A close friend once said in a casual conversation – in one of her rather low moments – “In the movie of life, I feel like an extra”. That one simple sentence resonated with so many people on my Facebook page when I put it there, that it truly surprised me. It was not only the cry of her heart, but mine as well, and as I learnt it was of many others. Some openly and publicly acknowledged it, while I am sure many more others quietly nodded in their minds. It doesn’t matter how accomplished we are. It doesn’t matter how great our pretense of distinctions and great work we are doing, the fact is that we always seem “less than perfect” in our own way. And when we say “perfect’ its not some benchmark outside, but what we think we can do even by our own standards.
When Tansen was on his deathbed, a legend about him goes, he was asked if there was anything that he thought he could do more that he hadn’t until then. He eagerly said, “Yes, perfect Raag Bhairavi a bit more”. Tansen was the creator of this decidedly the most popular Raag in the history of Indian Classical music!
There is something in us that “knows” its capability. Whatever height or perfection we may get to. It keeps pushing on. Can we ever be happy with our selves? For us beings, who constantly live in the world of comparisons, it seems almost impossible for us to just perform at our peak and be happy about it – but that is really how it works. At the “peak of our being”, probably that urge to expand and perfect satiates a bit.
And this living at the peak cannot be uni-dimensional. It has to be multi-dimensional. No matter what area you are in, you can do it to the best of your ability. Most people choose their areas of capabilities and abandon others. Focus of expertise is fine if we are living to beat the world in some way, but if we are trying to live our lives, then our being will find expression in many areas. Everybody has the ability to be a Leonardo da Vinci. They just don’t open up their possibilities.
Try to remember when you were the happiest in life? It was probably when you were at your best in every field you put your hand in. For me, that time was during my post graduation course, during our college festival. I was participating in many competitions – Quizzes, Posters, Painting, Power-lifting, Races and winning in most of them. I used to sleep at 4 am and get up in time to be in the class at 8 am. It was a tough couple of weeks, but it was a time when I was at my peak.
As life progresses, due to various pressures and limitations, one stops living in that mode. As more responsibilities come up and more dimensions of life open up, one stops in some dimensions of life and keep functioning in others – mostly job and raising family. But is that the only way to work? Can we explore our creativity to the fullest and work with that dimension and create some art? Or write a book? Or poems? Or just keep our garden really well? There are many ways to express ourselves and so many dimensions of ourselves. Do we really explore all of them?
When we are close to our death, and look back. What is it that we will mostly see? That we met so many people in our lives – hundreds of thousands, achieved so much of wealth, earned a name and a fortune. But we didn’t get the time nor the open-ness to meet “ourselves” fully! We never knew ourselves. We didn’t know till the end, what we were capable of.. our desires in their completeness, bluntness, and their goodness or badness (whatever way). We didn’t know what every change of hour could bring forth in our hearts and creative souls.
We just passed the lives without meeting just one person – ourself. What could be worse than that? In the coming years, I truly want to meet “myself” in its completeness – the good, the creative, the bad and the ugly.