Day 55: Gaining perspective and understanding gratitude

This morning, whilst researching content for this week’s podcast about how to increase levels of Serotonin without medication, I stumbled across a clip titled “Allowing life to touch you“.

In it, Dr Devi Shetty (a renowned cardiac surgeon) and Sandhguru talk about the importance of touch. Dr Shetty talks about the importance of physical touch and Sandhguru explains being ‘touched by life’ in such a profound way, it made me see the drama I’ve been creating about wine and sugar in a completely new light.

Here is an excerpt (though I should say, to get the full effect, it would be best to watch the clip as some of the profoundness is lost in this format).

How many decades ago did you watch the sun rise? [The audience laughs.]

Or a sunset? Or a moon rise? I’m saying not touched by anything.

When is the last time you paid attention to a butterfly or a leaf or another human being? I’m saying contact with life, whether it’s human, animal, plant life.

How many people even take a moment to look at the food they’re going to consume with a little bit of involvement? Or, are they touched by it? No.

If you are not touched by life, you are a dying life. You are not a living life. It may happen to you after some time but it’s happening. You’re in progress.

The number of cells you have is more than the number of stars in the Milky Way. Every day, over 600 million billion cells are dying and new cells are being born. It means every second, 10 million cells are dying and 10 million new cells are being born in your body. If you just leave the old guys, just take charge of these new 10 million cells every second that’s coming up in your body, if you structure them properly, create them properly, if you have some say in how they will happen, if you have some influence as to how these fresh cells are born, your heart should be fixed, your brain should be fixed, everything should be fixed because that is the opportunity you have to rejuvenate your life second to second. But, because you’re totally oblivious to life, when I say oblivious to life, I want you to think about this. Right now, you cannot even call yourself a living being because most of the time what is happening with you is just thought and emotion. Thought and emotion is just psychological drama. It has no existential relevance. Here [gestures to the audience] a thousand people can sit here and live in a thousand different worlds right now. That means nobody is in reality. Nobody is living. Everybody is thinking about life.

Psychological space, what happens, has unfortunately overtaken the existential process of life. You do not experience life. You are only thinking and reacting to situations around you. Thought and emotion is dominating everything so, right now, Tuesday morning, sun came up on time. [Looks at the audience. Nobody responds]

You don’t think much of that, ok, so what? But you need to understand, if sun does not come up tomorrow morning, within 18 hours all life on this planet will largely cease as we know it. So I’m telling you, sun came up on time Tuesday morning. I want to hear appropriate noises. [Audience cheers] Yeah. None of the planets in the solar system collided today [Audience cheers]. The whole universe, no accidents. In this endless cosmos, no accidents. Everything is going great. But. You have one nasty little thought crawling around inside your head and it’s a bad day. I’m saying you’ve completely lost perspective with life. You lost perspective as to who you are, it’s a kind of madness.

Recently, I’ve been building myself up for the last 40 days of my 100 alcohol-free days because I’ll be going sugar free during that time too. Hearing Sandhguru speak, I realised how much unnecessary drama I had created. I realised I had turned myself into a kind of Alice in Wonderland  – except that I was in control of the way my world was distorting around me. Sandhguru’s words gave me perspective as I saw my thoughts at their actual size within the grand scheme of the universe. Utterly irrelevant. I realise they won’t always feel that way and there will still be days when I get overwhelmed but reminding myself of the lessons in this talk will be a great way to ground myself and remind me to look outwards.

The second thing I took away from this talk is about the practice of gratitude. It’s something I did for a while – keeping a gratitude journal and writing 3 good things that happened each day. I didn’t find the practice particularly rewarding and didn’t experience the great shifts people profess to experience but I realise now, that had something to do with how I was doing it. I searched my memories of each day to come up with something I could feel grateful about. It felt like I was reaching.

Listening to Sandhguru, something clicked. Every day, I wake to my family, my home, enough food, clothes for all seasons, my health and hundreds of other things. Our sun rises every day. The cosmos of our existence ticks over each day without dramatic incident or accident. I don’t need to write 3 things every day. I need only look around me and notice all the things I am blessed to have and be a part of while all those things remain in my life.

All that puts cake and wine in a completely different light!

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