A few good friends of mine recently had a discussion over dinner about what opinions we had formed about each other when we met for the first time, and whether that opinion had actually changed over time as we got to know each other better. Right from being thought of as a "dude", to being in DS, everything came into the picture. But after our dinner, what really stuck to my memory was that we all had thought of one of us as being self centred and vain.
It got me thinking whether it's really wrong to think about oneself all the time. I mean, living the nuclear lives that we do these days, we should put ourselves first, at all cost. But isn't there a limit to do that? Don't we all think of something apart from ourselves sometimes at least? Is being self centred all that good for us? Is the "me" in all of us bigger than everything else in the world? Come to think of it, we're really inconsequential in the Scheme of Things. And yet we lead this life of ours thinking of ourselves as the center of the Universe. True, that's a perspective that we must all have, as only our direct actions affect us most of the time. But what about the rest of the times? The times that things affect us adversely for no fault of ours? Where's the "I" in that? Haven't a clue.
I have a friend who constantly ridicules everything about me. Right from my sense of humor to every opinion I hold, that person has poked holes into EVERYTHING I've said in an attempt to be funny or anything but mediocre. And that person has called me that word, MEDIOCRE. And boy did I hate it! But I didn't let it show. Instead I decided that the person who could ridicule me so much probably could teach me a lot. And in the short while that I have known that person, I've learnt to be more careful in what I speak. Not careful enough I guess 'cos I still get myself into sticky situations, but I'm at least on my way there. Not to deviate much, I was asked a question by that person about why I still talk to them inspite of the way they literally denigrate and berate me to such great extents. Had I had even a bit of self respect, I'd probably have not taken that shit from anyone. Now does that mean that I have no self respect? That I do not hold myself at high esteem? Or does it mean that anyone can walk over me and I'm going to take that lying down? I think not.
What I'm really getting at is that to really rise, one must allow oneself to be defeated and berated completely. One must stop thinking of oneself all the time if one really has to rise to the top and to use the word "I" liberally and not be thought of as haughty. However, we use the word generously, mostly out of context, being hurtful, interruptive to another's train of thought, and that keeps us from rising out of the banality of life. That keeps us from seeing the beauty in others. The blindness that keeps us from seeing the most beautiful things in our lives eats us up on the inside and we don't even realize that. That blindness will lead us to the death of our souls. I wonder if I want my soul to die. I wonder if anyone wants their soul to die.
Speaking of death, a very close friend of mine said to me one day that the purpose of life is death. That we are born to die. That no matter what we do, we will die one day and we can't stop that. I tried to come up with an answer to that. Thankfully somebody came and joined us at the table, leaving our conversation incomplete. What really hurts me to this very day is that I didn't have an answer to that argument back then. And that I still do not have an answer to it now. But it gladdens me to know that no matter how much I philosophize about life and death, no matter how many books I read on life, no matter how many spiritual lectures I attend, I still am unconvinced about somethings. And I'm not alone in that.