Saturday, February 11, 2006


"Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy."

- Desiderata, Max Ehrmann

Usually, I don't react very well to cheery, "inspirational" writing. But there 's something quite different and direct about Desiderata, something very.... simple and honest.

Yesterday was the first time I read it in years. And how timely.

I was reading blogs and the news yesterday, and really, I felt as if the whole world has gone mad. There's more news about war in all the newspapers, news about conflict and disagreement. I read blog posts written by men blasting women for being manipulative and conniving and posts written by women blasting men for being insensitive and untrustworthy. I read more stories about innocent scapegoats being sacrificed on the altar of political convenience.

And then there are things in my own life that cause headaches.

So much disagreement, so much anger, some much recrimination. I felt so tired and drained.

And then, I read the Desiderata. I felt better.

Life is not meant to be easy. No such thing as happily ever after. Can't be helped. Overthinking and over-analysing everything makes things much harder. It's so easy to get lost in the details of life that before long, we get overwhelmed by it. I know I feel like this sometimes.

This however, can be helped. It's possible to stop and pull away to see the big picture.

I've been overthinking again, about things that happen around me and things that happen inside my head. I've been thinking about the future and how it doesn't look very rosy at the moment. I thought about the ifs, whens, whys and wheretofores and so on and so forth.

In short, I lost sight of the forest for the damn trees again. Introspection can sometimes be a bad thing.

And so, I stop. And now, I'm reminding myself to have a bit of faith and go with the flow. Let the future unfold like it does.

It's hard to "let go" of life. Us humans feel this need to always grab life by the horns and steer it where we want it to go. And course, we can't do that. Life is so much bigger than us. Perhaps, it's a better thing to let go and let it work itself out? I think so. It has to be the right thing, since it's so hard to do. Yeah, letting go is very hard to do, unnerving like riding a roller coaster without holding on to railings.

Control the things that can be controlled and let the uncontrollable things go wherever.

Suddenly, I'm not sure about this posts lucidity. Lucid or not, these are the things that I've been thinking about the last day or two.

I've been reading about the concepts of altruism and egoism. Very enlightening stuff.

And so, I hope to not forget too soon that it's better to keep things simple. Like what Desiderata says, life need not be so complicated.

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