Sunday, March 13, 2011

Flower Lessons- Speaking Tree, Sunday 27th Feb

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By : Deepak M Ranadeon Feb 26, 2011 | Views (404) | Post response
Appreciation from others feeds the ego, but it should not steer our actions, writes Deepak M Ranade

As we trudged along the steep mountain path and reached a clearing, the landscape evolved into a picturesque panorama. The tall pines stood erect in attention as if in a military drill.

A solitary wild flower caught my attention, as it swayed merrily in the breeze. It seemed oblivious to my presence and appeared to be in some sort of a private celebration — its bright yellow colour eloquently reflecting its vibrant mood. It appeared strangely assertive of its uniqueness, and yet blended harmoniously into the orchestra of colours that surrounded it. I don’t know if it was blissful indifference or whether it was some intrinsic, stoic, self-assurance that never mandated any cognisance.

It seemed to have no questions or doubts about its existence; neither did it seem to care whether it was appreciated or even noticed. Scarcely intimidated by the riot of colours around, it seemed sure of its own little place on the vast landscape. As it swayed gracefully, its suppleness made its movements seem more like a dance than like any form of submission to the whims of the unpredictable breeze. It did not seem anxious about the overcast conditions that could stamp out its very existence. Rather, it seemed to be making the most of the given moment as its petals fluttered noiselessly.

Quantum theory would deny its very existence in the absence of an observer. I wondered, then, whether it would be considered to have existed at all, had I not seen it, and whether it would behave differently had it been aware of it being noticed. The casual disdain with which it basked in the meadow did not suggest that it cared for recognition.

Appreciation and approval is vital to every one of us. Response from the environment is what generates and maintains our identity. Our joy and happiness is most often based on recognition and it tends to direct our actions, making our existence relative.

The relentless interactive behaviour constantly generates varying coefficients of self-esteem. Fluctuation in self-esteem impacts our confidence, happiness and the sense of well-being. The need for approval and appreciation increases our vulnerability. Equanimity and being at peace with oneself warrants being unflinching and unaffected by the inconsistencies of responses.

Such an attitude was aptly illustrated by the protagonist of the novel Fountainhead, Howard Roark. When Peter Keating asks Howard what he thinks about him, his terse reply, “I don’t think about you” reveals a personality that does away with the need for any struts of approval to stay upright. This can, at times, be interpreted as being insensitive but it reflects more of a conviction in one’s own persona and script of existence. It portrays a casual self-assurance without a trace of self-doubt; an assertive awareness of the surroundings, that is neither submissive nor dominating — an awareness that merely observes and is not spectator-sensitive. The awareness that remains unruffled, metamorphoses into a state of bliss. Happiness is more an intrinsic phenomenon than being an outcome of any subject-object interaction.

Does the equation of happiness always need to factor in external response? The manifestation of that original, undivided, universal consciousness into myriad forms was for that consciousness to become aware of its own self. It was not programmed for the various forms to depend on one another for acceptance or acknowledgement. Appreciation feeds the ego, but it should not steer our actions. The image of that petite yellow flower remained imprinted in my mind — probably against its wishes — long after it unobtrusively dropped out of my field of vision.

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