La Douleur Exquise – A Lost Dedication

I’ve seen the sun rising, and I’ve seen it go down;

But your beautiful face hasn’t alighted upon my eyes yet.

The darkness overwhelming, I couldn’t bear to think not,

about the sleepless night that lay awake before me.

Beheld, I surely did, in my dreams many a nights back,

But to behold you, my dream, I could not yet.

The light has come, and passed away –

The light that shows my path to you.

Where can I now grope towards in the darkness?

But in my mind’s eye, I can see you, yes,

the same light shining brighter than ever, like a flame.

Like a flame being tried to be suppressed by the winds.

And you have come, like the sweet refreshing breeze of spring,

that thaws the cold frozen heart with hope and love.

but flew past, just as fast as I tried to breathe in.

And soon, another night will pass, as I stare

into the darkness, at your reflection in the open space.

In the moon, I see you, yes. But it is the sunshine

that makes me want to look into those depths.

Those depths where I see myself – Your eyes!

Hope drives me, the hope that the sun will rise again,

as it lights my path, showing you nearer,

an all encompassing light that fills

my heart with love and my soul with joy –

The light that fills me with you!

*La Douleur Exquise (French): The heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can’t have.

La douleur exquise gets at the emotional heartache, specifically, of being the one whose love is unreciprocated.

Humbleness

Have you, dear reader, ever met someone whom you felt to be great? Great not in the sense of their exuberance, but some little characteristic feature that marks them to be beautiful as a person – that little thing is humbleness, a low voice often dominated by the loftiness of ostentation. And we all give in to it, for it gives us a sense of gratification, a feeling of self-imposed importance in the eyes of others, for we all live for the eyes of others, after all… until we realize that it doesn’t really matter.

Eleanor Roosevelt famously said,  ‘You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do’. Our display of excellence, of unabashed greatness with impudence does impress people, and often, quite a lot of them,  but for a minor few – for almost everyone look at shining surface  the ocean but only a rare few dive into it – for almost all of us are afraid of the truth, whatever it might correspond to. The truth has many forms, just like energy ( after all,  everything is energy ), and one form is that the universe is a cyclic function of time.  Whatever it is that rises will fall and whatever that falls shall rise again. Everything reaches its apex and comes down and again strives to reach its paramount – be it the stock markets or the evolution of species!  The same laws apply to everything in nature, and these laws by themselves are simple, but their applications and effects astounding. One simple example in this context is that when the markets rise, we tend to get hyper excited about them and put in all our money only to watch it drown in the crash that follows, and we remove all our investments from it while it is low,  to see it rise immensely and repent for not having persevered.  The waves reach their peak but they ultimately crash, and after each crash, another one rises again.

That’s the way the laws work. We become arrogant when we thrive in our little communities, when we hold power, we involuntarily become more condescending. But ultimately, the power will be diminished, our superiority forgotten, and then, in the low, we suffer while we watch others rise as we fall. Take yourself out but for a mere moment and behold what is happening and the truth will alight before you. Your humbleness when you are high gains you your respect even when you are in the lows. And you will be thriving again, shortly after, but remember that so does everyone else you are patronizing now.

Motivation

You only get that which you tolerate. Accept mediocrity, and you will be stuck in it forever. Tolerate it, and you will get comfortable with it. And, the law of inertia does work even here as well. Accepting where you are is not bad in itself. But accepting that you are destined to be there is. Everybody wants to break free – from financial worries, social problems, stress and a lot of other things. But our lives are stuck in a vicious circle, a closed feedback loop, and it is hard – very hard –  to get out of it. You are comfortable doing something, and you do it again, and you get more comfortable doing it, and this repeats. You do not want to get out of this – after all, it is very comfortable here, isn’t it? But there lies the catch.

Somewhere deep inside your heart, or rather say, your subconscious mind, you feel the need to be different, you find a little dying fire that is struggling to be kindled. But it is only a whisper – a faint one – which but often gets drained in the shouts that you are comfortable as you are. Of course you are, and of course you are also aware of the fact that your true success lies just out of your comfort zone.

Because, in the growth curve, if you stay where you are, you haven’t made any progress, you are a constant. And what do we derive out of a constant?  A Big Zero.

So now you have acknowledged that you need to be more than what you are, you read some self-help books, watch a video or two from TED and pump yourself up, hit the gym, study harder, give more into your relationships, work more productively, and most of all, think more optimistically. But all this lasts only for a day or two, by when reality kicks in and everything is the same again. And you say, motivation is fake. It doesn’t last. It is delusional. It is only temporary. It simply doesn’t work. And you throw up your hands.

Well, let me tell you, by following your very own logic, that fire is fake – It doesn’t last. It is delusional. It is only temporary. Sounds odd doesn’t it? Everything in the world follows the same laws of nature. Motivation is like fire. To keep it burning, you need to fuel it every time. You cannot water your plants once and expect them to bloom for an entire season. It is absurd. And so is your desire for motivation to last. 

But, just as there are cactus plants and camels, there is a way to make it last longer. And that is possible by knowing that motivation is of two basic types: The Push Model, and The Pull Model. To put it in an unpretentious way, the former is when you get motivated to do something for avoiding the negative effects of not doing it – And this is the most common form in the majority of us. But it subsides as soon as the object of your uncomfortability lowers its intensity. The latter is a more long term oriented one, wherein you get motivated to do something because of your vision to be greater than you are now. And this is what lasts, because your vision attracts you with such an intensity that you get pulled towards it.

Read a thousand self-help books, and they all tell you the same thing in different ways. They are all different ways towards achieving the same goal – motivation; A striking analogy to religions, whose meaning has been subject to labefaction in recent times. So the next time you read a self-help book or try to motivate yourself, do also motivate yourself for motivating yourself regularly.

Beauty and Thought

Leaving aside the cliched saying: “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”, which is invariably true but does not concern us at the moment, what does concern us is the fact that the definition of beauty has varied profoundly over the centuries.

In the seventeenth and major part of the eighteenth centuries, if one takes the pain or pleasure to observe, it is prominent from every form of art and literature that round, plump and curvaceous figures were considered to be beautiful, which is quite antagonistic to the present times wherein sharp and anorexic figures take their place.

That being said, solid proof exists for the fact that a man is nothing but his thoughts, not just in the sense that man becomes what he thinks, but in the sense that thought is all that is of the man, nothing more or nothing less; And when man is nothing more but thought, and thought is everything that is there, then an interaction between two individuals is essentially ought to be a truck between two thought processes or ideologies, and in this sense, it is evident that a perception of beauty is a perception of how aesthetic or intellectual the thought process is. How in such a context would then come a juxtaposition of physical characteristics? And to what extent can man base his views on intellectual understanding while keeping aside the sensory inputs of physical attributes?