The world we live in is made up of both hype and substance. Wisdom is knowing the difference between what IS and what appears to be. Hype dies down, what IS is eternal. People, objects and circumstances can appear one way from a distance but may appear very different on coming close. Our own perception changes with time. Wisdom is realising that whether things appear one way or another, in the end, it doesn’t matter. This is the skill of knowledge. While you cannot take appearances for granted, you cannot afford to totally neglect them either. Moving through life with this wisdom unlocks the skill of action. Knowledge helps set your direction and action helps you proceed.
Events in this world establish how invaluable the skill to distinguish reality from perception is. Time has shown that the hysteria about the World Culture Festival damaging the Yamuna floodplain was all hype and no substance. Claims of ‘total destruction’ by so-called ‘experts’ are not validated by the greenery at the festival site nearly a year later.
The US Presidential election also appeared to go one way but the actual outcome surprised many. It stands testimony to the thriving American democracy that someone with no political background is elected President versus someone who has already lived in the White House. Though many are strongly predisposed against him, it would be prudent to see with an open mind what the new President brings to the role.
Demonetisation has caused some discomfort to people in the short term but will benefit the nation eventually. Though substantially inconvenienced themselves, most Indians wholeheartedly supported the measure. The collective willingness to go through austerity for long-term greater good is a rare quality, not found in most societies in the world today. It is the spiritual temperament prevailing in India that makes it strong enough to withstand challenges that would cause chaos elsewhere.
The world is looking for new ways to solve problems and spirituality can provide these solutions. The transformation of FARC from an armed rebel group in Colombia to being a part of the country’s political process in just over a year has shown that peace can be a real and effective tool in resolving even long-standing conflicts. In India too, a sustained effort is needed in creating an atmosphere conducive to meaningful dialogue involving all stakeholders in Kashmir to find concrete long-term solutions. The requests to host the World Cultural Festival from other countries and the growing popularity of the International Yoga Day each year indicate a more significant global role for India’s ancient knowledge.
However, whenever something becomes widespread, there tends to be hype built around it. As yoga too becomes more and more fashionable internationally, there needs to be some regulation to preserve its authenticity. We are closely supporting the Quality Council of India with a certifying framework for yoga trainers who can take this knowledge to the world.
It takes keen insight to be able to separate hype from substance. This keen insight develops naturally when we learn to be connected to our source within and the way to do that is through meditation. As another year passes by, look at your life and the world around to see what has changed and what has not. Anchored in what IS in the ocean of life, you are not washed away by the endless waves of change, you ride them.
Wish you all a very Happy New Year!