India is a case study of resilience through motion and adhering to one’s calling in life. The idea of ‘motion’ or nomadic life runs deep in our Indian culture. Our rivers flowing endlessly across the vast landscape, giving life to the parched lands, are personified as metaphors of creativity and serve as timeless symbols of state transformations. The timeless whirl of bhikshus and monks wandering for alms in exchange of advice and wisdom for better living, jhum cultivation obeying the rhythms of nature, continuous growth of clusters and settlements in steady flux of self organizing movements, people in search of work, sadhus (seers) and pilgrims, mobile fairs and haat bazzars (markets), itinerant pilgrims, performers, pastoralists, bards and tellers of myths all embody the notion of ‘motion’; all performing simultaneously on the thin veneer of our ancient but extremely flexible and adaptable ‘culture’.
No wonder India is home to the world’s largest nomadic population always on ‘motion’. Nowhere else is there such a variety of people herded and ceaselessly moving in a self organizing way giving rise to complex patterns nor can the diversity of peripatetic professions be matched.
Yet in our post modern times the sedimentary have increasingly come to represent the ‘civilized’. The mainstream (the sedentary) stands oblivious to the pull of the wanderers and the scribes and the worlds of the nomads have been circumcised’ to the odd curious enthusiasts. Little wonder, nomads are considered ‘strangers’ where ‘strangers’ in principle are ‘undesirable’ people.
And how does this ‘undesirable’ attitude surface? ‘Indifference’ is the shield used by ‘foreigners’ (the non nomads) when they meet nomads. Insensitive and aloof the foreigner seems deep down beyond the reaches of attacks and rejection that he/she nevertheless experiences with the vulnerability of a living and tortuous ‘medusa’.
Such a ‘medusa’ painfully brings on an ‘identity’ of ‘being’ something distinct from others with a fixed character of its own. What it fails to realize or let go is that our identity is changed in a nomadic style by the journey we undertake in life where both our ‘subjectivity’ and ‘objectivity’ towards ‘reality’ is recomposed, rediscovered, redesigned and evolved. What we fail to realize or give up or let go is that in this transformation every step forward is a step backwards too. Without this necessary stepping back I can’t go forward. The migrant (nomad) is here and there too at the same time. The exile from the ‘nomad’ life can be deadening with the lack of ‘stretching’ and ‘folding’, which every movement entails. Such ‘stretching’ and ‘folding’ is nomadic symbolizing ‘movement’ that is potentially creative through unleashing ‘chaos’. It can also be an affliction but can also be a transfiguration. Whatever it might be it is a vital resource to create the necessary movement from ‘being’ to ‘becoming’.
If that is so what happens to my identity of ‘being’. My ‘being’ existence is actually non-existent. Is my identity not with ‘being’ but ‘becoming’? Do I live always on the edge of a frontier – a place for separation, transition and new articulation of a state that I haven’t seen or enjoyed before? In ‘becoming’ am I relieved of the odd task of constantly creating a boundary and jealously guarding it against attacks or rejection by constantly stepping back to cross or transgress it?
I realize that I am stranger to my ‘becoming’ state. What would happen is not known to me. What I would do as a response is also not known to me. In the state of becoming I change myself physically, mentally and spiritually and nothing is known to me in advance or ever would.
That to me is the cyclical principle of resilience gained through the constant act of self renewal through ‘becoming’ leading to self transformation.
What helps me do that? Obviously the mind which itself is ‘nomadic’. I can use it the way I would like to evolve, change, be creative and change the course of my destiny and self transform myself. I know the ‘why’ and ‘whom does it serve’ but I still remain a stranger to the ‘what’ and ‘how’ in any given moment in my movement.
That allows me to develop the ability to concentrate or be focused & also keep up a defused state of attentive awareness of the contextual surroundings at the same time (integration of the left & right brains). It is the fine art of being focused on the part and the whole at the same time enabling me to flow with the dance of Shiva. That truly makes my mind & spirit nomadic, enabling flashes of fresh and original insights to act upon.
This video link below shows how we integrate our right and left brains in real situations and how such integration leads to ‘becoming’ rather than ‘being’. Though I would always stay a stranger to that ‘becoming’ I refuse to remain a stranger to my present moment that informs my ‘becoming’.
One thing I am sure of — Nomadic life – physically, mentally and spiritually – is usually the most gainful and risk free mode of resilient survival as it allows freedom from the limitations of confined space and time – the final form of slavery & exploitation, created by seemingly rational concepts, ideas and notions.
Living the life of a nomad is fun too since I would always stay a stranger to myself. It is a practice I love. Rightfully it is the only way one hugs resilience since it helps me to create what I want to. The practice is through travel to unfamiliar lands with new eyes and minds, engaging in spontaneous dialogs, self-study, storytelling, expressing differently through various forms of arts, interactions, improving interdependence and meditative reflection where both the right and the left brains are not only integrated but allowed to come into play simultaneously as a contextual response to real situations.
A few days from now, India celebrates Deepwali — the festival of ‘lights’. It reminds me of a celebration of a nomadic journey, thousands of years back, taken down the southern path of India (one of the two main trade routes) by Rama the hero of the epic story of Ramayana. It represents lighting the inner lamp to ‘becoming’ and to be a lamp onto others. It also reminds us to wish everyone Health, Happiness and Wealth so that the best things in life come back to us manifolds by creating sustainability and resilience at the same time.
On this auspicious occasion I dedicate this post to the Health, Happiness and Wealth of all who care to read this post or don’t care to glimpse through it.
But the question is “would you like to join me in the fun of moving and enjoying Shiva’s dance by being a stranger to yourself in the nomadic way?”
Would eagerly wait for you!
10 thoughts on “Resilience through self renewal!”
Here is Martin Heidegger’s formulation of the problem that you have so well answered.
We were born into a world of quiet conformity.
Initially everything we do and say and think and believe
have been done and said and thought and believed before.
The activities we regard as worthy of our time and effort (learning, work, play),
the ultimate values and meanings we pursue (achievement, love, children),
and the particular styles and forms thru which we pursue these goals
have all been provided by our various human cultures.
How different our lives are from the lives of ancient ‘cavemen’!
Unless we find ways to wrest control of our own lives from society,
all of our decisions will continue to be made for us
by the unnoticed forces of the cultures in which we live.
We may not be told which spouse to ‘choose’ or which job to take,
but how free are we to reject both marriage and work as basic styles of life?
How have we been carried along so successfully by culture without noticing it?
‘They’ even hide the process by which ‘they’ have quietly relieved us
of the ‘burden’ of making choices for ourselves.
It remains a complete mystery who has really done the choosing.
We are carried along by the ‘nobody’, without making any real choices,
becoming ever more deeply ensnared in inauthenticity.
This process can be reversed only if we explicitly
bring ourselves back from our lostness in the ‘they’.
But this bringing-back must have that kind of being
by the neglect of which we have lost ourselves in inauthenticity.
[Martin Heidegger Being & Time, Macquarrie p. 312-313; Stambaugh p. 248; paraphrase]
How can we bring ourselves back from our lostness in conformity?
What have we neglected, which has allowed our culture to absorb us?
How can we re-possess our lives, wrench ourselves away from the ‘they’?
Thank you so much for the wonderful deep comment. Self transformation is the key to all that we strive for or hold dear. The dialog we have had a few days back on that wet afternoon did help me to find the last missing piece of the puzzle I have been trying to solve for so long. It was like Raga Marwa that evoked in me a feeling of quiet acceptance of what helped me grow with a quality of gentle compassion to recognize the unrelenting nomad in me. Thank you for the all that and the endless cups of tea I enjoyed at your lovely home.
A most excellent exposition of what happens to be ancient knowledge – neophytes and aspirants in the paths of the mystics the world over had tried achieving this state of consciousness, this perception, this state of spontaneity of thought that Dibyenduda has so portrayed with efficacious simplicity. It is reminiscent of the Shu-ji, a focussing technique used in Ninpo, the composite psychosomatic discipline that the Shinobi Yamabushi -“Mountain Warriors”, the “tantrics” of japanese Shintoism and the forerunners of later-day Ninjutsu, used to not just clear the mind, but “cleanse” it of info bytes that would function as clutter…the expressions associated with the exercise is as follows:
U – being
Mu – non-being
Suigetsu – moonlight on the water
Jo – inner sincerity
Shin – master of the mind
Sen – thought precedes action
Shinmyoken – where the tip of the sword settles
Kara – emptiness; void
For cutting the “ideograms”, as the exercise was called, these states first required to be accessed, and then anchored, and finally paced-in. Had the NLP master coaches been exposed to any one intervention, they would abandon all tools to follow..if a ICF certified facilitator was exposed, he/she would be spellbound…I am none, and yet, I cannot but hail Dibyenduda for having not only found The Way, but articulated it in such a simple, simple exposition. Superb!!!!!!
Thank you so much for your lovely comment, which added a lot of value and clarity to the post. This is in fact the secret to Resilience, Sustainability and Reliability applicable to the technology we work with, the organizations we work for, the networked communities we engage with and our selves in the process of renewal and continual transformation.
A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I think that you need to
write more about this subject, it may not be a taboo matter but
usually folks don’t speak about these topics. To the next!
Thank you for your comment and inspiration to write more about this subject.
Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and
starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done
a extraordinary job!
Thank you so much for your comment. Would be very interested to know about your new project in a community.
___123___Resilience through self renewal! – rmcpl___123___
Yes. Agree. Continual self reflection, understanding and self renewal hold the keys to resilience.