Dear machine – please fulfill these desires of mine …

Though we may be doing things, its God who does those things through us. Why? Because He/She simply loves to play. That is called Leela. As long as we have good health, we can do all those things which matter to us. No matter what, the world around us operating on scientific principles keeps chugging on. Gravity, electromagnetic energy, weak nuclear force and strong nuclear force – these are the basis on which the world around us is built. Our understanding of these energies have led us to inventions based on electricity, magnetism, nuclear energy and so forth. From climate change to clean energy fuels – the myriad of options we have are awaiting to be explored. That is the basic difference between a human being and an animal. We are a discontented lot. We want more and more. We crave for variety. The pinnacle of all experiences. The highest of the highs. And even if we reach the summit, we want to go further.

So why don’t we stop? The short and simple answer – Desires. We have many. But most of these are short lived. We drive the car of our dreams – next moment – the vanity fades away. Say, we buy a house, start living in it and after some time the whole dream becomes mundane. Now, we want a bigger and better house. Most of our materialistic desires are such that they don’t give us lasting happiness. Still we chase them relentlessly, not knowing that, in this short life span, there is a limit to what we can do and have. Desires are good – they trigger action. However, the attachment to desires is bad. Makes us do things that we don’t want to do. We may walk an abstruse path to reach our goal, not knowing that the karma that binds us may fire against us. We have control over our actions, but results are not in our hands. If things don’t happen the way we want, we have to accept life as it blossoms in front of us. Understanding this basic truth is the first step towards happiness.

So, how can machines help us fulfil our desires? Machines are already augmenting us by being our extension. Take Google search for example. It’s an artificial fact finder for our brain. Most of the queries that we have are easily answered by these search engines. Knowledge has already become passé. Our next quest is to mine intelligence from these programs. Already, we find some minimal form of intelligence in things like chatbots, robots etc. The world is moving towards a new normal where any machine will have some sort of intelligence layer to communicate with its external world. This is the world of AI. We will no longer have to spot the pattern. The machine will do it for us. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is supposed to exceed the intelligence of a human, in the near future. There are some 20 billion devices already attached to the internet. Some dumb and some smart. We will see a massive deluge of data coming from everywhere. This data needs to be harnessed by analytic tools, which are also available.

What does this have to do with our desires? Well, for one thing machines can shorten the path between us and our desires. Take for example that you are looking forward to a fun trip. Before you go there, machines will be able to give you an experience of that place through virtual reality. If you like it, it can book your tickets, inform those who need to know and set you up. In the future, you won’t need to know the language of the destination country. There will be a translator inside your phone. The more we use the machines, the more we begin to trust them. In fact, they will enter all areas of our life making our life simpler. So, we can relax and take that much needed vacation. However, we must acknowledge the fact that machines also break down. So, an occasional health check is necessary. Also, please understand that the bad guys will try to break in. We must have ways to avoid that. There is no such thing as a sure thing. But it will be better. Much better than how we live today. Man’s best friend in the future will be a machine, not a dog.

Keep Walking …

As every day passes, we are walking towards our grave. Well, this is not a good opening line, but has a dash of truth in it. Despite the short time that we have on this planet, we seem to be embroiled in petty things. There should be no place for anger, hate, fear etc. But still we are carrying them in varying proportions. Some people talk of positive outlook. This is just a hyped up formula for being happy. However, what we tend to forget is that wounds in the subconscious take a lot of time to heal. Although we may manage a smile on our face every day, the real question is ‘Are we happy?’. Deep Inside … We tend to enrol in self-help courses, practice meditation and other things to make us feel super. Still, we are not getting what we want, really. And what is that ? Most of the people do not have a clue as to what they want out of life. A bigger home, a better relation and the list of desires keep going on.

So, why is happiness so evading and we have to settle for the second or the third best option ? The earlier we figure out this, the better will be our lives. So, here’s the deal. What you call happiness is nothing but a state of mind. We can call it as our attitude towards life. This simply means that we are just participants of our co-created life. When we want to control things, we run into a brick wall. The only reason that we are unhappy is the fact that things are not happening the way we want them to happen. The moment we accept things as they are, we let go of a huge baggage that we are carrying. We have to learn life as it happens to us and accept it fully. Remember we have a right to work but not to its results. If the work is done well, the rewards will also be forthcoming. However, there is no guarantee.

The moment we accept change fully and move along with time, we become free. As far as the baggage of bad experiences, is concerned, we can toss it off, if we want to. To be completely happy we have to know ourselves. The God given gifts that we possess and our weak points. Amplify the positive and deplete the negative. In fact, that is life. The more we do things that we love, the more will be our harmony. Be compassionate. Know that the other person also has a story to tell. Don’t have to think too much. Keep doing. Have a solution mindset and not a problem mindset. The most important attitude that you carry must be that of a learner. We are all disciples of nature. Ask her and you will be given. Believe in yours self. The day you get to know who you are is the day you know God, and there is no bigger knowledge than that.

Another point: Be humble. In the years that has swept by, we all collect experiences. In fact we judge others through this glass, at times. What we have gathered is 0.000000000001% of what is out there. There is a whole world of truth awaiting to be discovered. The hand that nature dealt to you is not without a reason. You have been born with a purpose. In fact, your mission is to uncover this mystery and then start living it. In our workplaces, we find that well being of people is ranked below in the chart. Not knowing that a happy employee is a productive employee. Our right to freedom is not a given in many places in the world. However, if we have courage, we can get though life, however difficult it may seem. And if we hit the grave with the music still in us, it’s a pity. So keep walking !

From Ignorance to Bliss

Are we all part of a big complex computer game ? This game is called life and God is playing it. We are all actors in the game and we come across various other actors in the game. We choose to take decisions at different parts of this game and what happens is that the game moves on. As we play more and more of this game, we start to become knowledgeable about it. So much so that we start believing that we are the ones who are playing the game. All the decisions that we take seem to emanate from us. We seem to be in perfect control. But knowingly or unknowingly, the controller of the game is not us, but God. We are just tools. God is playing this game through us. To experience Him/Herself.

Whether it’s a speech to be orated or a project to be completed, we take great pride when the task is fulfilled. Not knowing that it’s God who completed the task through us. Whatever talent we have or abilities that we have developed is because of His/Her power. Simply speaking, we don’t own anything, we are just custodians. Everything in the universe belongs to God. Whether it’s a million dollar bank account or the apple that we ate yesterday. When we were born, did we arrive with anything that is ours, except this body ? Think about it. This whole world is His/Her creation, including this accumulated stuff called the body. When we die, can we take anything with us ? Not even a needle. That’s the materialistic view of life.

Now, we are not our body or mind or anything else. We are God’s progenies. Which means that we are part of him. Since God is pure energy, we are also energy. This energy is manifested as the Universe that we perceive. There are 2 aspects to it – the gross and the subtle. The gross is the materialistic universe that we see. The subtle is the spirit. The subtle energy pervades everywhere. Thus, we are not just a part of the universe – we are the universe ourselves. Like Rumi says, we are not a drop in the ocean, but the ocean itself. Now this energy referred to as Spirit is our consciousness or awareness. We are a part of not just this grand universe but every sub atomic particle that is there.

But how come we don’t experience this ? The reason is that we limit ourselves and believe that our sense organs (which are imperfect) are perfect tools for experiencing what is around us. We create our own worlds and believe that we are right. The point I’m trying to make is that there is a much bigger ‘You’ that is trapped within these layers of beliefs. To wake up to this reality, we need to perceive God as he is – 100% pure energy. The first step towards that is to realize that we are not this body or mind. Once we transcend these limitations, we will see that everything around us is nothing but an extension of ourselves. We see ourselves everywhere and we see the outside within us. This is called Sankhya and this is our initiation towards the ultimate.

From Sankhya, we proceed to Karma (Selfless action), Bhakti (pure devotion) and Jnana (true knowledge). Finally when we can perceive God as He/She is, that is the highest knowledge that is there. Many people have attained this state. It’s within our reach, just that we should be willing to experience it. From ignorance to bliss – yes, that’s our journey !

The 3 questions of life that you need to ask yourself

There are 3 questions you should ask yourself every now and then.

Are you having fun ?

Are you with people you like ?

Are you doing a service to others ?

 

If you are not having fun, it ain’t worth it. Don’t do things that make you unhappy or irritated. Whatever it is, that you do, ensure that you are having fun doing it. Choose that which makes you happy. If you are in a job which is menial or uninspiring, don’t do it. Instead, do that which makes you smile. Do that which brings the best out of you. Know what you are good at. Then keep doing that often. Your life will move towards whatever you pay attention to. Say you are a righthander, use that hand as much as possible. When you wake up in the morning, do you feel that you are ready to take on life or feel like some burden that you have to tread through? Do you feel radiance or heaviness when you wake up in the morning ? To sum it up, do things you love.

The second rule of happiness is that you should surround yourself with people you like. Those who undermine you or negate your actions are not your real friends. Good friends don’t pull you down. They are by your side, no matter what you may be going through. They inspire you and sometimes guide you through the maze of life. If you are having a rough ride, they are there to make it easier for you. During good times, they cheer you and lift your spirits up. Sometimes you are down and at times they are. The only way of having a good friend is to be one. Share your experiences, make your feelings known and be grateful for having good people in your life. Weed out negative people who surround you and just be with the true ones.

When you do something ask yourself why you are doing it. Whatever you do, somebody on the planet is going to get affected by it. So you do for others. Realize this and do a good job. You may touch 1 person or 1000. The fact of the matter is, what you do, makes a difference. Realize that this is a service to mankind. So, you gotta give it all you got. In giving, you receive. This is a universal law. The more you give, the happier you feel. Your desires start getting fulfilled as you give more. Now, take it to the next level. Do not keep any expectations. Do the job just for the fun of it. If have transcended the results, you have become a karma yogi. Life does not happen the way we want it to happen. So have patience. Accept what comes to you and be thankful for it.

You are a graceful being. Your smile is the most infectious thing in the world. So, spread it wherever you go. Be happy always. God Bless !

Truth and nothing but the truth

Let truth be told – it cannot. You can never tell the truth. It’s something to be experienced. When we feel happy, we are experiencing it. When we feel miserable, we are experiencing the opposite of truth. Is there an opposite for truth? Actually, no. The miserable feeling is a gradation of truth. Let me explain that. Take a ruler – it starts at 0 and moves further towards 1,2,3 and so on. We can explain truth to be at various points on this scale. As we move farther away from zero, we experience different feelings. When we are born we are at the start of the ruler, which is zero. We are happy at 1 and as the worldly experience creeps into us, we start moving away from 1 to 2 to 3 where the happiness quantum starts decreasing. Some people reach 10,11,12. Depression. So you see, there is no such thing as the opposite of truth. Truth is a feeling of pleasantness at different levels.

Now say that you are witnessing a sunrise. You may feel that special ‘a-ha’ feeling which seems to elude us. How do you communicate this to your friend? You may say ‘Wow’, ‘Great’ etc, but these are just words. An approximation of reality. Never will you be able to communicate how you felt during that moment. Let me give you another example. Say you wake up in the morning and that cup of coffee/tea really is so nice. The aroma, the taste and the way you feel. This is the direct experience of truth. You don’t have to retire to a cave and meditate in order to perceive the truth. You just have to be willing to receive it. The whole world is a reflection of the truth. Every single moment, you are experiencing it. Now whether you classify it as good or bad is entirely upto you. The fact of the matter is that there is no such thing as bad. Only we deem it to be. Bad is a lower gradation of good.

When we experience emotions such as anger, sadness, guilt etc., we are at one end of the happiness ruler. Similarly, when we experience joy, equanimity, peace etc., we are at the other end. So why do we keep oscillating between these? The answer is our experiences. We have picked up many things since childhood, where we have classified things as good or bad, knowingly or unknowingly. When we come across any moment, we have a habit of relating it to our past experiences and we react to it. These feelings can be deep rooted, so much so that it can trigger sometimes violent situations. It is these feelings which have to be taken care of. Easier said than done, you  may say. And you are right. Its time to unlearn some of those toxic beliefs and experiences that we have filed away in the innards of our mind. Till then, we will not be at peace with ourselves.

Emotions can trigger thoughts and the other way around also. Our thoughts and emotions are interlocked with each other. Good thoughts lead to good emotions whereas negative thoughts can snatch away our valuable moments. If we don’t feel pleasant, chances are our thoughts are running riot. The best way to escape out of this situation is to quieten our mind. By that I mean being thoughtless. Is that possible? Many of these enlightened masters have achieved this state. So where do we start? Meditation is a good starting step. It quietens our mind and we reach a more peaceful state. On an average, a person gets 50,000 thoughts every day. We are taught advanced Ph.D in mathematics, but nobody teaches us thought culture. We come in this world without a user manual. However, it’s entirely up to us to become a happy or a miserable person. So in totality, the game is about experiencing truth at the zero end of the ruler – which means becoming like the child that we were. Truth be told, the only way out is ‘in’.

Machine Learning and Spirituality – Where do they meet ?

 

Machine Learning is about teaching the computer how to learn. There is a great difference between how we learn and how machines learn. Think back to a time when you were a toddler. You learnt the english alphabets from A to Z. How much time did it take you to read and write them. Maybe an year or two. Later you learnt the nuances of the language – the building blocks – words and the grammar to make sentences. It took some time, but you learnt it. What happened was that your brain took in this information and converted it into patterns. You see every day we are learning. Our neurons are plastic and hence malleable to new information. Either they get recorded in new neurons or existing ones change themselves to accommodate the influx of information. The thoughts that we linger upon, create deep neural pathways which are found in our subconscious minds.

Machine learning (deep learning) happens in a similar way. There are three ways a machine learns :

  • Supervised
  • Unsupervised
  • Reinforced

The first one (supervised) is a way of teaching the machines with human intervention. Take for example, a classification problem. Say there are oranges and apples in a bag and machine needs to identify which is which. For this problem, we may further divide it by looking at the weight and texture of these fruits. So we can evolve a rule which says that apples weigh less than 150 grams and oranges are above 170 grams. Now this has to be taught to the machine. There may be several such rules that are handed over to the machine.

In unsupervised learning, we throw a pattern at the machine and it learns from the algorithm that we feed in. For example, there is K-Nearest Neighbour algorithm in Clustering. To cut it short, the machine learns to predict the answer to a difficult problem, by looking at the nearest neighbour in a cluster of same data. The more distinct the cluster, the better the prediction of the algorithm. However, things in the real world can get messy.

To accommodate the variations that we come across in our day to day life, we need something that learns just like we do. A neural network. Something that works like our brain. The brain that we have consists of billions of neurons arranged in a layered manner. By that I mean an image like a dogs’ is stored in many layers. For example, the first layer may be the color, the second may be shape and so on. When we look at a dog, all these neurons fire and we understand that it is a dog. Further, if we have misjudged, the error gets back into the input, so that next time our judgement is better. This is how reinforcement works – for a human or a machine.

This concept of layers of perception is what drives deep learning. The more the number of layers, the more granular the understanding is and the more the data that we expose the machine to, the better is the prediction. This kind of learning is similar to how we learn, the only difference being that the computer is nowhere close to our parallel computing capabilities. However, they are picking up. With advances like using GPU’s and specialized AI chips like Tensor Processing Units (TPU), the rate of learning is going up.

So where do we go from here ? We all know that Machine Learning is behind driverless cars, the Amazon Echo and the new breed of games. Whatever our brain can do, will be one day be exceeded by machines. But do they really think ? It’s just an algorithm – maybe a self modifying one. Whereas we are not just our brain. That is just the hardware – the mind is the software where all the magic happens. Our emotions for instance (Call it from the heart or the mind) are an integral part of who we are. Our souls are much awakened than the machines’. We are in short,  a much more complex pattern than a machine. What we have to remember is that, a machine will never be able to replicate a human being fully. Our authentic self is a limited edition. Nobody in this universe carries our distinct signature. The machines will have their own place and we will have our space. Co-existence will be the key to the future.

Some folklore say that Kalki (the next avatar of God) is half man, half machine. You see, these are the things that we find fascinating, which a machine can never. We are made up of stories and machines simply are ‘0’s and ‘1’s strung together. The Earth loves the touch of your feet and the wind likes to play with your hair. Will a machine ever be able to feel the depths of these lines – you tell me.

The path to success – be your Self

There is only 1 rule to succeed in life – Be yourself. Too much of thinking can make you sick. And too much of emotions can also ruin your day. So you must be thinking, ‘How can anyone be anything except him/herself ?’ We all are being the best that we are, right ? No, we are not. Most of the times, we are either cerebral creatures or emotional creatures and sometimes a mix of the two. So, at the beginning, let’s define success. Everybody seems to be having their own ideas about it. In my definition, success is authenticity. How honest you have been with yourself and others. Let that come out. You see, no two trees are the same and no two humans are. We carry a distinct signature right from the time that we are born. And our only purpose in life is to discover who we are and then unleash it on the world. The day you realize yourself, you realize God.

So, the only thing we have to do is to turn inward and discover our Self. We all are beautiful creatures – children of that one single force which pervades everywhere. This realization is called Sankhya Yog. Once we start seeing God everywhere – inside and outside us – we move to the next step also called  Karma Yog. (the yoga of work) In this part of our life, we dedicate ourselves to work for the sake of work and not expecting anything in return. Let all work that you do be an obeisance to God. This automatically leads us to Bhakti Yog. the yoga of devotion) This is an inner s taste of mind, where you reminisce (Smriti) God in everything that you see or do. This means that you are in a prayer mode 24 by 7. Beyond this is Gnana Yog. (the yoga of knowledge) In this mode, you realize the wisdom that has been evading you – that you and God are one.

Remember, there are no goal posts. The only thing that is required of you is to be yourself. And that means rediscovering the you that’s so cleverly hidden away from your sight. In this short lifetime, all we got to do is recollect our lost foundation. That we are spirit and not this body or mind. We are pure energy. Can we see this energy ? No we can’t. Like we cannot see electricity and wind and although we can feel their effect. If we try to run our life depending on the 5 senses that we have – we will only get a partial view of the world. And as you know, this is too little. We are not a stone of the big mountain – we are the mountain, itself. Senses just help us survive. The day we open ourselves to the great spirit that we are – we are born again. There are many tools by which we can make progress in this journey. One is the computer – on which I’m typing right now.

There are so many ways in which a computer can lead us towards realization. One category of software called the productivity tools are especially important. For example, Office which typically consists of a word processor, an advanced calculator called as spreadsheet, a presentation tool and an email processing software. Using all these software makes us more efficient. You get your spell checker, you don’t have to know what 1478 * 34 and finally you get to align your ideas in slides, pictures etc. There are many, many other useful programs which can track our behaviours, identify early signs of diseases, take care of our priorities and so on. The only thing that is expected of us is to learn the application. In the near future you will be talking to machines as if they were one of us. Intentionally or unintentionally, machines are helping us to be ourselves and this my friend is the age of revelation. The dawn of a new era. An age of Self discovery – for every single one of us.

From Zero to One and Back to Zero

The world around us is a world of probabilities. At least, that’s how we perceive it, when we are awake. In unity, we perceive diversity. We see objects (everything) around us in a state of flux. All changing by the second. Of course, the building where we work doesn’t move from yesterday’s position. However, the people, the traffic lights and the general ambiance is on the move. If we are attentive enough, we perceive even those nuances. So, what is the lesson – everything around us changes – this is an undisputed law. Change is the only constant, as some say it. Now this change happens when we are fully awake. Today you have an IPO and tomorrow it’s just one of the stocks. Today you get a promotion and tomorrow you settle into it. The euphoria may last 1 day or 1 month or more, but we come back to status quo.

If you observe nature, you know that everything is cyclical. Summer comes after Spring and Winter comes after Fall. Our world is not different. Take a look at the markets. They follow this pattern. There is a bull market followed by a bear market and then back. Sometimes the markets shoot up like crazy and then plunge into depression. While all this is happening, we are looking at something called as a sure thing – there is no such thing. Disraeli had said that ‘The only sure thing is death and taxes’. Maybe he was right. I don’t know about taxes, but death is sure. And in this small time that we get to live, we try to maximize our joy and avoid pain. Reminds me of Dire Straits –

There will be sunshine after rain

There will be laughter after pain

These things have always been the same

So why worry now ?

Wise words have been said, but we are on an unending quest for more. More of joy. You know a human being is the only creature on this planet for whom a bottom line is set (birth) but there is no top line. Of course, death happens, but secretly we all like to believe that we are immortal. After death also we exist. True or not – The thing I’m sure about is that we won’t have this body. There are many after death stories which are doing the rounds, but I do not know, how far they are true. Despite knowing that we are all living mortals, we pursue things that we believe would bring us unbounded joy. All the while, we have been focusing outwards. We think that the sports car would bring us joy or maybe starting a unicorn would be deemed as success. We are 7.3 billion people with 7.3 trillion ideas of what success can be.

From zero (inward) we start focusing on one (outward) only to realize that we have to go back to zero. Now this is the master truism of life. Like Jesus said, we have to become like children to enter the kingdom of heaven. All these outer world material things won’t bring us bliss. It can give temporary highs of joy, but never unending bliss. Look at a child – why does he/she play ? Any reason ? They do it because they do it without a motive. Do they know what religion or what nation they belong to ? Do they know about the UN or the NATO ? All these so called things that we have created have begun to spiral out of control. What the world wants today, is to scrap the walls that we have built, pacify the wounds that we carry and go back to being like children. Focusing on Zero instead of one – from outer to inner – One world !

Inside Google Search

When you type something into Google Search, do you know what happens behind the scenes ? Let’s say you type ‘abc’ as shown below :

You get a list of values starting with ‘abc’ or with ‘abc’ within the text that you are trying to search. It seems so simple and straightforward, right ? But here’s what goes on behind the scenes :

In your machine

When you type the first letter ‘a’, this is what happens –

  1. Your keyboard code for ‘a’ goes into a keyboard buffer (temporary memory) and interrupts the Keyboard Support chip.
  2. This chip in turn raises an interrupt signal and this interrupt goes to the CPU which recognizes that the keyboard needs to be listened to.
  3. Now the CPU needs to display the letter ‘a’, so it interrupts the CRT controller chip (Display Chip), with the value ‘a’.
  4. The Display controller sends an ‘a’ to be displayed at the current cursor location. This travels through that cable which is attached to your Display, or in the case of a laptop, tablet or phone, to the display directly. The display chip is sometimes referred to as GPU (Graphics Processing Unit).

Behind the Google Search

As the Google Search is within the browser, here’s what happens.

  1. Javascript (Display programming language) accepts the input (‘abc’ in this case) and sends this input to the Google Server which is nearest to you. Note that the browser understands the Javascript language.
  2. The input now is given  to the browser, which in turn gives it to the operating system (OS) like Windows.
  3. The OS in turn will send this input to your network support chip or your network controller.
  4. From there this input (‘abc’) travels all the way to the Google servers (through wire or wireless).
  5. These servers are in a datacentre (a huge cluster of parallel servers) and the nearest server which is free to service your request will take it up.
  6. The cluster (group of servers) has a list of your previous searches and will try to return values which are closest to the input that you gave (‘abc’).
  7. This list of values is given back to your client through the same network.
  8. Once the values arrive at the client, a popup box opens up, to display all of them. This is also done in Javascript.
  9. What makes this feat possible is something called AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript and XML), a technology where a list of values is sent back as XML (Extensible Markup Language) through an asynchronous connection. (this means that the server will serve this request when it’s free)
  10. As shown in the above diagram, this is what happens behind the scenes. All of this in a jiffy. So much of data travelling from the innards of your machine to the server. So how is this possible without any delay ? The answer is Google Servers in the thousands that are responsible for delivering a swift and efficient connection.
  11. Sometimes you see a Google Server page without a network connection also. This is made possible by a local cache (local memory) which is used by Google.
  12. The server that services your request is called as an Edge Server (the server that’s closest to you geographically)

What does it mean ?

Our brains also work in a similar way, except slowly and fast. Slow – because our brains work at 50-500 bits / second, whereas the communication that we saw above happens at least at a speed of 1 Mb/ second. Fast – because our parallel neurons are much more complex than the Google data centre. Today, we learn about something called Deep Learning (a type of machine learning) which works like our brain. In Deep Learning, you emulate a neural network of say 10-20 layers. However, this is not even close to our brain, which is inherently and simultaneously parallel. But great progress is being made by advances in the field of Computer Science and sooner or later, machines will catch up with us. 15-20 years from now, give and take a few, machines will exceed a human brains capacity. No alarm bells here. Machines will be complementing us and replacing us in jobs which they do better than us. This means that we will have more time to spend on things we love to do – like say being with nature or maybe scuba diving. How the economics will work out – we do not know. But one thing is for sure – we will have a lot of time for ourselves – which means we can explore our spiritual / emotional dimensions and maybe discover that one alluring thing that evades us so subtly – our search for our Self.

 

How to treat emotions objectively

We are a bundle of the physical body, the mental mind, our emotions and a soul. A balance between all these four leads to a happy life. Let’s take emotions. Have you heard of something called EQ ? – It means the Emotional Quotient. To succeed in life a high IQ (Intellectual Quotient) is just not enough. We need a good EQ as well. Now what does that mean ? Emotions or some people call it as feelings can make or break you. Emotions are what makes us human. However, life cannot be just lived based on emotions. We feel anger and joy, we feel pleasure and pain and so on. Do you know that there are more than 100 (don’t know the exact number) kinds of emotions that we experience every day. Just like an average person has 50,000 thoughts per day – give and take some.

Given below is the Robert Plutchik  wheel of emotions

All of us have felt some or all of these emotions in a varying degree. For example, we feel sad and sometimes very sad i.e. depressed. We feel happy and sometimes very happy i.e. blissful. So why do we feel emotions – the main reason being our thoughts. Our thoughts trigger emotions. Sometimes emotions also trigger thoughts. Say you have booked movie tickets for your entire family. Feels good. When you drive to the theatre, there is lot of traffic. Suddenly the emotion that you feel is anxiety (whether you will reach there on time or not) What triggered this emotion is a thought in the mind. The thought may be saying ‘I’m so fed up with the traffic’. And subsequently you feel anxious. Anxiety can lead to rage and rage can further trigger other thoughts that are related. (for example, your rage emotion may make you recollect an incidence in the office with a colleague with whom you got angry) On and on it goes.

If you let emotions run your life, it’s going to be an expensive mistake. Work or business runs on facts and numbers. There is a space for emotions at work also, but you must keep it under check. Take for example, it’s appraisal time. If you feel that you have been rated lower than what you think, you can’t negotiate with your boss using emotions. You need to provide concrete proof that you have done what you deserve. And then also you don’t get that promotion, let it go. Learn to treat emotions objectively. Factual. You see a flower, smell it, enjoy it and move on. That is all there is to this joyful emotion. If you think that the same flower was given to you by your ex or the color red is not a good color and whatever other baggage that you have (your memories), don’t. Pull back. Learn to see things as they are and not as you want them to be.

We are strange creatures. Sometimes we are like lions and other times like a mouse. We are the only creature on this planet which can’t be defined. A tiger behaves like a tiger, an eagle goes about being an eagle. But us. We take on different roles. We pursue different interests. We have a thirst for the infinite. And we want it all, without having read the user manual for our life. Yes, we are emotional creatures. That separates us from a robot. But that won’t buy us a three course meal. There can be tumultuous emotional moments in our life. The idea is to, not let it get control over us and remember the Bible which says ‘And it came to pass …’ So enjoy this ride by treating all emotions objectively. A machine may take over your job, but it will never wonder looking at the skies, ‘Oh God, what a beautiful sunrise’. That’s what it means being human.

Translate »