Most of my life I have thought that the distance between ignorance and self-realization was one of the hardest ones to cover. Going by the experiences of the past year or two, I have come to understand that that distance is one of the easier ones to cover, while the distance that lies between self-realization and self-actualization is far greater and far more difficult to cover. Knowing what you do wrong and knowing what needs to be done to right that wrong is very different from actually doing the right thing. And the expectation of magic is in expecting that now that you know what needs to be done, you will magically start doing that every time. Rather predictably, it is never that easy.
In a way, this is explained best by a pretty unlikely comparison. The expectation is that it works out beautifully like one of the best forwards in football working his way through the defense. It is literally poetry-in-motion, there is tremendous beauty to it and the finishing touch that deposits the ball in the net is the triumph of everything good over adversity. But, real life is much more like rugby, than football. The journey from self-realization to self-actualization is more like a journey from one try line to the other as an endless series of scrums. It is ugly, brutal, bloodying and every inch has to be earned and no quarter is given.
The hardest part in all of this for me is to remind myself to stand up for what I want in pretty much everything. If you have spent a lifetime having trouble clearly spelling that out, it forms a habit that is nearly impossible to get out of. And then starts the vicious cycle of putting yourself into situations that you don’t want to be in because you were never clear about what you wanted in the first place. Eventually, one day, a small stone is dislodged and the dam breaks; leaving everyone wondering how could such a small stone put and end to such a huge dam.
As it is often the case, at the time of occurring, even accidents happen in slow motion. From the time you see that vehicle heading towards you and the time of impact, time slows down considerably. There is nothing sudden about it. In life too there are almost no real sudden events. There is always a build up, but we choose to ignore it, hoping that it can either be suppressed or that the underlying causes will disappear with time. Unfortunately, neither happens most of the times and apparently-sudden-looking event winds up being a near-certainty.
So, the scrum is on for real and I am in the thick of it. It is immensely frustrating to see only the gain of half-an-inch or two after a whole bloody lot of effort. What is worse, sometimes you even lose a couple of inches in spite of your best efforts. And then there is the temptation to kick it all off and stomp off the field in rage. After 27 years of life, it should not come down to having to try so hard to accomplish something that a vast majority of humanity takes for granted.
And then you realize that there is no magic; there is only the expectation of it. And you wipe your brow, take your place in the scrum. Blood, sweat, tears once again; all for those precious few inches. And then you remind yourself, this is the life you chose. This is exactly how you want to live.