am only an aspiring neuro scientist who has been pouring over brain research for the last decade.
I am only a fan of the brain and all it sheer beauty.

So, read articles like these: WHY FACTS DON’T CHANGE OUR MINDS

Put to use the most precious think that nature bestowed you – BRAIN.

Don’t succumb to status quo beliefs or fear based on politics or who is ruling or who has the power or who can control over your future.

You have made it so far over the hills and valleys?
Haven’t you?
Like me, you have survived and lived to tell the story.

It is a beautiful world.
It TRULY is.

You make YOUR world.
You.
Not somebody else who has the power.
Not somebody else who is ruling the country.

Do you hear me?
It is YOU.

So.

Think.
Think for yourself.
Be open to hearing views that are completely different from yours. Trust me. You’ll be surprised with what you learn and your life experience will be so much richer.

Be BRAVE. Go SEEK.

5 LIFE Changing Poems YOU Should Read

IF 

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;

If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)

The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Desiderata (Latin: “desired things”)

By Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Our Deepest Fear

By Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Bag of Tools

By R. Lee Sharpe

Isn’t it strange how princes and kings,
and clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
and common people, like you and me,
are builders for eternity?

Each is given a list of rules;
a shapeless mass; a bag of tools.
And each must fashion, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block, or a Stepping-Stone.

Hat tip to my friend Dr. Mani who introduced me to the last 2 poems.

Featured Photo: Ramunas Geciauskas (Creative Commons)

The Smell of the Ground

Today, my thoughts are about “munn vasanai” (In English: the smell of the ground)

Home.

What does the word mean to you?
Is it a place? A house…..4 walls….nice roof? A mountain perhaps? A country? A town? A sweetheart’s arms?

Home.
Is it a thing? Is it a feeling?
What is it?
What does home mean to you?

Home.
Not house.
Home.

It means so many things to me. I have moved so much…that the material world meaning of house doesn’t mean anything to me anymore.

I still remember Thatha’s house. His fields. The tamarind tree in the back. The swing on the tamarind tree.

I still remember Appa and Amma’s house. My favorite spot there to hangout….where I spent 1000 hours of reading, studying, chatting with Amma or Appa. My favorite spot there to eat.

I still remember my dorm rooms. Filled with cheer and fun. Filled with so much studying.

I still remember the first apartment that Kumar and I were together in as a couple.

I still remember the first house that we moved into. All the lil things. All the plants we planted. The house that the boys were born in.

I still remember all my friend’s places where I felt like I home.

I still remember all that. Yet, I don’t.
Those “homes” have passed me by.

There is a term called “munn vasanai” in Tamil. It literally means, the “smell of the ground”. Figuratively, it means a place that you remember and cherish. As the first rain drops fall, the ground gives out a fragrance. That is “munn vasanai”.

Today, as it rains, here is Austin, I can smell the same “munn vasanai” of Thatha’s fields. I can smell the backyard in Appa and Amma’s house.

I think, home is where you are.
The rest of the mumbo jumbo about home is just biochemicals in your brain.

I am home. I am happy wherever I am.

I hope you are home and happy wherever you are too.

The Mindset to Enjoy the Little Things in Life

When I was very young, Thatha (Granpda TVS) told me that if a man is free of 3 greeds, he can live a happy live:

  1. poon (love for gold – also means love for money and other good things in life)
  2. pen (lust for a woman or man, in the case of a woman)
  3. maan (greed for land)

He told me that if I live a greed-less life…then, I’ll have the time and mindset to enjoy the things that life actually has to offer.

Lil things…like the intricate and delicate cobweb on a tree, a ray of sunlight, the laughter of a child….or the beautiful blue skies.

As the days pass me by, my adoration for Thatha steadily increases.

He was such a wise old man. I bet your Grandpa was a wise old man too.

I know he is watching me from those beautiful blue skies and saying “Atta Girl!”