I am not exactly a social butterfly, but more a wallflower who hides from those she wishes to stay away from. Ever since I was young, I never really felt the need to add anything to social gatherings. I was always the one to either hide (if I didn’t like the guests that were coming over) or the one that simply stayed quiet, observed and reflected. The only time I was less quiet is when my sisters and massi’s (aunts) came around. That’s when I would happily wander around the house – lighting candles in every corner of the house and make chai (tea) and food for everyone, whilst enjoying their presence and snuggling in between them.
Of course, being shy played a huge role in my social behaviour, but even after I managed to overcome my shyness, I rarely felt like engaging in conversations. It wasn’t until I was 28 that I was able to have an “empty” hi, hello, lovely weather type of conversation – before that I would just stay awkwardly quiet (this is something which often makes me giggle when I think back).
The truth is that I find it hard to talk about things that do not matter, or to talk about other people and their lives. A lot of people, for example, find it interesting to figure out what other people are doing, what kind of work they are doing etc. how many degrees they have and much more. Yet, it is not something I enjoy discussing, because it doesn’t say anything about the individual, but more about his or her labels. Of course, just like asking someone what the weather is like and how they are doing, asking about one’s career or education is just another social question we learn to ask and take interest in. However, if it was up to me, I’d rather speak about self-development, learn about new philosophical teachings, read Rumi’s work, listen to Saints and Mystics.. speak about something that has value and can help me grow or otherwise sit together in silence and soak in the energy of His remembrance.
It saddens me to see families that spend all their lives together in vain. Merely out of attachment, out of habit and social obligations (and/or cultural traditions/values). Moreover, missing each other madly and having to speak to each other all the time – has become a symbol of what we believe to be love. But is it really? Why does loving one’s family or friends can only be proven, when you miss them, call them all the time, visit them all the time etc. and only follow what they do and/or think. For example, in a lot of traditional families, children are told off for being different, having different perspectives or preferences. But why do we need to be the same, to show that we love others?
Recently, we were visiting a family who kept repeating how important it is to miss your family, how they miss their children when they are away and pray daily that they return etc. After sharing their emotions for one hour, they turned to me and asked me if I don’t miss my parents and family, since I live abroad. Now, ideally, I should have said ‘yes, I do’, so that they could move on with their conversation in peace. However, being the anti-social wallflower that I am, I wasn’t able to do that and had to (awkwardly) share my philosophical views of life. This obviously resulted in a few moments of silence, before they quickly spoke about something else.
Even though, I never said, I don’t miss my parents and family, they somehow felt that, that was exactly what I meant haha. My family with God’s grace is very relaxed, my parents have never really been very demanding. We call each other every other day, but there is never a must to call – we simply call, whenever we feel like it. We meet each other, whenever we can, but at the same time, they understand my responsibilities abroad and don’t mind it if I can’t come. This doesn’t mean we don’t miss each other, but we have given each other mutual freedom and respect each other’s journey.
In the end, that is what life is about: to experience every moment, to utilise every second of life in a good manner – to purify one self, to reflect and focus on self-development. It is to move beyond the known (that which we grow up with), to leave the nest and explore life beyond our comfort zone. And this is exactly why having a family is a blessing, for it is a secure space, which we can connect to whenever we need it, to learn from our wise elders, to rejuvenate and re-energise, to heal ourselves or to fill ourselves with love and light. However, if we use that same space, to imitate our forefathers and do what we see around us, without questioning it or making it our own, then what’s the point of being alive? For even the act of breathing won’t be an individual experience, but something we merely copied.
This is one of the reasons, why I often question the company of those who sit together in vain. Who stick to traditions that go against humanity, who are focused on pride, whilst putting others down. (Think about the caste system, cultural traditions etc.) What is the purpose of being together, of being part of a large family or community, when the only purpose is to move in the exact same manner: the way they learned it from their families, without questioning or wondering whether they believe in the things they do or say. What is the point of meeting one another, when nothing but negative energy and ignorant words are shared? What is the point of maintaining such social responsibilities, when your presence cannot help or elevate another soul? Or to follow your family’s traditions or religion – without receiving the opportunity to experience religion and God yourself? We don’t always have to have ‘wise’ conversations, but it surely is our responsibility to not speak in vain, to think about our actions and to manage our energy in a good manner. After all, when our mind is engrossed in negativity – then that is exactly what we gift to our surroundings.
With my love & light,