Monday, 23 January 2017

3 Ways To Keep Yourself Sane

Oh yes. You read that right. In a world that claims that everybody in the society is as deranged as you are, I am choosing to write an article on how to keep yourself sane. And yes, I would not disagree with Susan Sontag’s words stating, Sanity is a cozy lie.

All I am saying is, life is harsh and it has a way of hitting you so hard that you sometimes lose sight of your track. In these times, here’s what I suggest you do in order to not lose hope and to gather the courage to face all the obstacles thrown your way.

#1. Art

As Elliot Eisner says, Art is the literacy of the heart. Regardless of which form of art you indulge in, be it calligraphy, drawing, engraving, sculpture, dance, theatre or poetry, art has a way of giving a purpose to your life. There will be ups and there will be downs in life. And it will be as difficult to handle success as it is to handle failure. (I know you’re looking at me with your eyes open in wide disbelief, reader. How can success be difficult to handle? It’s because we spend whole of our life running so fast towards success that when we actually have the success within our reach, we don’t know what to do with it. Because we were never ever taught how to handle success.)

But what will give you the strength to handle this roller coaster is an art that you deeply connect to and are deeply invested in. Art has a way of grounding you in a way that nothing else can. Also, art forms give you a very good guise of venting your emotions. Take theatre for example. In the process of a performance, the performer `laughs, cries, gets angry and even celebrates. He/She is not forced to put on the emotionless mask that society usually forces people to put on. This loud and clear display of emotions actually rejuvenates them and lead them to a more healthy life.

In an age when even kids are forced to restrict their emotions and when the do’s and don'ts define even something as natural as mourning, it is extremely important to find a channel to vent out these bottled up emotions.

#2. Meditation

For all those who saw the word “meditation” and went “OMG! Who talks about meditation in this day and age? It is so old fashioned! Let me tell you that the west is not the ultimate intellectual heaven that you perceive it to be. The east has its own distinct culture, which has come up with discoveries that are as valid as, if not more than, the west. (The only difference is that we did not know how to market our discoveries and theories as well as the west.)

So, let’s come back to the point of meditation. As Sri Chinmoy said, The stormy life can be braved only by the heart’s sunny meditations. And meditation does not only mean spending years on the Himalayan slopes in search of your ‘true soul’. If you spend at least five minutes a day in complete peace, doing nothing and thinking no thoughts, just enjoying the beauty of that moment, it classifies as meditation in my dictionary (My dictionary is a bit different from the standardized Oxford dictionaries that you get these days. You can borrow it from me if you want).

And this is the type of meditation that is the most important. Those five minutes when you’re not running towards the next checkpoint in the rat race, your mind actually has the complete freedom to wander into thoughts that you never let it explore (Simply because who has the time to engage in thoughts that do not lead to concrete results?) And this contemplative dreams actually let you believe (even if it’s  just for a moment) that fairy tales might just be real.

#3. Pray

As Gordon B. Hinkley says, If life gets too hard to stand, kneel. It doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not. And if you do, it doesn’t matter which God you believe in. Praying is a sort of process that is both empowering and humbling at the same time because it gives you hope. And as it is said, Hope. Sometimes that’s all you have nothing else. If you have it, you have everything.

Taking some time out of your busy routine to talk to God and feeling thankful for the little moments in life that you’re graced with gives you the strength to endure this crazy world.

In the end, it is important to know that it’s impossible to be completely sane. As Seneca says, There is no great genius without some touch of madness. So remember that’s it’s okay to be crazy at times (as long as your friends don’t drag you to a mental hospital.)

Written by Aneri Doshi
What makes my heart race? Books, Coffee and Rain

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