02112009 - The three "ages" of my life ..

Well, i had it all planned.. 

How i would casually mention about my feat of completing 109 suryanamaskaaras this "ratha saptami" (Feb 8th 2009), introduce the new explanation for the word "yoga" that i got from one of the elders at Yogashree (the place that has taught me the yoga way of looking at life, and i am still learning it!!), a fascinating view point on life from my ex-team-lead, some interesting points on perception and vision and many other things each of which i wanted to elaborate in individual posts. But when i wrote the subject for this blog, something happened, all of a sudden different things started to fall in place, and i am writing this. 

My life has three ages - 

1. Physical age

2. Action age

3. Thought age

Physical age - This is straight forward. Its the age of my body. Lack of physical activity quickens the physical aging process, something that i have seen happening to us software engineers quite often (sad thing, but a fact !! ). 

Action age - A term i coined. In our life, every day, every moment,  we face situations which requires us to take a actions. The type of action we take decides our "Action age". Difficult to relate ?? Let me give you an example. I am(and i am sure most of us are also ) fond of categorizing people as "mature" or "immature". How do i do it ?? by judging the actions that he/she takes, when i witness him/her in some situation. Now, this action that i take decides my "Action age". 

Thought age - One more term to my credit :-). So, what is a thought age ? Simple. When i enter / am pushed / forced into a situation that demands me to take an action, lets not, for a moment, concentrate on my action but instead, let us concentrate on what influences me to take the action. One major contributor is - my thoughts at that moment of time. Older my thought age, it brings more maturity in my action. To make it clear, i will take two scenarios.

Scenario1 -

I am writing this blog, and I see a cockroach crawling on my floor.

My thoughts -

Its disgusting, it is creeping me out, i do not want that cockroach there, i want to send its soul to heaven.

My action - 

I look for the nearest newspaper or magazine that i can grab, fold it, hit the cockroach, make sure that it is dead, flush it down the toilet ( God bless the poor creatures soul !! )

Scenario2 - 

This time, i see a sibling of the cockroach i just killed, and i am writing the second scenario for my blog ( Please do not ask me how i know whether its a sibling or not. I am just adding this to spice things up)

My thoughts - 

Its a living creature. Like me, it is also blessed with life. It has equal rights to live(although i am sure that the cockroach does not understand all these things :-) ). It reminds me of the life force that resides in both of us, and i respect that life force.

My action - 

I let the cockroach in crawl away in peace, use it as an example in my blog and continue writing :-)

By now, you must have got a fair picture of what i wanted to say on Action and Thought ages.

A few days ago, i was talking to one of the elders at Yogashree, to her i asked this question ( This question is dereived from an email forward that i received ) - 

There is a small railway station, and there are two tracks and a lever to switch the tracks(ie, the lever enables the train going on track1 to change to track2). 10 kids decide to play on the railway track ( its a small station, do not expect much security :-) ). All the kids know, that at 4.30pm, the train arrives at the station, on track1. It is now 3.30pm. Track1 is closer, and it has a shade, and track2 is a little far and its a sunny afternoon. 9 kids decide to play on track1 since it has shade (even though they know that the train will arrive on track1), and 1 kid decides to play alone, but safely on track2. Unfortunately, an advancement in the train's schedule has happened, and the train is now approaching fast, on track1 towards the station. 

Question - 

You are the station master, and you cannot stop the train from running over the kids (its too late!!), but you have the power to change the track. What are you going to do ?

A) Change the track of the train, kill that 1 kid who was cautious enough not to play on track1 and save the other 9 kids' lives, kids who knew that they were not supposed to play on track1(they were playing there because of the shade. Everyone makes mistakes, they are kids after all !!) ?? 

B) Let the train run on track1 and take lives of 9 kids innocent little kids whose only mistake was, knowing that playing on track1 was dangerous, did not bother to move to track2, and save that one kids' life who was correct in his action ?? 

Before i give you the answer, think about this question for a moment, what would your thoughts and actions be if you were the station master ?? Would you chose option A or option B ?? [ i am curious person by nature, and i would appreciate it if you reply your answer as a comment to this post :-) ]

I will tell you my answer, although i deeply regret it, if i were the station master, i would chose option A. But, i would not let go of the sacrifice, i would let the other 9 children know about it, and make sure that the same mistake never happens in my presence.

This was her answer - 

"The perspective that you have shown to me is limited to the scenario described. But in life, at any given moment of time, there is a bigger perspective, something that we do not see". I could not understand her words, so i asked her to explain. She continued, "A child is happily playing with mud, on the road close to the street, on a cloudy evening. Suddenly he hears his mother shouting / scolding him to abandon what he is doing and return to the house. Now, the perspective of the child ( which can be mapped to the perspective that we get by reading the train-on-track question ) is this - Why does my mom always stop me from doing things that make me happy ? Does she not like me ? Don't i do well at school ?? What is her problem ?? . The perspective of his mother ( which can be mapped to what was quoted earlier as "bigger perspective" ) is this - It is evening, and its getting dark. Its a cloudy day. If it rains, my son may get drenched in rain and catch a fever. Then he has to miss school and he will lose the lessons taught at school.  At this point of his life, his health and his education are very important to him. It is better if he comes and plays inside the house, where i can keep an eye on him. But he never listens to me if i tell things in a nice way, let me use force, its after all for his own good". She continued, "In real life, we have our consciousness ( mapped to the perspective of the child ), and a higher consciousness ( mapped to the perspective of the mother ). Even though things seem not to go in our way, if we think from a state of higher consciousness, perhaps the actions that we take are the best among the choices we have. Generally, very few people are able to raise to a higher consciousness and think at that state. At this elevated state, even though the actions taken by them may seem wrong to the ones who are in the lower consciousness, it is probably the best that could have been done, because in a higher consciousness, we do not think about ourselves(ego), but we forgo our benefits and think about others(egoless)". 

This answer struck me(more like a kōan, an article by my good friend goutham), and i did some random thinking. An example given by one of my teachers came to me. Its the thought-action cycle. This concept has really appealed me, and its very simple too!! All it says is - your thoughts affect your actions, which inturn affects your thoughts. So now, if i start from cleansing my thoughts, it automatically gets reflected in my actions. Since my actions get refined, my thoughts automatically gets better. So once the process is initiated (either by improving the thoughts or action), its a cyclic chain. One influences the other, and without the knowledge of the person, he starts becoming better. 

In one of the public talks that i attended recently, the speaker told us this (its in kannada) - Drushti badalaayisu, Drushya badalaagutte. Meaning, change the way you look at things, and see how beautifully the scenery changes. 

Well, at the end, i have almost jammed everything i wanted to say at the beginning of post (may have missed a few thoughts, but they can make their presence felt in the future :-) ). This has really lifted my spirits. Hope it does some good to the others :-)