Today while I was sitting outside a store here in beautiful Bali, I realized I am sort of an alumni from 9 different colleges: North Point College Darjeeling(1 yr? Can’t remember), Delhi university ( almost 2 yrs, I flunked one year miserably due to another possible record for low attendance), University of Rhode Island (2 days), Univ. of St. Thomas(one day), Troy State University (8 months-here’s where I took things more seriously), South Seattle Community College, Green River Community College, Bellevue Community College and finally 2 yrs at the University of Washington in Seattle where I finally received a B. Sc in Civil Engineering. Can I be in the genius book of records or fools? Talk about school of hard knockabouts. Haha
During the 80s I vaguely remember a lady that gave us a talk in my school in India. I don’t remember her talk so much, she was an ex student but what I remember was her claim that the life we were experiencing in school would be the best days of our lives. She said that we should cherish it now for it will never come again. I think she meant well, and could have been speaking to the sense of wonder we have as children but she also could have actually done some harm. She could have unintentionally ingrained in our sub conscious a “no matter what” lousy image of the future and the feeling of constant dissatisfaction along with it. Maybe I’m reading into this too deep but I think this is also analogous to the religious beliefs that our present moment in life is comparatively lousy if compared to the bliss in the afterlife-whether it be in rebirth or in a place called heaven.
There is a simple realization that I use to fix this problem. Why not realize that this is the after life. Our natural instinct is to be happy(I learned this from HH the Dalai Lama) and if you follow your own instinct, then now is the time to be blissful. You can only control what is today and today is the best day of my life
This is not a challenge to a reader’s personal belief. This is just me sharing the limits of my rationality.
In college I wrote an essay in English 101 describing what I thought to be the nature of travel of the soul to heaven. This was fictionalized by my assumption that heaven is geographically located at the edge of the known universe, that the laws of physics (I don’t remember most of them now) apply and that the soul be actually made of matter. Someone had told me that there was an experiment done somewhere where a dying person was placed in a leak proof glass container and that at the moment of his death it caused a crack in the glass thus verifying that the soul was made of matter. I described the time, the change in mass, length, speed of light limitation etc in great length and you should have seen my English teacher’s face(this was community college). I remember her being flirty as she said that something was wrong with me and that she didn’t know what the heck I was writing about, but she gave me an A+.
I have listened to this talk a few times and it comes back to me as I move around in our travels. I hear her message as I observe and notice whether people are happy, satisfied, content or if they are miserable, angry, deceitful and unhappy. In retrospect I also apply this to myself (my decisions and actions) and notice the patterns of mistakes I make and the resultant emotional responses of anger, false pride and unhappiness. The trick is to fast forward this awareness more to myself than when I am observing others
She also provided some great insight on parenting, Brene says “And we perfect, most dangerously, our children. Let me tell you what we think about children. They’re hardwired for struggle when they get here. And when you hold those perfect little babies in your hand, our job is not to say, “Look at her, she’s perfect. My job is just to keep her perfect — make sure she makes the tennis team by fifth grade and Yale by seventh grade.” That’s not our job. Our job is to look and say, “You know what? You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” That’s our job. Show me a generation of kids raised like that, and we’ll end the problems I think that we see today.” No we parents shouldn’t slack on providing our kids with the necessary tools for life but we also shouldn’t drive towards perfection at the cost of damaging a child’s sense of wonder, of pursuing their own interests, of restricting their learning to regimented education systems and most importantly damaging their own natural instinct to self learn.
We are developing our own approach to raising our kids through homeschooling as we travel. It may sound very risky to many but I am genuinely comfortable with our decision. The objective is clear and that is to provide my children a good education along with the freedom to pursue their own interests by enhancing their own natural instinct to self learn and by providing them experiences where they can learn about the power of vulnerability.