perception (n): the way in which something is regarded, understood or interpreted.
perspective (n): a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something
paradigm (of life) (n): a way of looking at things.
TODAY, I am not what I think I am.
I am not what you think I am.
I am what I think you think I am.
— Charles Horton Cooley
Read and re-read the above quote and let that sink in. So, we live in this perception of a perception of ourselves. We are making our identities based on these perceptions.
Through our perception, we get perspectives. And as the perspectives get deeply embedded in our conscience, they become our paradigm. And again our paradigm decides our perception.
Paradigm is a layer through which we perceive the righteousness of a decision and make choices accordingly. It becomes so inherent in our sub-conscious mind that we seldom challenge them.
Herein I present you two broad paradigms of life which we all have in ourselves.
The Two Paradigms of Life:
When I was in my 7th grade — my first year in residential school. We used to have Big study planks and many of the planks were filled with various quotes — philosophical and motivating — by their respective owners. One of the popular quotes on these planks is -
“Life is like an ice-cream, enjoy it before it melts.”
Our lives are limited in pleasure and in time, so we should enjoy it before it is over. This is called the Pleasure Paradigm (bhoga-vrtti)
That sounds nice. Right? But with some education and practical thinking, It’s evident that if everyone is busy enjoying their own ice-cream, society becomes chaotic and making happiness shallow - more about which I shared in depth in Password for Happiness
Later in my life, I came across another similiar quote but a whole new paradigm -
“Life is like a candle, spread the light before it melts”.
We have limited lives with unlimited joy and opportunity to serve. So, share the joy before it(life) is over. This is called Service Paradigm (Seva-vrtti)
This paradigm provides a win-win solution whereas the pleasure paradigm is always a win-loss. Let me elucidate this for you — When your mother prepares a dish which everyone at home loves to eat. She first feeds all others before she takes herself — She is happier to see you eat than she’s for eating herself — This is the finest example of seva-vrtti — WIN-WIN.
Whereas, if you pick some cashew nuts from your sibling’s plate for your own gratification, that is bhoga-vrtti — WIN-LOSS.
The Mother in the above example has service-paradigm to the extent of family. Whereas a patriot has it to the extent of country. And an Altruist has it at the extent of the world. But only a true spiritualist who identifies himself as a spiritual soul and every other living entity as a part and parcel of the divinity can have the service paradigm at the universal level.
We all are various shades of Grey between the Black and White colors of Bhoga-vrtti and Seva-vrtti. Some darker and some lighter — That is we all have both paradigms in us but at different ratios. Making our shades of grey lighter is called “Paradigm Shift”
We all are candles at various levels, Self-Family-Society-Country-World. I wonder how amazing our world will be if every one of us endeavors to increase the radius of their “Circle of Service Paradigm” — A world with more candles and fewer ice-creams.
Let us all endeavor to get our shade of grey lighter for a brighter and better world.
Will meet you with a new post next week, till then Sayonara!
My sincere gratitude to His Grace Gaur Gopal Das, Jay Shetty for the wisdom inputs I received from their videos, and to His Grace Amal M. Das for his amazing inputs in his book — “Art of Concentration - In the Age of Distractions”