Too much!

A few years back, I, along with my good old friends, went to a remote place in India. 

We spent there two nights and 3 days, and we had a wonderful time together: the place was good, the conversations were great, the food was amazing!

It was a fantastic experience.

A month after, one of our enthusiastic friends went to the same remote place again with his relatives.

He stayed in the same resort with one of his relatives and booked the same rooms in hopes that he will recreate the same experience with his relatives. 

Not surprisingly, it did not happen. 

Our enthusiastic good old friend could not enjoy his second visit to the same beautiful place!

It was designed to happen that way. 

The reason?

Comparison with the past.

Whenever we try to recreate the same memories again, we compare the present happenings with past memories. Obviously, the present and past are going to be different.

Comparison is the root cause of pain.

But we, humans, not only compare, we compare a LOT!

“Everything in excess is a poison.”

~Theodore Levitt

Except for Love. Maybe. But this post is not about Love. This is about how we often (and unknowingly) ruin things by doing them in excess.

We like Yellow Dal so much that we eat it every day. Soon after a month, we stop loving Yellow Dal.

We get fanatic about keeping our body fit and engage in too much exercise activities every day. In less than two months, we lose interest in exercise and stop doing it on a sour note. 

We like a person so much that:

  • we keep thinking about her (or him);
  • we want to spend time with her;
  • we want to keep that human happy even at the cost of our own likings and happiness! 

It is a surefire formula for creating an amazing disaster down the road!

Because most of us have seeds of scarcity mindset planted within us, we tend to maximize on even a small experience that made us happy. 

This behavior is neither intelligent nor natural.

Any object in nature does not work like that. It does not maximize. Imagine how Rose blossoms: it does not try to optimize the properties that made her beautiful and full of fragrance. 

When the Rose is at her absolute best, it receives Love from everyone. Its gardener, the lovers who consume the Rose as a vehicle to express that beautiful feeling called Love in this world, the warmest greetings that are exchanged to convey the good vibes. 

But Rose doesn’t care if none of the above happens to her. It just enjoys being the Rose. Isn’t it so?

The Rose – or any object of nature – does not try to do anything too much. Only humans do. Why?

Because humans think that they can make themselves happy through the act of maximizing by doing too much, but it never happens.

The very search for happiness implies that the chaser is not happy!

Most humans are slaves. Slaves of pleasure. And because they are not able to sustain their happiness, they tend to do “more” of what can give them such pleasures and make them happy. 

Ineffective strategy. 

Because happiness is a myth. The idea of happiness is born as a reaction to suffering. If human beings did not have sufferings, they would not seek happiness. Think for yourself!

Everyone in the world is looking for happiness … because everyone is suffering. So instead of trying to maximize the pleasure of engaging in ‘too much’ of doing certain activities, it would be more useful to seek freedom from suffering. 

Alright, so how does one get free from suffering?

Through an awareness that happiness is a momentary emotion. One cannot build a home in it. Through awareness, one naturally begins to be immune to the chase of happiness. 

And you know what, if you are not aware, know that you are sleeping without realizing that you are sleeping. You might want to do something about it! πŸ™‚

Reflections 2019

The year 2019 is about to end and like every year, I am off to a distant land where I enjoy spending my time the most – Europe.

Utpal Vaishnav (Europe Trip)

Although I visited 6 countries in 2019 thus far (2 for the first time), I have not posted about my travel experiences on any public forum, unlike previous years.

I did not make public posts to observe how it impacts me psychologically (the amount of β€˜craving’ to share what I observe/experience/learn) … and how it impacts my first and second circle of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances who regularly read, reflect, sometimes disagree and celebrate my travel experiences virtually.

Today, I am beginning my trip to Europe starting from Switzerland. It is one country I visit a few times every year. It offers the best of the Nature that I have experienced thus far and I have not felt ‘enough’ about spending time with Switzerland.

So, for the next 3 weeks, we will be in Europe again, sipping mulled wine 🍷 and reflecting on the moments of life I could generate in a (mostly) living dead πŸ’€ world.

I have no goals for this trip. I only have a hope that I will be reflecting on my past year and be aware of what mattered to me in 2019 and what β€˜theme’ I want my 2020 to have.

Observe. Create.

Then again observe. Then again create.

The observation is for being aware.

The creation is for engrossment.

~UV (20191223 15:15)

A life well engrossed is a life well lived, isn’t it so?

The year 2019 was full of diverse experiences: Intense personal experiences. Intense professional experiences. Growth in business. Growth in personal awareness. And more.

The year 2019 also included a feeling of sadness and low spirits for about a couple of weeks near the mid-year … and again recreation of my present self that leverages peace and power to its wish.

I’d like to call the year 2019 as a year of Discipline for me. Since almost the beginning of me on this earth in my present form, Discipline and I never had a romantic relationship … but my affair with Discipline started from late 2018 and now we are going steady and rock solid and I have no plan to break up with it! 😎

I began 2019 with what I call β€˜the 3D challenge’: Daring, Determination, and Discipline!

πŸ‘‰ Daring: I did not have any issues in this area; πŸ˜‡
πŸ‘‰ Determination: I was doing good in this area too;
πŸ‘‰ Discipline: I was not very good in this area. My excuse? I am more creative than many so I thought I can trade off discipline for that. Turns out it was very limiting + self-disserving thought.

  • I started this year by waking up at 5:30 am;
  • I remained consistent and now I wake up by 5 am;
  • That follows a 3km morning walk followed by 45 mins of Gym-time;
  • with military discipline;
  • and deliberate intention;
  • listening to a few insightful podcasts (Masters of Scale, The Tim Ferris Show and more).

This behavioral change instilled a sense of better meaning in my life. I recommend this habit change to anyone who wants to take charge of their life and put a dent in the universe … or not!

As the journey continued, I landed upon a MindValley Masterclass from Steven Kotler and started practicing being in the FLOW state.

Being in a FLOW state is one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It gave me the necessary kick while enjoying the present moment. I became clearer, more straight and deliberate about the things and people who matter to me or I matter to them.

When I was just getting started with being in the FLOW state, The Slight Edge from Jeff Olson made aΒ  notable impact on me. The compounding principle that I thought I knew but I really didn’t became so clear that I started seeing the compounding effect in almost anything that I pour my attention into. And it gives a great awareness + deliberation about our next actions.

While in 2019, I did not post much about my travel experiences on Facebook, I did continue experimenting with my travels and exploration in general.

While there were 3-4 domestic short trips also this year, I visited 6 different countries. Mostly these countries are repeated countries except Canada and Kuwait which I visited for the first time this year.

April 2019: Dubai πŸ‡¦πŸ‡ͺ, Kuwait πŸ‡°πŸ‡Ό
July 2019: Switzerland πŸ‡¨πŸ‡­, France πŸ‡«πŸ‡·
August 2019: Canada πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦, USA πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

There are a lot of observations and learnings and I have made several conscious notes from all these travel experiences.

The last few days of 2019 is the time to reflect on those notes and be more conscious about the theme for 2020. So I thought why don’t we spend some time at the place where I feel I belong the most and spend a few weeks there.

Stay tuned to my Facebook if you like to see/read my travelogue.

PS: This time, I might compile all my travel experiences in form of an ebook, and share it freely so you can use it to experience travel (and life) in a semi-planned way though I am not sure about it. Let's see!