For the past one hour, she was trying to read that book. And every time I looked at her, she was in different position trying to adjust her reading posture. I could easily make out that she was not enjoying the book, her mind was somewhere else.
I could not stop myself from saying “You are just reading this book to forget about that incident with your boss, you are in true sense not happy in reading the book”
“What do you mean? I am not a saint nor do I meditate. My thoughts sometimes go haywire, so what?” She said with irritations.
“I know you are irritated. Because you are trying to push away your thoughts somewhere else and you are not succeeding in it and you are reacting to it. You should not do something just because you don’t want to do the other thing. ” I smiled at her.
“I don’t understand anything that you are saying and don’t tell me that I can’t get angry at something?” she frowned.
I said “Simply put. You can control your thoughts. And since thoughts results in feelings, you can actually control your feelings” and paused for a while and said again “In other words, there can be no feeling, if you stop thinking about that particular thing”
She looked strongly at me and said “I didn’t tell my boss to think like that. If he thinks I am good for nothing, no matter how good I am, is that my fault. And of course if someone always keeps on trying to prove that you are not good, you will get irritated and angry?”
I waited for a while for the passion to soften a little and then said “Of course you will get angry. But then, your thinking is your own, no one else thinks on your behalf. Whatever good or bad you are going to think, it’s just your thinking. If you want to keep on thinking about what your boss said or did and you choose to get angry feeling, then that’s your choice. If you think his views about you is worthy enough to make you feel bad and your own view about yourself are not that important, then it’s just your thinking”
She almost shouted instantly “What are you saying? Are you telling me I am responsible for this? How can I just ignore what he says or does? C’mon that’s absurd and illogical”
“Is it really?” I said and smiled and continued “You, like all of us, have been taught by the society that feelings are not created by us, they are caused by someone or some situation. Say for example when I say, – “You presence turns me on”, did you actually turned me on or it should correctly be said as “I turn myself on, in your presence”. Or when you say “height scares me”, now height does not come and scares you, isn’t it like saying “You scare yourself of heights”. So it is always like this, we generate the feelings thinking about something, but we blame others for generating that feeling. Now if you just stop thinking about your boss, no one can force you to think. And if you let your own thoughts being influenced by his thoughts, then there is a problem.”
She remained silent.
So I continued “What is happening right now with you is, you are trying to do something to forget about you boss. So neither you are enjoying what you are doing nor has the thought of your boss gone away. Ultimately you are no where and just unhappy and angry. There is a particular zone in your brain which thinks and makes conclusions and it sends signals to another zone which reacts with feelings. Say as an example if I destroy the first zone somehow, then there will be no thinking and hence no feeling. Even when I put my hand in fire, I will have no feelings, simply because I can’t think.”
She waited and said “I don’t know whether I can truly understand what you are saying. But then we have to think, isn’t it? If something happens around us, we have to react.”
I kept on smiling and said “Of course, but then why choose the pain or anger instead of happiness when you are thinking. Say for example, a death simply does not cause pain. But, when we start thinking about it, effect of it, recall our past memories, we start feeling the pain because we think we will never get that opportunity again. Now, this is just an assumption created by our brain. We all know that we all die. But we can’t accept it. We can’t just concentrate on the present time and deal with the dead person. If I simply stop thinking about the past or future and deal with the dead one at the present moment, I will feel no pain. Now, that sounds unrealistic or insensitive or unsocial or stupid, I know” and I became silent.
She looked at me with surprise “Why are you contradicting your own thoughts then”
“I am not contradicting. I am saying what the society thinks about it. If I laugh during someone’s death, people will call me mad. We force ourselves to do things which others wants us to do” I paused and said again “Let me make myself more clear on death. Let’s think of war. In a war soldiers kill the enemy soldiers. They are the cause of death. But how many of them feel the pain of death, maybe just a few. Because most of them do not think about the death or past or future, they just think at that moment about winning the war. The very concept of guidance of Lord Krishna to Arjun in Mahabharata was this. When Arjun started thinking about his relatives, he could not kill them or go into the war. And then came Lord Krishna to advice him to deal with the situation.
And the teaching was that if we think of past and future and we worry about the relations that exist around us, we cannot be happy in the present time. We just have to think of our present time and enjoy each moment of the present time.”
She was again silent.
I continued “You create your own world just by thinking about it. If you want to be happy, you have to create your world in a better way. You have to think about good things, happy things, and you will be happy. But, instead if you keep on recalling something painful, dark think about your past, you cannot be happy. And if I keep on thinking about the future, which of course is uncertain, you cannot be happy either.
This time she said instantly “Now that’s not easy. It is not easy to stop myself from thinking about past or about the relations that I have or even about my future.”
I was expecting that “It just needs practice. What you need to do is to think about the present time and do what you want to do at that particular moment of time. But you can hardly do it. You do things either to satisfy you anticipation of the future, or to forget something of the past, or you are just forced to do something for other”
I waited and continued “If you want to be happy, live in present time. Enjoy each moment of your present time. If you are reading a book, just get into the book and enjoy the book. Don’t read a book as an excuse to forget something. You cannot cheat your brain.”
This time she was silent for a long time.
Then she asked me, “What is love then? Does it really exist, or it is just a thought?”
(the discussion with her about love continued in my next post….)