A lot of people in the world these days seem to have mutual problems. Some don’t get along with their partners, others with their friends or colleagues, with their bosses or with their employees, with their children or with relations. But in order to live in this world, socialization is a necessity. However isolated our lifestyle is, there is still always a need to interact with someone, somewhere! In doing so, we often start to face problems. Sometimes we try really hard to overcome the barriers in communication but without failing to realize the root causes of the problem, we end up hurting ourselves and others in the process. This can at times make life really miserable.
So, then what is the underlying factor that needs to be uprooted in order to get a respite from this serious trouble? On fair analysis, I can see that I am a part of the problem here because the issue involves me in interaction with someone else. I might not be able to change the other person but there must be something in me that can be changed. Or am I so important and high-placed that there can’t be a fault in me?
Right now, I see myself sitting in my chair and then zoom out to see the whole room and then the whole house. My close-up has reduced significantly in size. I keep zooming out to have a bird’s eye-view of the entire city and surely enough, I’m not even recognizable amid the various shapes, colours, sizes and patterns. But I want to keep track of “me”, so I label myself fluorescent. Ah! I see a bright blotch now in the city.
Let’s go out further to look at the whole country. There are neat softwares that actually allow one to do so. Once focused over the country, I look for the fluorescent spot and indeed it must be somewhere there, but I try to console myself. The extent of my existence is so irrelevant. It is, I’m sad to say, even unimportant, because all of these other non-fluorescent characters (who I was oblivious to) seem to be only as noticeable – rather unnoticeable – as me!
I dread to think what will happen to me once I zoom out on the entire globe. Nevertheless, I do it and when I look at the faint fluorescent speck, all I can do is close my eyes and visualize. My all-important, inflated, egoistic self sitting at this custom-designed desk seems to have no more importance than a particle of sand in the desert. The vastness of space is liberating me!
I go further on my visualization spree and imagine the outer space. I now see the Sun, the stars, the various planets and oh, isn’t the green one our earth? Sure enough somewhere there, we can find a fluorescent spot sitting in a comfortable chair with a “Parker” pen in their hand! Unfortunately, we can’t! Forget about me, we can’t even see the huge building where the headquarters of “Parker” would be! No White House, no
It is ego that makes us consider ourselves to be what we are not! It makes us believe that we are the most important and deserving. It makes us feel bad if someone else is given preference over us. What harm does our ego not cause us? We feel injured, hurt, inferior, superior, intolerant, impatient, left out, jealous, envious, bossy, dominated – all because of ego! Egoism makes us blind towards others’ feelings too! Ambrose Bierce in her book The Devil’s Dictionary describes an egotist as “a person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me!”
What are we but a speck in the humongous expanse of the universe? What use is our pompousness? Where does our false ego get us? Who do we think we are showing off to?
In this perspective, it becomes so simple to adjust anywhere. All that matters in this totality is how can we lead a life of peace. It does not matter what others think about us, what they say to us and what they do because ultimately, they too occupy only the same space as us. Someone we think holds the key to our life in their hands is also only a mere mortal like us. On the same lines, someone we think is subject to our whims and fancies is also in the same boat as us. We can’t control anyone or anything, being a mere dot in this universe. The world towers over us and we would be better off realizing the triviality of our existence. The understanding itself makes us better human beings, worthy individuals and peaceful souls!