Let The Nature In Us Be

RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR

It is rightly said that objects imitate life at the material level. In addition, they fulfil a psychological need. This prompts us to reorganise ourselves with good things in our wardrobe, or new shelves, too. It is, therefore, not surprising that one may opt for an expensive mobile phone as a substitute for their own inadequacies when they don’t seem to be doing as well as they would want to in their career.

One can’t blame oneself for their own misgivings. Well, the dilemma is simple — we don’t think about the natural ‘ladder’ of our needs. We are busy looking at riches and luxuries of life, not friendship, freedom and thought. This makes us vulnerable — which is why commercial enterprises ‘play’ with the hierarchy of our needs and prop up a material vision of the good, while ‘underplaying’ things that we actually need to be happy, or contended.

Materialistic riches do not reduce the apprehensions of our soul. They do not lead to extraordinary happiness. This holds good for the requirements of our body, mind, and spirit, no less. What we need are ‘normal’ things to drive away pain, for instance — and, in so doing, multiply the simple pleasures of life. The delight of inexpensive things, like walking in a flower-filled garden, smelling the eternal freshness of a meadow, or watching a riveting sunset over the horizon.

Nature never seeks anything more gratifying than its several simple pleasures. We just do the opposite. Most of us grumble that there’s always something that we don’t have — something that the other person has. It doesn’t matter when our living room does not glitter with silver, or gleam with rosewood furniture, or marbled grandeur. Picture this. When we look at nature, we feel we are energised, because nature welcomes you, me, and everyone, without expectation. It allows you to stretch on grass, or relax under the shade of a tree. There’s also no invoice attached for the pleasure you derived in feeling refreshed.

There are emotions packed in everything we do — even when we count the stars. Emotions are critical for effective thought — for making wise, not ‘expensive,’ decisions and allowing ourselves to think clearly. The power of our emotions has the ability to hold our attention — especially with facts that are essential for completing a given task, or problem. This helps in a host of ways — the type of house you wish to buy, or sorting out things at the workplace.

There are circuits in the brain that signal our emotions. They have the capacity to meddle with the type of attention you require to take the right decision. To buy a new dress, which you may not use — or, watch a comedy show on TV. Or, listen to soulful melodies. Remember — when you and I are emotionally upset, we quickly say, “I just can’t think straight.” Is there a way out? Yes, there is. The next time you think, make sure to bring about a balance between your mind and your heart. To hold the ideal of reason, along with the pull of your feelings. To understand what it really means to use your emotions, also logic, intelligently.

All of us go through 30-35 little heart ‘hassles’ each day — you may call them ‘annoying, irksome, stressful’ — the ‘mini-chaos’ of our existence. If you don’t attend to such ‘alarm’ signals of your heart, as it were, you’ve asked for trouble. It’s always best to sit down, relax, meditate, and listen to the ‘warning’ beats of your heart. When you unwind, and let go of your anxieties, or angst, at regular intervals, you’ll avoid a latent storm waiting to wobble your heart and, perhaps, your overall health.

This isn’t, of course, as easy as it sounds. Because, the nature of our emotions is sometimes twisted — thanks to sudden emotional upsurges that surprise our brain’s best prepared plans. Remember, such ‘prompts’ which reside in your shirt pocket, may provoke your heart to ‘jump-start’ with a fit of heightened, frenzied gusto — without prior notice.

You cannot outsmart such a latent ‘trigger-switch’ by using your judicious brain, or mind. When you plan your move, the slippery customer gets more adept and speedy than your intent. It’s here that some of nature’s most basic tools work best. They tell you to go along with the prankster, although you may have no clue as to what it is — by sharing a joke, or hearty laugh, even at your own expense. This may also emerge in the form of life’s simplest pleasures — a smiling child, a beautiful flower, or water wending its way through the rocky crags, a lovely sunset, or soft, enchanting melodies of soulful music.

You’d do well to keep cool too — not be over-smart. Remember, it is always useful to play the waiting game — because, the wily trickster has a liking to ‘settling scores.’ It’s appropriate too to get the better of its crafty aims by being friendly to its memorandum — “Okay, I accept that the truth in me isn’t always beautiful, or alluring.”

But, don’t you misjudge the ‘con artist,’ again — because it’s often one better than what you may think. It may be partially stupid, partially logical, partly human and partly divine too. It’d visit you impromptu, anytime, during an important meeting too, when you spill sauce on your boss’s suit. Likewise, it may remind you that life is not a feast, or spectacle — it’s something that needs to be fully experienced rather than being just led, or dictated, by situations, or circumstances. Put simply, the prankster is like that street car named desire — it’s meant to beep, or honk, for your attention, and help you slow down when you’re going crazy.

We all need such tricky messengers. They are life’s small, big reminders — to holding aloft the great gift of being vibrantly alive.

— First published in The Himalayan Times, Nepal