I repeat for the 100th time – I love books, so much so that I wouldn’t even step out without one. Paranoid? Maybe. But, I like my insanity. They’ve been my best friends for a very longtime and when I got my first smart device, I did not hesitate to jump onto the ebook wagon. I wanted books in whatever avatar I could carry them and digital suited for the times I wouldn’t carry a physical book. With the Kindle app installed, I bought the books I never wanted to be separated from. Over time, this ‘must-have’ collection kept growing and so with it the temptation to own an ebook reader. But, I succeeded in keeping these temptations at bay for three years until a good friend surprised me by gifting me a Kindle when I visited him two weeks back.
Some unedited thoughts:-
Silence has become too hard to find. Too many thoughts these days. Mind always wavering. Just want to tune it off and go blank. Too much of everything I guess. Need to cull a lot out of life. Only the essential to be left. I liked when Harold gives away everything in his pilgrimage and walks with nothing but the minimum to get by never even packing food for the next day (from the book ‘The unexpected pilgrimage of Harold Fry’) . There’s a lot of baggage we carry with us. There’s some reason too – that baggage gives us identity. We identify ourselves with it – what are we without it we say to ourselves. But, every step we take adds only more baggage. Every step becomes laborious.
Those who know me or are following the blog know that I love reading. Last year a friend asked how many books I might have read in my life? Averaging at 3 books per month, at 36 a year, I’ve been reading regularly for 16 years now, So, I told him that I might’ve read around 500 books till now. Not a great number but I was still proud. This year I decided to note down all the books I’d be reading and started off with the list in January. But, what started as a counting exercise soon became a hunt for numbers. How many can I complete this year? This month? This week? How many pages can I read today? I enjoyed the challenge for two months, but, ’slowly started dreading it. I simply did not want to read anymore, ’cause now it was anymore about reading a book but about reading it at a pace I didn’t enjoy. There was no more time to re read a few passages because they made such sense or because the language was beautiful but only a pressure to complete this and move to the next. I did not start reading to complete a goal. I just loved reading and happened to complete a good number of them. But, with a new ‘number’ goal in my mind it didn’t matter if I enjoyed reading or not. All I wanted was to hit target.
I read Swami Vivekananda at the age of 16. To be honest, I don’t remember much. But, one section of his complete works stuck with me for a long time, it was his views on ‘Karma yoga’. Back when I started to piece my life together to make some sense to the present where I’m still struggling to make sense, I’ve looked back to his account of Karma yoga many a times for support (no, it is not a kind comfort, but a very rude one). For a 16 year old, and a 30 year old struggling with the idea of ‘life is meant to reach god or serve people’, his insights into karma and work have been very helpful. Though, I don’t mean to write on the Swami’s views of this yoga, I’m piecing here a few points on Karma yoga which have been very helpful to me when I just had to justify moving on from a painful episode of life or to remind myself that ‘this too shall pass’ in a very jubilant one. But, before we start, what is Karma?
There’s a great deal of discussion on the internet if the traditional ‘context’ is dead due to the ubiquity of mobile phones (read computers) and internet. Contexts such as ‘computer’, ‘online’ and ‘phone’ seem to have lost their relevance. Add to this all those other abstract contexts such as ’think’, ‘energy’ – which just dilute the traditional concept of a context further. When I moved from Things to Omnifocus I was quick to create perspectives which filtered my tasks to show how Things showed them – in Today, Next, Scheduled & Someday views. My workflow was to use Today and Next perspectives to find stuff to do and Scheduled and Someday to plan. My workflow was simple – get done with what’s in Today and move on to Next to find tasks.