These days mindfulness is a new buzzword. Many schools in the West are teaching meditation to their students. It appears that many ideas from the East have made their way to the West. Yoga, meditation, astrology and even food ingredients like turmeric are part of a new craze in the West. It seems that these ideas will go through the full circle of East to West and back to the East. After all, life is a circle. This is a fundamental principle behind eastern philosophy.
What should we make of these cycles? They help to ensure the flow of ideas. Just as rivers have currents, so do ideas. Ideas are the new currency in today’s times. They help to keep things in motion. We are nothing without ideas. They originate in one country, captivate the imagination of people and move to other countries. Take running for instance. We are witnessing a running boom with people across the world taking to this sport. Marathons became popular in the West and now we see marathons being organized across the length and breadth of India.
However, it is not as if India was unfamiliar with running as an activity. During the Mughal era, there were runners called harkaras who delivered messages. Of course, it is well known that the Greeks in ancient times used to employ such messengers too. So, here again we see cycles of popularity. It is through these cycles that we get to see that humans might belong to different countries but we are inherently the same. We have similar motivations and what drives us is not too different.
Another idea which unites us all is the idea of a calling. Without knowing our calling, we walk this planet lost and without a goal. There are various ways to get to know your calling. However, they all require you to introspect and analyze yourself. No matter how much technology you surround yourself with, it will not help you to know your calling. Astrology, meditation and running are some of the tools that we have at our disposal to understand ourselves better.
So, what happens to people who do not know their calling? And, what difference does a calling make in any case? A calling gives purpose to life and makes you feel that you matter. We are all pieces in the jigsaw puzzle of life. A calling helps you to fit in the larger scheme of life. But answering one’s calling takes time and effort. It is not a quick fix solution to get rich and happy. At times, it takes years of dedication and hard work to develop the skills needed to make money of your calling. Well, there’s a reason that some of us can live up to a hundred years. Devoting six-seven years of life to explore your calling should not be an issue.
Answering the calling adds good karma to your life. We all have karmic accounts from previous lives. These accounts have a mix of good karma and bad karma. Some of this karma may not be from us but we are carriers of it. For instance, Hitler did a lot of injustice and left behind a lot of bad karma. That karma has to be distributed among people who can balance it by doing good karma in their life. Eventually, no matter how much good karma one accumulates there is no escape from the cycle of birth and death. I like to think of it as being a drop of water which is part of the water cycle. It descends on the Earth through rain/snow/ice/hail and becomes a part of water bodies or rests on land. It then returns to the clouds through evaporation. Along the way, this drop of water mingles, influences and gets influenced by other drops of water.
If there is no escape from the cycle of birth and death then why be bothered with answering a calling? A calling anchors you. It grounds you and helps you to make sense of the world. Each of us is blessed with a unique quality which helps us develop a world-class skill that makes us shine in a particular field. So, even if there isn’t an escape from the birth and rebirth cycle answering your calling can make you rich and famous. And, wealth and fame are always in demand.
Keep in mind that a calling may at times be at odds with your family background and even your genes. You could be from a business family and dream of being a marathon runner. Or you could hail from a family of doctors and wish to be a poet. A calling is inherently individualistic and distinctively ‘you’. It is part of how you express yourself as a person. And, it is only when you think about your calling and your childhood that you understand that even at a young age you were interested in that field.
Ultimately, we all wish to leave our individual stamp on the world. Some manage to do so in a big way and are celebrities. Others do it in their own small way of touching lives by being teachers or social workers. You may wonder if teaching is somebody’s calling then how does that person become rich and famous? It depends on how that person goes about their life. Teaching may be part of that person’s larger journey in life. He/she could go on to be a writer or politician. It may be a case of multiple callings.
As I wrote earlier in this piece, mindfulness is part of a new craze in the West. There has been a cross-pollination of ideas from the East and West. The East has taken to running while the West has adopted mindfulness. Both these activities help one to get in touch with one’s psyche and understand oneself better. This helps to know more about what a calling could be for a person. Ultimately, it all boils down to how well you know yourself. This will stand you in good stead not just from a calling perspective but in life. After all, we all want to accumulate good karma and balance out the bad karma that we may be carrying. Know thyself and answer your calling to get ahead not just in this life but for the future.