This post was written in 2018. Wouldn’t remember the exact date of the scribble. Who really knows when did it get itched in the mind. The trigger was a stress ball which lay scarred in a corner, yet retaining the smiley face. It was published on this blog first on 12 Oct 2018. Re-Posting it to share with all of you who read. Maybe it would resonate.
I hate myself!!
Mukti spoke aloud. The utterance did not even make a ripple in the green surface of the still water in the pond. She did crave for appreciation but she never expected so much hate from her colleagues. It was as if they were waiting for the opportune moment for the hate to fructify. So called friends, were exposing the cloaked fire of jealousy. The gloves were off and the fangs were exposed. Suddenly, she was amidst the werewolves. Silently gnawing away the meat from her calves as she dragged herself up from the blow of reality which exposed the masks. The real faces were gruesome.
It all started from the ‘rise’ in her popularity in office. Display of her multiple facets and new levels of performance split the people around her into the opposing camps of ‘Liking her’ and ‘Jealous of her’. As she drew her joy from the accolades of the ‘Liking her’ camp of people, she also enjoyed the misery it caused to the ‘Jealous of her’ camp. This misery was the root cause of the hatred towards her from the ‘Jealous of her’ camp. This misery was turning out to be a greater source of her joy and she thrived on it more than the accolades from the ‘Liking her’ camp.
More she relied on the misery of her detractors as a source of her joy, more miserable she felt. She, kind of absorbed their misery. She no longer felt any joy from the appreciation of her friends, rather she felt the anxiety of not scoring over her detractors, far more.
Her core was being consumed by this reflected misery and soon she started sinking in self loath. She was sinking into depression. And ironically as she sank into this gloomy depths, she saw the joy in her detractors, which further pulled her down to greater depth.
As she was in the throes of her depression, she found herself at the steps of the temple pond. The waters had become murkier as though mirroring her mind.
The stress ball, counter intuitively shaped like a smiley was being gnawed by her nervous finger nails. The smile pasted on the ball was ironically making her more irritated as it seemed to mock at her.
In a fit of revulsion, she flung the spongy ball into green thick water of the pond.
The yellow colour stress ball remained buoyant over the green surface of the pond for a while. The viscosity of the murky pond keeping it afloat. However, the jubilant joy was short lived as the spongy core of the stress ball, ill shielded by the porous skin, started to absorb the surrounding filth. It remained buoyant till its core was filled completely by the green filth. That was the time the stress ball started to sink. The essence of the bounce was lost. It sank rapidly to the slimy bottom of the pond. Deeper and deeper in the vicious depressing abyss.
As the last of the smiley on the yellow ball got subsumed by the green slime, the yellow stress ball taught her what Archimedes understood in a very different context. A lesson no self-help book or a psychiatrist would have explained or applied. She learned, or she was revealed the secret law of the ‘Buoyancy of Joy’.
Buoyancy of the stress ball, as per physics, is dependent on the effect of gravity on the water surrounding it. This differential downward pull of the gravity on the water in turn pushed the stress ball up, thereby making it feel buoyant. The fall, therefore, of the surrounding water gives the up thrust which kept the stress ball floating with joy. Interestingly, like the dead Sea, greater the density of the surrounding water, greater is the buoyancy. The stark similarity with her own life was uncanny.
More the grief in the surrounding, greater is the buoyant joy one experiences. She remembered how she felt buoyant with joy as she received the positive feedback and appreciation from the people around her. So much so that, the awareness of the jealousy among the people who she lived and competed with was also a source of greater glee and joy. The effect pretty similar to the increased buoyancy of the murkier water.
The sight of her detractors being unhappy was the buoyant force which made her joyous as, she rose higher on her popularity. She rose higher as, she lived of the ‘likes’ and also the ‘jealous grouse’. Therefore, she felt ironically full of gratitude for her detractors to provider her the buoyant joy. She also realised that slowly she had started being affected by the crave for her detractor’s unhappiness.
She observed how the stress ball was invaded by the outside water and it lost its exclusive identity. It was filled by the similar heaviness of the surrounding. The gravity which was relatively more on the outside, was now within the stress ball. It therefore, no longer felt the buoyancy. It sank deeper and deeper into the murky depth of the pond till it settled on the mushy floor the pond. There it rested in the depression created on the floor by its own weight.
It dawned on her, that to remain buoyant, she should not have allowed others to affect her. Just like the murky waters entered the spongy core of the stress ball, the negativity had invaded her. It made her lose her buoyant joy. It made her lose her ‘me-ness’. The negative emotions outside started mirroring the same emotions within her, it replaced the happy emotions with the heavier, darker and sad emotions. These heavier, darker and sad emotion were dragging her down the murky depths towards her own created depression.
She also realised the futility of relying only on the external feedback for her joy, since it could only raise her up to the level of the external expectation. Just as the stress ball relying only on the water for buoyancy, can only rise till the level of the water. Her fate was like the floating stress ball bobing up and down at the water surface based on the expectancy of others. Her joy was hostage to others ‘likes’.
Just like the porous skin of the ball, no skin is so resistant to sustain the onslaught of this external invasion unless there is an internal pressure that keeps the water out. She needed to find her belief in the ‘me-ness’ that pervades the inside. Only her essence was capable to raise her beyond the petty level of the others ‘likes’. Our ‘self-ness’ is self-buoyant, willing to soar irrespective and oblivious of the forces outside – favourable or not. Soaring not particularly above but in the direction that is mine.
The state of the stress ball either soaring high and rising above the limits of the water surface or the stress ball placed on the mushy floor of the pond do not guarantee joy or grief. For the soaring ball, as the buoyant force propels it higher, the threat of a grand fall looms larger. The ball continuously seeks loftier heights after every rise. At the same time, the sunk ball calmly sitting in harmony with the slimy floor may find solace in the vast opportunity the state offers. Therefore, the state of joy has no relation to one’s state but is more related to one’s view towards that state.
Buoyancy and gravity, she realised, both lead to movement which were relatively opposite to each other in direction. The end state of both was subjectively judged as favourable or unfavourable.
It was her moment of realisation to perceive the joy in going beyond the forces of buoyancy and gravity.
She found herself connected to the blissful stress ball which lied calmly at the bottom of the slimy pond. She had experienced the eternal truth.
Mukti rose joyous, glowing within. Glowing with the ‘buoyancy of the real joy’.