I have been a voracious reader and despite the list of things to do, I try to take out time to read. My preference has always been the dreamy world of romance novels, where everything is about love and eventually all is well. Lately I have also dug into some self-help and motivational books (the transition to mid life I guess).
A few months back, a dear friend suggested the name of an author called Priya Kumar, along with two of her books which had been read and liked by him. The names of the books made me assume they too belonged to the genre of romance and without much thought about it, I ordered for the books.
Once the books arrived and I read their blurbs, I realized they were far from romance. They were books rooted in philosophy, which were supposed to help us dig deeper and understand our perceptions, our reactions and thereby our lives.
Individual perceptions about life and the purpose of it
For a person who believes that we are all a means to a purpose, these books were thought provoking and they made me introspect. They made me question the fact if there really was a purpose of our lives or was it just about getting on with the routine actions of our lives. The introspection, the confusion and the skepticism of it all made me discuss this with a few of my best friends. Why friends and not family; because I have had the privilege of following my heart as far as my own self is concerned, as long as it’s not a hindrance to anyone else. So nobody in my family would have debated with me on this. It was a simple understanding that if I felt right about it, I could go on with it as long as I was not doing anything that would hamper my own wellbeing. But I was looking for answers, not just an agreement. I was surprised, albeit not discouraged to note that ‘purpose in life’ seemed like quite an alien concept.
My friends seemed to believe that living one’s life in a way one loves with its share of fun and struggle, doing what is one is supposed to do for one’s family and closest friends, is good enough.
However, I begged to differ. My question was what am I doing differently, how am I giving back to the society or humanity and making a difference in someone’s life. Their answer to that was why do we need to? I couldn’t make them see my point and I gave up. I have observed this a lot about myself that when I ask someone for an opinion, I do so expecting them to say what I want to hear. When they don’t do so I go about finding reasons to defend my stand. This is what happened again and I realized that my ideologies are my own. If I feel that I need to make a difference in someone’s life I shouldn’t expect anybody else to believe the same.
What’s the Big Deal?
My belief is captured in the musing above and thankfully in spite of my best friends trying to make me ‘see sense and just chill’, I continue to believe that maybe we all do have a purpose in our lives. Simply put, my presence ought to add some (even if it is a menial one) value to at least someone, if not many apart from my loved ones.
The legacy of wealth and material possessions that one many leave behind is perishable with time, but reforms or good deeds are everlasting. Isn’t it so? How many times have we been encouraged to do something we want to by someone? Thanks to that one moment, we stood to benefit a lot in our entire life. This person was probably just a colleague. He didn’t offer wealth or anything materialistic, but what he offered was invaluable. That kind of sharing is what I would rather strive for.
Each one on his own, so one’s perception may not necessarily be acceptable to all but there is never any harm trying. If it doesn’t anything good it wouldn’t be harmful either.
Thank you Priya Kumar for strengthening my belief further.