This is a rambling post. Rambling relieves anxiety and helps clarify and illuminate the rambler’s mind.
Much has been going on this kArtIka mAsam.
One thing that is uppermost on the nation’s mind is of course the sudden de-monetisation. Everyone I’ve met is happy and excited about it. It has given hope to the hopeless. It has brought a lot of changes into my life… the keyword for all transactions being CASHLESS.
That means I had a LOT of learning to do with apps and payments and what I can and cannot do with what. Since there is a lot of competition for the eWallets or mWallets., there are a lot of promotions (which I had blissfully ignored previously). Each of these Wallets is good for something and not good for something. Each business wants to keep your change and refunds in their own wallets. Eventually someone will win. Today it looks like paytm will win. Because of their offers and because of the range of acceptance and because you can take money out of it back into your “real” account. And it does not “lapse” like the gift card balances in amazon for example. Today I actually paid for dinner using my cell phone. It was fun. My mobile wallet is as light as my real wallet.
I have also withdrawn 2000 Re notes from the ATM twice and spent them in shops and got real cash change. Sometimes I like going to a real shop and choosing what I like and paying cash. Sometimes I find shops and shop keepers very tiring and draining.
Trash is another thing.
I found a veg seller who is happy to accept the plastic covers that bread, coffee, noodles, rice etc. etc. are packaged in. They can use them to put chillies or lemons or something and give it to customers who have forgotten their bags. Re-use is better than recycle I think, so if these bags are used a couple more times before recycling that will be good. They also agreed to give my used-rinsed-milk-packets to the raddi buyer. In shops, we return bills, boxes and packets to the seller wherever possible. I hear many people are doing this. The raddi buyer collects all these from the shops sells them to the re-cyclers. The sheep, cows and goats that graze in the neighbouring sites are very happy with fruit peels etc. Plants like coffee grounds. Small steps…
Food is yet another thing.
Today I discovered to my horror that sour cream and jelly etc are made from gelatin which is made from animal parts. I am a lacto-ovo-asian-vegeterian. It is alarming and confusing when something that looks like milk-cream is in fact made from animal parts.
I have learned to make paneer (Indian Cheese) and whey using milk and lemon juice. Even spoiled milk can be used since the bad bacteria die when you boil the milk. I watch how food is processed on TV shows like Food factory and Food Tech. Sometimes I learn a new skill. Sometimes I learn what foods to give up eating.
Housework is a biggie.
I deliberately chose a lifestyle where I do my own housework and by hand as far as possible. It keeps me physically active, keeps the house clean, saves money and electricity. I recently hired domestic help for a couple of days and realised that they in fact make more work for me. They work in too many houses to do a perfect job for anyone. And the Exclusive ones are Really Expensive. So I just have to do my own work and plan my time better.
Play is a new re-addition.
I love it. It makes me glad to be alive though it does remind me how tired, old and close to the end I am. And over time, I expect my stamina will improve and I may feel fitter.
My son has started teaching me Classical Mechanics. So that I can move from Popular Science to a formal rigorous study. This is quite challenging and extremely invigorating. I have to remember some old maths lessons and forget some limiting ideas and get back into mental form. With study my life has gone from empty to over-flowing in just a few days.
I’ve given up trying to find any. Most jobs don’t want me and I don’t seem to want the ones that do.
Movies, books and T.V.
I am a story teller. First and Last. Always have been. And I love to listen to good stories. Recent movies I enjoyed are – The Walk, Dr. Strange, Fantastic Beasts and where to find them. I didn’t like Han Solo dying in Star Wars – The Force Awakens. And I didn’t like the heroes fighting each other in a recent Captain America. I liked Still Alice and Spotlight. I like watching the international news channels and the learning/science channels. I’ve grown tired of Stephen Colbert and such talk shows.
Far from the Madding Crowd – I like the movie and the beginning of the book. But I am not able to finish it. There is too much emotional hardship I do not wish to read about. So I have slowed down like anything.
Chanting at least once a day is mandatory for my mental health. I cannot do without it at all. It replaces anxiety with calmness. It puts me in mind of the divine and of wonder and cleanses me of all the samsāra mala.
brahma satyam. jagat mithyam.
I saved the best bit for last.
In Indian Hindu philosophy it is knowledge that leads to conviction. By dispelling all doubts and illuminating the mind.
It occurred to me that most people trust the senses to the extent that the other humans and science validate what the senses report. Everyone’s actions and behaviour demonstrate that they hold the jagat to be true.
And many people are unsure of the brahman, even their own experience of it. The sensory world is illusory enough and what lies beyond the senses cannot be easily validated by others or by science.
Many people behave as if the jagat is satyam and brahma is mithyam.
I suggest that we keep reminding ourselves that brahma is satyam – the brahman is real. Take that as a fact and derive all things from that.
Remembering brahma satyam reduces anxiety like anything. It heightens the perception of beauty all around. Increases tolerance of other humans and helps in understanding animals, nature and anything else. It reduces the importance that the jagat keeps demanding for itself.
Now I’m too sleepy to ramble. Thanks for your indulgence.