Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true. — Buddha (via conneh)
it may seem like your whole world can be warped and inverted in just one day; but in reality, every day, and every experience, is the inescapable product of an infinity of other choices, attitudes, and experiences that extend indefinitely into the past- sometimes unremembered or spurned, but never broken. we cannot control the flow of life, but we can enrich and thereby help direct it. that’s why our consciousness, not of who we are but of why we are, and how we are, is so important
Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps… perhaps…love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath. — L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea (via quote-book) (via iseabuoy)
I am failing abysmally at this blog thing. As a friend of mine bluntly reminded me, one of the expectations of keeping a blog is at least semi-regular updating, and yet a full week has passed since my last post. This hiatus in writing is not due to any dearth of experiences: the past week has yielded some of the most enriching and transforming moments of my life. But for some reason, every day I return from work in the evening so divested of energy that I do not feel at all inspired to ponder, write, share anything. Even when I am awake, I feel as though I am slumbering, enshrouded by a malaise that only more intensely smothers me as the week wears on. And the heat, hanging languorously in the air with an almost palpable heaviness, deepens rather than dulls my stinging nostalgia. I feel so fickle to at one moment be gushing and vibrant, having discovered a new sweets shop or successfully bargained for some bauble, and at the next be lifelessly floating in a vast ennui. There is no spectrum of emotions but only a pair of extremes, that has buffeted me in the last week. I have mused that I might simply be approaching that time of the month and still be disoriented by a new environment. Or maybe I am sleep-deprived, with no similarly sleepy suitemates dispensing shots of laughter and caffeine to keep me company. But most likely, I am finally grasping how profoundly alone I am: I work with several colleagues, frequent cafes, exchange cross-cultural platitudes with the hotel staff, but still I feel as if I am living in a separate world from what I knew before. Sometimes I forget entirely that part of me is awaiting my return in another existence, another layer of reality; and at other times I feel completely and utterly alien to what is going on around me. I wonder, if I have changed, as a consequence of living and learning alone. My mom says that I am ridiculous and that there is no way I could have changed in four weeks, but I think there is something to be said for becoming more self-perceptive (at least I fancy myself so), and more conscious of one’s own consciousness. For what I see, what I experience, what I accept as reality, I have realized is really a differentiated expression of my own self-consciousness. And thus as I discover hidden elements of myself, I also unlock secrets of the world around me: secrets that I ironically help create. A timeless awareness in a timebound existence— this is what travel has enabled me to intermittently experience, and it is through my awareness of this ability to dynamically shape reality that I feel myself changing and evolving.
Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
– Buddha — A heartwarming truth, sent to me by my best friend.
I am gushing with love right now. I don’t know where this bubbling zest for life suddenly came from, but if anyone from anywhere for any reason at this moment approached me, I would probably engulf them immediately with a creamy embrace that both smothered and revitalized them from my brimming stock of energy. I feel love, probably because I have been given it, countless times in the past two weeks. The people of Cairo have shown me so much warmth and affability that already I feel the incipient pangs of nostalgia to be leaving in just one month.
Another experience this evening again reminded me of the power of shared human emotion. I was sitting in the company car, in the backseat this time since others had been dropped before me, en route to the hotel. A tender love song was playing, and as tragic Arabic love songs are wont to do, this one recalled several sad thoughts that brought tears to my eyes as I brooded over them. I was by no means sobbing, but the driver Magdi must have seen my tears; for, though he could not ask me in English what was wrong, he stopped the car along the side of the road, nudged a tissue box into the backseat, and asked, “Miss Sejal, one minute?” I had hardly been paying attention to the roads outside my window and so a little dizzily replied, “Sure.” Magdi left and returned a few minutes later to offer me a soft plastic bag bulging with freshly peeled teen shouky, the guava-like fruit of the prickly pear cactus sold as a refreshing treat here during the summers. I had tasted teen once before, and told Magdi how much I loved it, and so my heart melted immediately when I realized that he had stopped the car and dedicated those five minutes to trying to make me feel better. I know nothing of Arabic, and Magdi cannot communicate in English, but here we were able to understand each other, showing that the language of empathy and compassion is boundless. It is these gestures, the smallest acts of unexpected care and kindness, that mean the world to me; and I could not refrain from smiling brilliantly with gratitude all the way back to the hotel. Upon entering the mini hotel lobby, I hesitated but then tentatively approached and offered the receptionist one teen. She giggled, murmured something, and then took the fruit from the bag. We both bit down into the juicy pulp. There it was again: sharing food, sharing happiness.
What my experience reflects is that it is a self-perpetuating cycle of kindness, one circle of humanity, that every moment our attitudes and choices build together: when I brighten the day of one person, I bring joy to the lives of dozens more, and thus I exponentially enrich my own. This is the magic of the ripple effect, and it is one that has become ever more vibrant to me in the several days I have spent with the people in Cairo.
It is encouraging to think how some of life’s most powerful lessons can be imparted by people one barely knows.
peace3dd asked: Sejal, why are you so awesome? I love you!
“A person is a person through other persons.” I love you too :)