Reflections on Ganesha

Ahh, obstacles. They make us feel uncomfortable. They make me feel uncomfortable. Suffice it to say that the past two weeks have been uncomfortable.

Ganesha is said to be the god who removes the obstacles that come in our lives. Other proponents believe that Ganesha actually puts obstacles to serve as checkpoints in our lives, to allow us to stop, reflect and realize whether we’re treading on the right path.

Is comfort the end goal? Does happiness entail a constant state of comfort? I have yet to find literature that preaches this notion. I do often hear that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. There are externalities that are givens, but it is ultimately up to us as to how we choose to react and handle these circumstances. It takes a certain internal balance to adapt with given externalities.

A good friend introduced me to the literature of Osho, and does this person have wonderful, convergent insights on the different philosophies of the world! In the chapter where I’m in, he speaks of how we can foster real unadulterated love, as love is not bound by the physical. Our physical selves are bound by natural limitations and obstacles such that we feel discomfort when we, say, stand up for too long, or sit for too long. It is in our horizontal way of rest by lying down that we work around the imposed discomfort of gravity.  But then again, we can only do so much when in a horizontal state.

Such is the virtue of finding comfort in the uncomfortable. When we want to learn and understand more about ourselves and our milieu, we have to accept such givens. In the process of swimming against the current of discomfort and of obstacles, there is a natural sense of doubt. But as a good friend would often say, there are no failures, only lessons. The more lessons, the more learning.

I’ve never put much thought when my yoga teacher would often say that “the teacher in me honors the teacher in each and every one of you”. Given this new stint involving an elevated level of responsibility, and working with contemporaries, perceived superiors and subordinates in the corporate hierarchy, one thing remains clear: we all learn from each other. You and I are not so different. We are the same energy expressed differently, with our own unique quirks.

In my two weeks of dealing with an entirely new environment, new city, new people, new user interfaces for work tools, new structures, and new leadership, I found myself giving up a lot of what I’ve been accustomed to. I spend more time travelling to my new office, I spend more time working. I am having challenges squeezing in my yoga practice as I often find myself spent after a long workday. I have had to opt out of bonding sessions with friends. This time around, it’s not just about me and my output anymore. It is about my team, and I am only as good as my team.

Ahh, priorities and trade-offs. It is but necessary. I feel grateful to have had lunch with a good friend who’s taught me so much. This time, talk of priorities, trade-offs, and taking care of one’s health was on the roster. I always thought I could do everything. Last year, I learned the lesson that I didn’t have to be all things to all people. This time around, I am getting the feeling that I will learn how it is not to be everything to everything. The jack of all trades is a master of none. Cliche but true?

If we all knew what we were doing and were sure of the outcomes of our efforts, then insurance companies would run out of business, right? I once again find myself in a space of overwhelming doubt and uncertainty. But these are externalities, and I chose to get myself in the circumstance of breaking new ground. Life is a gamble and we are our own persons. We cannot simply blame unfavorable outcomes on others. We have the power to influence the outcome. The more we believe that we can, we are able to.



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