My Digital Universe, Portfolio

On the mind

Hearing is involuntary but listening is a choice. You don’t have to listen to all the voices that you hear. Exercise control when it comes to who and what you authorize to influence your mind.

Yes, you are the gatekeeper of your mind.

The senses are mere receptacles. Your mind has the power to decide whether to push play or pause. What about the involuntary noises? Exercise control and selectivity. In order to do this effectively and consistently, one must come to the realization that the soul itself is the controller of your life.

The soul is not a control freak, it’s there for a purpose but it won’t execute that purpose without willingness. If the purpose of the soul is to create, it will wait till the vessel (you) are ready both in your mind and body. You hold the key to your soul, mind and body.

Mind and perception

Perhaps we forget that we are not our body, we are not our mind, we are not our soul … we are but one and all. What you can comprehend is what you will perceive. From what you perceive you will derive your filtered version of comprehension and from that comprehension you will execute actions that will create your experiences. Not a single piece of the universe is out of place. If it was, life will not be sustainable. So, be selective. Life is infinite. Possibilities are endless.

“Make your dreams out of rubber balls, they won’t drown.

If you throw it away, it will bounce back!

Rubber balls are fun, not just for you but for others too.”

My Digital Universe, Poems, Portfolio

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela

I recently published my first poetry book: Table Nomad: A Wanderer’s Collection on Amazon. Writing poetry is something very personal. Self-publishing, designing and creating the layout myself, made it a bit more intimate.

I learnt a lot of new skills and polished up on existing ones during this process. Adobe InDesign was completely new to me when I first started to layout my book. I was in Munnar, India at that time, taking a break from extensive traveling. While taking a few days to relax, I suddenly felt the urge to finally put together this book. I had most of the content written already. I also had over 10,000 images from my travels. So, it was a matter of putting it all together.

“It’s not about doing everything alone. It’s more about learning something new and applying that knowledge in the practical world.”

Here are three lessons I learned from the writing and publishing process:

Lesson 1: To make an idea come into reality, one must take action

I’ve thought about it. Talked about it. Dreamed about it. One day I finally realized that what’s left is, to simply do it. The hardest part of an extensive project is getting things going. Over the years, I’ve found that whenever I get myself to start something, I tend to follow through. There’s something in me that doesn’t want to back down once I start something. So, I started by subscribing to InDesign. Now it was serious, I have made an investment in a tool that I had no clue how to operate! My brain figured out what needed to happen next and soon I had gathered my pieces of writing that were stored on websites, Instagram and my notes.

Lesson 2: Getting different perspectives and opinions are good, but at the end you must decide

When I started arranging the poems and images, I asked a couple of friends for their opinions. It was good to know what others were seeing and understand whether your creation is communicating the right message. However, the ultimate decision to decide on which font to use and how to format an image was up to me. There were times that I doubted myself. It can be frustrating when you can’t decide on something. But, in order to make progress, we must make a decision and stick with it. Yes, sometimes it’s risky. Yes, we must live with the consequences of our decisions. But, it’s also all about your outlook. We can always learn from a mistake. The good thing in the digital age is that we can change things easily. Which leads to my next lesson …

Lesson 3: Be open to change and don’t settle

I first got a taste for making corrections and revisions during my master’s thesis. I am thankful for my thesis chair for pushing me to revise, re-write and redo. It can be extremely frustrating to find an error right when you think it’s ready to go live. But finding errors and having the ability to correct them is a blessing in disguise. Yes, it can take a toll on you after the 10th time, but it teaches you to become more careful and pay attention to detail. In the beginning, I wanted to publish around 50 poems and sayings with images. When I realized that the cost was too high to do color images, I was disappointed. I felt as if all my efforts had come to a standstill.

Determination is a fascinating quality. Couple that with the ability to make compromises, it’s not too hard to find win-wins. I had to change my book to meet the practical aspects of publishing. So, I made the photography and poetry (color) version available digitally and created a poetry only paperback version. I didn’t get everything I wanted. But then again, I did.

Digital version: http://bit.ly/tablenomad
Paperback version: http://bit.ly/buywanderer

 

 

My Digital Universe, Portfolio

The mind reader

There was a man that could read minds.

At first, he thought, wow this is an amazing skill to have. So, he went into restaurants and started listening to conversations. It was quite entertaining at first. Then, he started using his skill for his advantage. He patted himself in the back when he got what he wanted. He thought, “Huh, they have no clue that I know what they think”.

A few years passed by. He had now gotten tired of using his skill for his benefit. Now he was simply observing others. He started diving deep into his interactions. He analyzed the thoughts that were going through someone’s head when they were speaking to him. He tried to give them what they wanted or what they wished for.

One day, he was hanging around some friends and felt extremely uncomfortable. He could no longer just enjoy life. He was constantly concerned about what someone else was thinking; what they were going to say to another person about him or someone else. His life was suddenly filled with other people’s thoughts. His own thoughts were now drowning.

For the first time since his realization, he felt burdened. What once felt like a blessing now weighed him down like a curse. He looked around him and saw thousands of people that couldn’t read minds. They were just happy to live based on what they saw and heard. They had no clue that sometimes their loved ones were not being honest.

Then he wished that he couldn’t read minds. He wanted to be normal. Years passed by. He found himself getting farther and farther away from civilization. He just couldn’t deal with the make believe comments and conversations anymore. One day, he met an old man. He asked him “Son, how are you?” He realized that this man was sincerely interested to know how he was doing. He shared his experience with the man and explained why he was living in the outskirts of civilization.

The old man smiled and said “I was like you once. I too got tired of reading other peoples’ minds.” The mind reader was excited. He wanted to know how to deal with it. The old man said that he simply decided to not read other peoples’ minds one day. He said that he realized even when he read someone’s mind; he still enjoyed listening to what the other person had to say. Words, he said have power. It still takes effort to make a thought into audible, comprehendible sounds. He left the man with the poem below and said “Go back to the city if you want. It’s not as bad as you think. You have two ears. Keep them clean. Don’t let what you don’t like stick in between. Listen from one and let it go from the other.”

“Opinions are like onions,

They are tasty when cooked.

But if you peel one out in bed,

You will wake up stinking like one”

 

 

Miscellaneous, My Digital Universe

So, you think you know it all?

Don’t expect someone that didn’t see you break a sweat to understand your journey.

Sometimes it’s all about how you interpret something. For some, a journey is straightforward, so when they see someone that is curious and don’t mind getting lost, they may interpret the wanderer as someone that’s lost. But, isn’t life more about the journey and less about the destination? Then again, sometimes it’s less about the journey and more about the destination.

Some journeys, like the Annapurna circuit in Nepal, is about the journey AND the destination. Which brings me to my point: it’s always better not to jump to conclusions about another’s experiences or choices. Don’t play God.

A person’s experiences in life, what they do and why they do it, is a subjective mystery for everyone (except the person). Who can see the insides of someone’s mind, their emotional state, their true desires, to be able to accurately decipher why they chose chocolate over ice cream?

Perhaps I am one of those that feel as if I can sense the pressure of the probing eyes of those who know me, wandering what I’m doing with my life. I feel as if I can sense their judgmental (not always negative) interpretations as to what may be going on with me. Perhaps they are right. If so, they know about the inner workings of my mind and heart more than I do. But, do they really? On the other hand, they are making judgments based on their subjective understanding of the world and the even more limited understanding of who I am as a being. For in reality, we all pick and choose what we share with the external world.

We share our sense of fashion with total strangers by the way we dress (whether we intend to or not), while our smile can communicate our stress-levels to someone that’s known us for years. Since there’s no exact science (to my knowledge) that accurately decipher what’s goes-on inside someone, the goal is not to figure out how to get that information. It’s none of our business to figure out something that another person is purposely hiding. THAT, is an invasion of privacy and extremely annoying. What’s more annoying is when people THINK they know what’s going on and try to interpret or TELL the person as if they know what’s going on with them.

In my opinion, it’s better to make anyone feel at ease and accepted, so they can freely share and be themselves around us without fear of judgment. Let them define who they are to us. Listen more and remind yourself to put your interpretations in check. That will open up an opportunity for honest conversations rather than playing hide and seek. Hide and seek is best played with kids, not adult behavior.

My Digital Universe

Programming Humans

In a world where human interactions are getting reduced to a behavioral analysis, the challenge my friends, is to disrupt that ridiculous analysis.

We humans are not robots. We were endowed with free will. The day that we become predictable, we will become programmable.

Our brains were created with the ability to conjure up endless possibilities and realities. A program, no matter how advanced, can only do tasks that it was programmed to do, by a HUMAN.

After all, it’s our unquenchable thirst for creativity that brought about the concept of a program and the ability to create it. So, aren’t we hindering the natural progression of advancement by trying to amend its progress with our finite “wisdom” and the poisonous need for control, when we try to program fellow humans that have unique talents and unfathomable capacity that a machine or any amount of practice will never be able to replicate?

Programming and randomness

Routines are great, but the randomness of a falling leaf is what makes the world beautiful.

The randomness of nature has a purpose. Nothing happens on accident. Instead of laboring to exercise more control over each other, we should labor to accept, understand, and truly respect one another.

That’s why in a band, the bass player doesn’t try to play exactly what the electric guitarist play. That ability to tune into a common frequency makes a sound so pleasing to the ears that it makes the cells in our bodies jump in ecstasy. That’s why we are constantly searching for something new. That’s why we get tired of the mundane and crave adventure.

Programming and certainty

The unknown shouldn’t make one fearful. It should stir-up excitement. After all, some say that our realities are shaped by what we attract with our minds. Most of the problems in the world today is due to distrust and an absurd superiority complex that overrides our ability to look at issues without bias or preconceived notions.

Sometimes learning means unlearning things that block progress. Just like it only takes a spark to light a fire, it only takes one positive thought in the right direction for our un-programmable-selves to learn to think differently.