How Much Of Laughter?

Laughter

Laughter – a spontaneous overflow of fun, a stress reliever, a mood changer, a health therapist…not only provides a cushion to our emotional hurts but also helps us in dealing with the jolts of life effectively.

I have written about laughter therapy to remain emotionally healthy yet it is not listed under the most popular posts!

Why do we forget our laughter skills, as we grow older and resilient?

Humor is the most difficult genre for writers and most of the jokes degenerate below a decent level. That’s why yoga instructors have been promoting self-laughter. Probably Laughter Shows add hilarity sounds for the same purpose!

“The burden of the self is lightened when I laugh at myself,” observed Rabindranath Tagore.

I have been told many times to laugh softly but I always dismiss that advice…how can you decide how much to laugh? Isn’t that weird? I wonder how people can close their mouth and laugh!

I have never learnt to laugh gently as I didn’t want to. The real power and therapeutic effect of laughter lies in what comes from our heart, without any ifs and buts.

I have faced many stern looks of my hubby but did I ever care?

When I laugh…it just goes out loud and clear! Whenever there was a loud laughter in our staff room, our Principal assumed one of those must be me! Once she heard that and came to reprimand but I didn’t happen to be there, luckily! So much for my reputation!

Another scenario, which is embedded in my memory is laughing in libraries, when, as youngsters, we had to face the stern eyes of the librarian and ran out to laugh…such is the power of spontaneous laughter!

This Book Makes Me Laugh Like My Grandchildren!IMG_3861

This book came as a birthday gift for my granddaughter, Athena but nobody paid any attention to it as it said, “Take away the A.” A book about alphabets is considered to be useless in the modern times when alphabets are available in colorful forms, puzzles and each toy sings an alphabet song!

It also appeared to be weird because it had sentences on one page, which could be of no interest to a child of two as most of the books at this stage are pictorial with little stories or rhymes.

The book sat at the bookshelf till one day I decided to read it for my fun-loving grandson who just likes to open books, collects all of them around him and gets distracted within a moment.

This grandma is different, I told myself! No such tricks with me! When nobody takes interest in a book, I read it to myself to draw their attention and most of the times it works. Sometimes I change my voice to convey the emotion and attract their response.

This book caught their attention beyond description! The innovative style of the author is incredibly remarkable.

Each letter is mentioned in such a manner that no child can miss the fun that this book stimulates.

When you take away the ‘A’, BEAST is BEST!

Without the ‘B’, BRIDE goes for a RIDE!

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This book plays with letters in a creative manner to take away one alphabet and create a new word.

It doesn’t just highlight the ABCs but also introduces words in an interesting and humorous manner.Chair has hair!

Without the ‘C’, CHAIR has HAIR!

‘JAM I AM’ is equally funny.IMG_3870

Once we discovered the fun, it became our favorite book and is now read everyday.

When you take away the L, PLANTS wear PANTS.

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The moment we reach this page, we all break into peals of laughter.

We must have read it a hundred times but the fun never seems to wane.

Children don’t wait for humor to laugh…they create their own funny situations and even inspire us to laugh heartily…that is why they are called the flowers of our garden, always lending warmth and fun to our lives.

“A good time to laugh is any time you can.” – Linda Ellerbee

Do you laugh loudly or do you think it is embarrassing? I am waiting eagerly for your answers.

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

This is not a book review or a sponsored post.

 

 

 

 

Why don’t I set a target?

books

I know you are surprised and curious! I know you are thinking that targets or goals form an imperative part of our lives and without them we may seem like a rudderless boat, which would never reach anywhere.

There are some targets, which seem inevitable, which are like milestones and refuse to move till we accept them as realities. I know! I too had to honor them but I would call them compulsive cahoots, gnawing at our minds everyday, challenging our abilities and pushing us closer to the curve of compliance.

Setting goals for reading? Really?

What confounds me is setting targets for joy, happiness, travel, leisure and above all reading! I have heard many times…‘this year I am going to focus on happiness’…as if our focus on this fleeting emotion ever wavers!

Setting targets for pleasure trivializes the term ‘goal,’ which inspires vision and success in the chosen field. Unconditional commitments do make us determined but isn’t it better to reserve them for more important achievements?

I have always encouraged my students to set academic goals to reach the pinnacle of glorious pedestal they would like to perch on and many of them have accomplished them.

I have never set a target of reading books, as I believe we read for pleasure, not for meeting goals and invite unnecessary stress. There are many other triggers around us to cause stress.

I have never kept a count of books I have read for all these years. Completing a book and starting another one is as normal for me as changing an outfit.

While Goodreads keeps nudging me to set a target, I remind myself …’If you take a book like a medicine, it loses its charm.’ I had learnt this lesson long ago when I could not read the specified number of books for my Literature discussions! The more I tried to keep up the pace; my concentration grew less and less.

Pledging to read a book within a specified time is like a noose hanging before me, depriving me of all the joy connected with the style of the author and language of a book.

Is it all about numbers?

Reading is not just about numbers and being able to say… ‘I have read 25 books this year.’ It is more about absorbing the thoughts, savoring the words, imagining and connecting with the places. It is a breezy journey to enjoy, not a whirlwind to escape! Quality of reading enriches our experiences, not the quantity.

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” – Mortimer J. Adlerreading-quote

It is more rewarding to read a book slowly so that we can absorb the virtuousness of our favorite character…to drench in the feelings of people around us…so that we can become a part of their world.

Is it about emotions?

Some people don’t get emotionally engaged in a book, they read it very fast, without actually stepping into the realm of fantasy, without identifying with the characters and their thoughts.

One of my friends had this habit of reading the books very fast. Whenever we would mention a book or share it, she would come out with this reply… ‘Oh! I have read that!’ At that juncture of life, as a young and immature reader, I would envy her speed. I even tried to read in her manner but honestly speaking, I could hardly enjoy the book and felt guilty too.

Shallow reading seems to be the norm of the day just to complete the resolution of reading a specified number of pages during the day. If the book is a cheap romance or a thrilling mystery, delving deep into it may be inconceivable but we get out of such books quite early in life.

Reading without any distractions around us – another challenge of modern times!

The other day I happened to be at a hospital, waiting for a procedure of a dear one to be over and to keep my thoughts positive, I had taken my kindle along with me.

I tried very hard to concentrate with chit chat going all around, two ladies talking continuously, exchanging their views on every possible topic from hair styling to cooking!

I had read 20% of the book but I want to start it again for the pure pleasure of soaking in the beautiful words, which got lost in the crescendo around me.

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” – Oscar Wilde

Do you set targets for reading? Do you read faster to reach those targets? I am waiting eagerly for your perspective on commercialization of reading for pleasure.

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

 

Self-deception And Suffering…Do we have a choice?

Self-deception and suffering

Self-deception is nobody’s intention yet we allow ourselves to live in its throes without reflecting or contemplating about it. Probably we don’t have any control over delusionary thoughts.

Self-deception may be therapeutic but only for a little while! The longer we choose to hide behind the lies we tell ourselves, the greater is the suffering.

Recently one of my friends was talking in a very depressing tone. My conversation with her revealed the same old dilemma…letting yourself into the realms of expectations and getting drowned in those thoughts.

Thoughts make us what we are. They guide us into unknown territories of depression, which starts slowly. We don’t even realize where we are going. Nobody steps into the dungeon of depression willingly. It just happens.

Most of the time others dominate our thoughts. We are worried about others – our siblings, friends and family. We try to please them when we are growing up. Failure to come up to their expectations may drive us into those moments of melancholy and loneliness. When we don’t share our frustrations, they get deep-rooted.

Those unresolved issues manifest themselves in the most surreptitious manner. We become controlling freaks and don’t even know it. We live in the world of our exquisite expectations, which are sacrosanct to us. We call them our dreams; we present them in the garb of our love and can go to any extent to get them fulfilled.

The clear victims of those expectations have to be our children as they are the most vulnerable, readily available quarries around us. We try to mold them according to our own thoughts, we try to impose our way of living on them and we expect them to follow our diktats.

We forget that they have their own mind. We overlook the fact that we resented all this when we were growing up. We disregard the importance of free thoughts and when they start taking their own decisions, we remind them of our own expectations from them. Our cravings and anger towards them makes us unhappy but we indict them, we rub it on them so much that they start drifting away.

All children drift away as they are guided by their own aspirations. It is not necessary that they should match yours. We worry more about the happiness of our children, forgetting that nobody can give happiness as a gift. Serenity and peace cannot be given, it lies in self-discovery, in acceptance but nothing sinks in when you are mired in angst, unnecessary worry, which does not lead you anywhere.Self-deception quote

Expectations are the biggest culprits as they let us believe the unthinkable. Mindful thinking can only be possible if the person concerned is ready to think otherwise.

Suffering may be inevitable and essential to understand life but self-inflicted suffering, which comes from thoughts can be avoided.

‘Easier said than done’ is the constant refrain to this advice but the moment we say this phrase, we are paving the way for continued anxiety as we assume that it is difficult to attain that state of mind, which can exalt us from self-inflicted thoughts of being miserable.

“Man’s capacity for self-deception is strange.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

A beginning has to be made and only we can make it.

The choice lies with us because the thoughts and expectations are also ours. Negative thoughts take precedence. Let them. When they have poisoned your mind, it is your turn to rebuff them and replace them with generosity, humility and peace. Nurture empathy and self-love.

Some take solace in meditation, others immerse themselves in prayer and some may even derive peace from the fact…life is like that, it throws up various kinds of painful challenges and it is better to accept them than fight.

Yet we have to fight the negative thoughts, which lead us into self-deception.

Thoughts are very powerful. They create; they shape our lives and beliefs. A major part of our personality is molded by our thoughts. Our happiness and success depends on the quality of our thoughts.

Have you ever felt entrenched in the maze of your thoughts? Do you live in the world of self-deception?

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

 

 

Do We Do Everything For Our Own Selves?

People do everything for their own self. When somebody said this to me long ago, I had dismissed the thought as useless banter, completely convinced that all we do is not just for ourselves. There are friends and family and bosses who receive our love, attachment and services.

I have seen my aunt working all day, doing all household chores with a smile, answering all my innocent questions why she didn’t get any time to rest and why she doesn’t get tired! She didn’t seem to work for her own self…one more convincing thought that reinforced that we don’t do everything for our own selves!!

Probably I wasn’t mature enough to understand or I didn’t want to. She worked all day because she didn’t have a choice. She had to make her place in the family she got married into. Those were the times when women who thought for themselves; got kicked out of the house they were married into.

This thought reverberated in my mind recently when I went to see a very sick friend who could barely recognize me or talk to me. As she lay there, struggling to talk to me in unrecognizable syllables, I felt so helpless. To be honest, I felt most uncomfortable and wanted to get out of her room as quickly as possible. I asked myself…‘what am I doing here?’

The answers that I tried to draw out of me were quite surprising and enlightening. ‘It was my moral duty.’ ‘I wanted to show I cared.’ ‘It was expected of me.’

All of them connected with me! Had I done this for my pride, my own ego and myself, in order to escape my own distress? Did I visit her for my own peace of mind?

Was it what experts call ‘psychological hedonism?’

Eager to seek more answers I went to the ultimate savior – ‘Google’ and discovered that Thomas Hobbes, the seventeenth century philosopher believed that ‘our self-interest reigns supreme in all our acts.’

I have spent many days pondering, watching, understanding and analyzing…small children grab and push to get their little goals accomplished, they refuse to share and have to be repeatedly told that sharing is a virtue. Siblings vie with each other to prove their worth, probably impelled by an innate competitive spirit.

Sportsmen do the same and even can hurt the players of another team to win.

We donate only those things, which we don’t need. Even those rich who donate liberally to exemplify their generosity make it a point to highlight their kind acts in one form or the other. All charity is done to satisfy our own ego, to gain recognition, fame and respect.

Are empathy, compassion and altruism mere words, which may compel us to put up a façade of humanity to alleviate the agony of others?

All we do for others can be summarized under three headings:

  • Moral duty, which we have to perform for our family and friends
  • Expectations of others to show that we are successful and working
  • Self-satisfaction

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” ― Aldous Huxley

All spiritual gurus and scriptures tell us that attachments are mere illusions. The sooner we detach ourselves from worldly possessions, the better it would be!

This paradox of accomplishing and then giving up with a smile and satisfaction has always confounded me.

Just look within and introspect! Ask this question to your inner self: ‘what have I done for others?’ I know many answers would crop up immediately but consider before blurting out…was it selfless? Did you do any good without expectations?

I agree with David Hume, “ There is some benevolence, however small, infused into our bosom; some spark of friendship for human kind; some particle of the dove, kneaded into our frame, along with the elements of the wolf and the dove.”

We have been trying to evolve into better beings. Good thoughts do influence us. Positivity does bring the best out of us but we need constant reminders so that those elements of ‘wolf,’ which are kneaded into our DNA, can be kept under wraps.

Many questions remain unanswered. Let’s discuss them in the comments section.

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

 

Emotional Constraints Of Circles…How To Break Free?

circles-of-life

Playing in circles have been the games of children, the most memorable one – ‘I wrote a letter to my father, on the way I dropped it…’ Circles never release us even when we grow out of those childhood games.

Emotions define us and make us human but they weaken us, as they possess the power to drag us down and go round and round in circles.

Life itself is an uncanny circle, William Shakespeare described it so well in his poem “The Seven Ages Of Man.” Can you escape it? Can you separate the emotional aspects of spheres that keep entangling you?

Natural gifts of the sun and the moon accentuate the role of circles in our lives. Whosoever thought that a marriage can be solemnized by going around in circles around the holy fire (fire-deity) must have got inspired from these truths of nature.

They overlooked the fact that moon doesn’t appear to be in its form all the time and the sun is too hot, symbolic of the heat generated by a marriage. They also ignored that when a sun is enclosed by clouds, it becomes powerless.

When you go round and round in circles, you don’t reach anywhere. It can be very agonizing and frustrating. Nothing seems to work according to your wishes and plans.

Whether it is a marriage or a stressful relationship, a job that you can’t afford to quit or family affairs that make you go round and round, offering no viable solution, life can become a struggle.

“Round and round in circles we go, clutching at successes we never grasp, endlessly tripping over the same old failures. Truly, life is the misery we endure between disappointments.” – Joe Abercrombie

All you need is change but it could seem impossible, scary and grim. My friend Lisa Thomson often speaks about it and how liberating change can be. But there are caveats attached to life-changing decisions and they are not easy. Emotional restrictions raise their heads most fiercely.

The struggle continues and sucks life out of you every single day.

When stepping out of the circles is not possible, liberation from asphyxiating circumstances can be done in our own way by the following steps, one at a time. Remember – ‘a single step can make the longest journey.’

Acceptance: If you don’t want to change, you need to accept the fact. It would bring some mental peace and calmness in the charged atmosphere. Certain things never change. Some people refuse to accept their role in creating unpleasantness. Learn to find your strength and confidence by leaving them with their perceptions. You can never change them.

Set your standards: Live according to your own desires and principles. Don’t sacrifice yourself and your own happiness for others, whosoever they may be. Never feel fettered to the ground situation. Think positive and follow the sunshine. Dark clouds have to disintegrate one day.circles-of-life

Live life in your own way: Don’t get intimidated or influenced by the emotions of others. Do what seems right and start taking your own decisions. Nurture self-love for healthy mental attitude. Compassion for our own self is equally important. Stop accepting excuses.

Lower your expectations: You may remain your former self and let your goodness permeate your surroundings. Be positive but don’t expect anything in return. Let that message pass around to all who try to annoy you with their petty acts.

Nurture hope. If you don’t have any hope from people around you, if they have disappointed you each time, have faith in yourself. You deserve better surroundings and better opportunities. Eventually you will find them. Karma steps in you reward you for your patience and benevolence.

Life may be circular but its circumference keeps getting wider for us to grow.

I am sure you can relate to these circles of life. Have you tried to step out? I would call that a very valiant attempt. Getting off the merry go round and boarding it again is indeed intrepid. Please share your thoughts about it.

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.

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