The tragic truth is yes. We have certainly become a beautiful rose without fragrance. We were not born this way though. We came into existence with a pure, innocent heart. The Divine lived through us. It was through us that the universe experienced this beautiful phenomenon called life. Where did we go so wrong? What made our divinity change its course? Well, it wasn’t an overnight change. It took every single day to eliminate the fragrance in us and we were left with plastic smiles and no soul. Let’s just go over a few points which will refresh where we took a detour from our journey…from Dev (Sanskrit word for God) to Devil.
Judgements: More often than not, we find ourselves judging others based on their looks, the way they talk, what they do for a living, or certain behavior patterns. Rather than telling us anything about the other person, our judgmental behavior tells us more about our own mindset. Ask yourself: Why is there a need to judge at all? Why must we give a label to everything? Try this small exercise of non-judgment and witness the arising of awareness in you. Early morning or night, watch the sky. Just observe it as it is. Don’t try to think of it as blue, black, wide, beautiful, gloomy etc. The moment you say it’s beautiful you are getting trapped in that judgment. Just examine the sky effortlessly, as it is, naturally. Doing this for ten minutes everyday will make you realize some of the most beautiful moments that you have been missing because you have limited your view by placing a judgment on it. Next step would be replacing the sky with flowers, a river, trees, and finally, moving on to non-judgmentally observing your relatives, spouse, and friends. Think of how rich every aspect of your life can be if you stop limiting your perspective and just accept things the way they are! Sooner or later, you will see each person has an abundance of qualities but your judgments become obstacles in your path, obstructing you from seeing them the way they really are!
Comparisons: The moment we compare ourselves with anyone, we limit our potential. Our society has created certain rules which have done an excellent job in destroying and diminishing our creativity. Someone could be an excellent singer but goes to medical school instead because of what the parents think or what the parents’ friends think. In this endless struggle of comparing and competing with others, we end up surrendering ourselves to the “herd mentality.” When you are not living your authentic life and instead living to please others, you will come up empty-handed. You cannot please everyone and people will always have some opinion about the way in which you are conducting your life. But it’s your life and to lead the orchestra, you must turn your back on the crowd. Understand that there can never be a different you. What you can add to this universe can never be replaced by anyone else. We all bring a certain purpose with our existence; no one else can fulfill that purpose other than you. From this moment, promise yourself that you will drop all comparisons and if you must compare, then compare yourself with your own potential. Make sure you are better than yesterday and worse than tomorrow. Let each day unfold and bring out the brighter side of you!
Pretensions: “Be yourself!” This is a mantra you must meditate upon everyday. If you have to pretend to be something, then you are not just cheating yourself, you are also cheating the entire cosmos that created you to fulfill your unique purpose on this planet. Our minds are programmed with the idea that the world only respects “brave, bold and dynamic” personalities and we conduct our lives to emulate that image. While the truth is that world needs and respects people who accept themselves the way they are. Create and live your own personality. You have already lost many opportunities by living borrowed personalities of your favorite leaders, celebrities, and whoever else! Although we can allow ourselves to be inspired by someone, it is not conducive to your self-growth to merely parrot someone else’s words and actions. Discover yourself and create your own words and actions that will inspire someone else.
Reactions: Many of us aren’t even aware of it but we live a life of reactions rather than responses. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.” Someone gets mad at you and you reply with an intense level of madness. This is called a reaction. When someone criticizes you, your blood pressure starts to rise and creates havoc in the mind and body. This is also a reaction. In reacting to anger, you are only perpetuating more anger. A response, in this case, would be to constructively understand the criticism and reply with a calm mind. If you get five compliments in the morning, you smile all day and if your boss gives you negative feedback early morning, then you are doomed all day. This simply means that you yourself don’t have any control over your behavior. You keep reacting to other people’s actions towards you. Let response take over your decision making today onwards.
Following the above tips will make you realize that your fragrance has never gone anywhere, you just never invoked it. You may face a lot of opposition when you actually start implementing these tips in your life. Anyone who follows their heart tends to attract criticism, opposition, hatred, and then eventually acceptance. To help you sail through the first three stages, I have a short story to share which has helped me through my own life’s course.
Once upon a time, a father and a son went to sell their old horse in the market. While they were on their way to the market, a group of people commented, “We have never seen such idiots in our life. In spite of having a horse, you are walking!” They both thought about it and sat on the horse.
Another group of people came and said, “How cruel you are! You both are sitting on this poor old horse. Have some mercy on it.” They thought about it, and the son sat on it while the father started walking. Then a third group crossed their path and said to the son, “What kind of a young lad are you? You are enjoying a ride on this horse, while your old father has to walk in this hot weather.” The son started walking and made his father sit on the horse. Yet again, a fourth group said to the father, “What kind of a father are you? Your little son is walking and you are enjoying yourself on this horse.” Both father and son became so upset that they carried the horse on their shoulders. Then all the people started laughing at them. Finally, they got rid of that horse by throwing it into a river.
The moral of the story is that if you keep acting based on people’s opinions, not only will you earn nothing but you will surely lose what you already have. A rose doesn’t have the power to change itself on its own, but as humans we have the power to create anything we desire. Let’s promise ourselves to always nurture the unique fragrance of our essence; the proverbial rose within all of us.