Saturday, August 6, 2011

Today, I Thought About Gandhi

There are few people in this world that need no introduction.  Mahatma Gandhi is one of them.  There are days when I feel like I have slept too long and yet there's this "giant mush" I feel in my heart and things just don't seem to be coloured in the right hues I want them to be.
I remembered one of his famous quotes: 
"If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide."
Nah ...I love myself too much to inflict self-harm, albeit I do hold an impressive level of tolerance for physical pain, I don't believe in short cuts. It is just that I am feeling rather "off" from my rhythm and and "roughly right" in terms of my inner harmony.  
Most times when I am feeling these disconnects, I take to painting.  After a few attempts and I couldn't get the right colours I wanted, I decided to surf the net.  I chanced upon a couple of good picks.
The first one about Rowan Atkinson, ("Mr. Bean"), having been in a very recent car crash.  The chap is more than famous worldwide, he is absolutely rich.  This is his second major auto accident.   He was driving a Mclaren Formula 1.  Yeah it is one of those cheap cars that you buy for a small amount like 2 million euro.  The news said, "he is shaken, not stirred" and has walked out of the hospital with a broken shoulder bone.  Other than that, it's the car that was totally wrecked. It's funny how funny people survive situations that any one would consider a major tragedy.

Along with this find, I found yet another treasure. Most of my older followers would know that I am a self-confessed Coehlo stalker. Coehlo had posted a link on his Blog that leads his readers to "Gandhi's Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World."

Well I don't know why the world fixates itself on Top 10's. To an average, attention-deficit person like I am, I saw the list and I realized that there is absolutely no way an individual can progress to Numbers 4, 5, 6 to 10, if the person fails to master the Top 3. I would much rather talk about the first 3.

The Top 3 Fundamentals of the the Top 10 Fundamentals of Gandhi.
First: Change yourself

You think this is easy, try it! 

"You must be the change you want to see in this world." How do you really re-invent yourself?  How do you really change the way you think about things?  People are stubborn. We all are. I know I am. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." How many people do you know would admit that we all need a few fixings and tweaking here and there in terms of mindset?  How many times have you honestly accepted that you are wrong to think, feel and act that way? 

I keep trying this but I keep reverting back to my "comfort zone." Its always so much easier to hide behind the excuse, "Well that's how I believe things should be and that's that." It is so easy to do this, I change everyday but then again I am completely wrong, I guess.

Second: You are in control.
"Nobody can hurt me without my permission."
I read and re-read this.  Have I been hurting for all the wrong reasons?
This tenet so closely reminds me of Covey's 7 Basic habits of Highly Effective People.  He said, "Be proactive."  Choose what matters to you and do not attribute anyone else the "power" to influence your thoughts, emotions and reactions.
So I start my day with a mantra, "You go girl, you are totally in control!" Whilst humming and singing to my favourite tune on the car radio, some jack-ass cuts me and I curse him to high heavens.  There goes my being "in control" and I get to the rest of my drive road-raging.

Third: Forgive and let it go.
Fine, so who do I forgive if I have killed 'em all? Right, I am just kidding.
"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."
I always subscribed to the opposite of this principle.  To kick-ass and fight back takes courage, only to be told by a really wise man (albeit dead), that the ability to forgive is an indicator of strength. The inability to forgive keeps you in bondage, which arguably, is true.  I reckon the most pathetic part is being unable to forgive and the other party has completely forgotten what it was all about.  That just sucks.  
I do subscribe that negativity breeds more negativity, and wallowing in past hurts, failures and pain would never get me anywhere.
Great! My epiphany: I just need to master Number 2, so I can handle Number 3. And in order for me to be able to embrace the principle of Being in Control, I need to change Myself. 
I stopped at the Top 3. Perhaps someday, when I have the moral ascendancy to proceed to Number 4 of the Top 10 Fundamentals, I am worthy to Blog about it.


  1. Out of the 3, I have directly conquered the latter 2; self control and patience has been one of my strong suits, thought I can admit when I have lost control or lost patience; and with forgiving and letting go, too easy with me; some say I was cursed with a poor short-term memory, but I feel I have been blessed that I can easily forget what ppl have done to me and forgive and letting go. Now for the 1st fundamental, though we all change little by little, changing one-self, especially habits is harder than it sounds I do agree.

  2. You can also go with the, "Whatever, whatever, I do what I want." mantra I see on the Maury Povich show.

    I also learned from that show that when you sixteen year old son tries to beat you up: you take his ass down. Let him wake up in the hospital with EKG machines beeping. You standing over him with a beer. *pshoss* opening beer can "Well you're not going to do that again are ya?" Pour beer, "What don't complain. You going to start fighting like a man you better start drinking like one." Beat your kids or be humiliated on national TV, only two options.

    What does any of that snap shot of child beating have to do with this post? Nothing.

    Whatever, whatever, I do what I want.

  3. I liked that you put the top 3 and the first is change.

    good post

  4. Great post! I am a Paulo Coehlo stalker too so I follow you on the road.......I know I have a lot of improvements to do cause I don't master the 3 steps yet.
    But they are definitely worth the try.

  5. Wow, high expectations indeed. I think the one I really work on the most and still am is number 2. I'm learning not to let shit that doesn't matter bother me. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't.
    Forgive and let go... Easier to pretend than do I think. Sometimes I think I have accomplished, then the anger comes back. I also don't know if that is always healthy to completely forgive... does that not imply giving a second chance? I'm not big on second chances. "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

    LOL@ Uri, you forgot the Maury classic line "You don't KNOW me."

  6. my god ghandi had so much to deal with in perfection.

    and it is indeed true, if you don't laugh, you'll self destruct.

  7. thanks for the Gandhi quotes. A wise wise man. And I understand the second one is a trifle but for me I think about it and I know that if I go back to a "comfort zone" I will be returning back to the cave like in the "Allegory of the Cave Man". So I proceed to do the best I can to confront that comfort zone with the idea of my evolution past willful ignorance. again thank you <3

  8. This is really inspiring. The principles are more than challenging, they are very hard to live by.

  9. I do believe, Psycho, that Gandhi was one of the major reasons that both my parents went to India (Mom from Sweden, Dad from the States). They both got there in 1947, and he died in January 1948. His influence was one that I felt while growing up. He was regarded as a saint, even to us Christians, and to the millions of Indians of whatever religious doctrine they espoused. I may be wrong, but I think it was because he was so fully and completely human, that we can relate so well to him, even down the years. I do miss that there seems to be no one like him around these days.

  10. ---All great things to strive for...I am still evolving & utterly out-of-control many days. But I get back up and keep going. What else does one do?
    Love your posts :) xx

  11. I don't think I truly understand any of the principles. I don't understand how two people can be on the opposite side of an important issue let alone two billion. I think it's posible to compromise on many things but there are people who dont think you can. So right at the first principle Im lost. But I like the post and the ideas discussed about improving our selves and the world we livein :)

  12. Dear friends, it is true what Drachma said, the world seemed to have stopped churning "greatness" like Gandhi in our generation and probably the next. His wisdom and humanity transcends borders and beliefs. They are timeless and invaluable. I just listed the Top 3 because they are the toughest. And yes Alex, the first principle is about change, and change is within the self. The "power to become" is intrinsic in all of us, if it were that easy, the world would really be a better place.

    Dear River, no, I don't think Gandhi espouses distinction and differences. On the contrary, he believes that we should build on our common goodness as man, instead of focusing on what is wrong or faulty. People cab be totally in opposite directions but it is impossible not to find a common ground that can be built on. It is not compromising if you fully understand and embrace that you different.

  13. Great post! I am currently struggling with the 3rd fundamental - forgiveness is not always easy to give.
    I am happy that I am following your blog now - you are a very talented writer. :)

  14. Thank you Kevin, I am glad there's two of us enjoying my writing. =)
    I see you sometimes in TCS, and I hope we can interact some more through our Blogs. Cheers!

  15. From a personal point of view, #1 is ... not so much easy as do-able if you allow yourself small step by step goals and never ever reprimand yourself if you don't get it right. It also becomes easier if you employ the right tools (meditation, correct affirmations, for me yoga works as well, etc) and embrace who you really are and who you are willing to become but aren't yet. But it remains a process and you might never get to the 100% and that's ok too. I am sure not even Ghandi was there yet.

    I struggle to forgive. Oh, I forget. Or at least my conscious mind does. And then, months or years later something happens and it tells me that I might have though it was done and dusted, but my actions are still governed by it.

    #2 comes and goes, really.

    THanks so much for this post. He reminded us how wonderful we are, but also how much we still have to work on. And isn't it good to know that we CAN work on those things? That life is not jsut about the daily grind, but also about yourself and your growth...?


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