‘In chaos, there is fertility.’
The 3 dialogues of my mother, when she is back home from her out-of-town tour:
- You people (me, my brother and my dad) are the most irresponsible people on earth
- In life you need to be disciplined. There is not a ounce of it in you guys. None of you
- You do this every time I’m out. Every time I come back I’ve to clean all of this
No offense to the moms, but they are clean freaks. Aren’t they? Cleanliness: Gas stove need to shine, toilets whitened, clothes washed and ironed and more. They swear by the word ‘order’.
It is easy for me to observe this. Because I’m an outsider watching their need to organize, to clean, to set things in order. What we don’t realize is that each of us are freaks of order ourselves. Degree might vary, area of interest to control may vary, but each of us seek order and control.
Consider me. To my roommate I’m the most irritating person in the kitchen while he is cooking. Because he knows I expect certain things in certain way. Beans needs to cut short if we are doing a palya and long if we are using it for Sambhar. I’m going to poke my nose in everything he is doing the wrong way, ‘advicing’ him of how things ‘should be’ done. I know its too much, but I can’t resist. I’m just trying to make it right.
This is the problem: Trying to bring in order. Trying to do the right things the right way.
- Familiar with that colleague of yours who is always behind you so that you are following the best and efficient practices?
- Your friend who always advices you the right thing to do
- Your mother who teaches you the ‘correct method’ of chopping vegetables
- The teacher who tells you the ‘correct way’ to study
With these moms and friends and teachers and grandmothers who are themselves conditioned (by their moms and friends and teachers and grandmothers), we eventually get conditioned. Chaos is not the way, we’re taught. Don’t bear chaos, get things in order – is the mantra they say.
I’m telling you, what if otherwise? What if chaos is beautiful? What if not bathing is great? Not cleaning your room is fantastic? Not flushing your toilet is sexy?
No, I’m not saying you do these things. Sure, bath, definitely flush your toilet after use and sure clean your room. But learning to embrace chaos can be something. What if you could let go the need for order in your work, in your daily activities, in your life? What if we do things not because it is the right thing to do, but for a reason?
How to embrace chaos
- Become aware of your conditioning: Jittery, irritated, frustrated? Observe. Feel the need to make your colleague more efficient? Feel like ‘correcting’ your friend? Feel the need to explain someone why he is getting it all wrong, the need to fix relationship problems? Check and step back
- There is no right thing to do. Ask why you do what you do? Question. Do don’t something because this is how it has always been. Don’t do it because it is the right thing to do. Shout out the reason. Clean because it is a healthy habit, not because it is your craving to do the right thing.
- Let go the need to fix: Your junior at office, junior player in your sport team, your younger brother are just not getting it right. You know they can be better. But observe the urge to help them to be better and let it go
- Learn to let others fail, take off your protective shield for them: Your kid is on the wrong path to the house and he will get lost in the city if he continues. Let him. Let them have their share of pain. Let your friend struggle and let him drink the water of his share, only then he will learn to swim
Once you start practicing this, you will start to flow. Because you are not resisting. You are embracing the chaos. You are seeing the world as is. Is there a better strength than to be able to see the world as is?
‘You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.’ ~Friedrich Nietzsche