Surrender yourself to a different high

Written by Suraj Shah.

You’ll see the sky is clear, you’ll find you’re free from fear,
The peace you feel is real, and your life is again filled with zeal.

When you’re struggling in life, facing so much pain and strife,
When you’re filled with despair, feeling that life is beyond repair,
Let me show you a way to cope, so you need not resort to dope,
Simply look up to the sky, surrendering yourself to a different high.

You’ll see clouds glowing bright, but holding back the daylight,
You’ll see clouds moving slow, with no real place to go,
You’ll see clouds hide the sun, trying hard to stop the fun,
You’ll see clouds span the sky, mostly low but sometimes high.

You see, we often think we’re stuck, in tonnes of nasty muck,
We may think we’re out of luck, and that no-one gives a ____,
But look up just once more, so we can get right to the core,
The clouds that were once overhead, you’ll see something else instead.

The day’s doom and gloom, that once made you run to your room,
Has completely cleared away, to brighten up your precious day.
You’ll see the sky is clear, you’ll find you’re free from fear,
The peace you feel is real, and your life is again filled with zeal.

Then when you look back at me, I’ll ask “what did you see?”
You’ll say “there lies the key, to overcome life’s misery.”
What was once there is now no more, so no need to still feel sore,
Troubles in life come and go, that’s really all you need to know.

(Photo courtesy of Newsbie Pix)

9/11 didn’t affect me

Written by Suraj Shah.

When mass death takes place and you’re not there, how does it affect you?

We all saw that something big was going down. It shook the whole world, it stopped everyone in their tracks, yet 9/11 didn’t affect me.

“Where were you when it happened?” is what was often asked following the World Trade Centre disaster, even 10 years on. I was on my industrial placement at the IBM UK head quarters in North Harbour, Portsmouth, England. There was one small ‘play’ room on the floor which had a small TV in it. Almost all my colleagues in that department were gradually getting up to huddle around that room and witness what was taking place, live, on the news reports. I thought it was probably something about a football match, which I didn’t really care much about. But I soon found out what was going on.

As the events unfolded, we all realised how grave the situation really was. Concerns started to rise about whether similar events may take place in England and what we ought to do about it. Some of our colleagues were even concerned that we may have to evacuate our office in Portsmouth in case there was an attempt to blow up IBM’s head office.

Ha! Isn’t it funny how we always try to make it about us?

It didn’t affect me

However, I wasn’t really affected. None of my family or my friends died or were injured in it, so it didn’t affect me. Terror alerts, especially at airports, were set to critical, but I wasn’t flying anywhere, so it didn’t affect me. My possessions weren’t damaged and my work wasn’t delayed. It didn’t affect me. I just saw it on the news and got on with my life.

Same with the tsunamis in Asia in 2004. I was backpacking in India at the time, but it didn’t affect me. I just saw it on the news and got on with my life.

Same with the London riots in 2011. I was living close to where some of the riots took place, but it didn’t affect me. I just saw it on the news and got on with my life.

Far away or just disconnected

When something big happens, and a lot of people die or are harmed, or affected in some major way, how do we respond to it?

I thought I was a compassionate person, but sometimes I do wonder whether I am watching the news with eyes of compassion, or merely with eyes of curiosity and intrigue.

All these events that I witnessed through the news, certainly did happen. A lot of people were hurt. A lot of people have died. Following the 9/11 incident, 3000 children were left without a parent. How can these children ever make sense of it?

It’s an uncertain world with many small and large-scale tragedies taking place daily, and yet all we can do is try to remain calm, connect with those who are grieving, support them as best we can, help move them away from their suffering, and continue to live each day the only way we know how.

(Photo courtesy of Samantha Marx)

Father’s shelter

Post written by Suraj Shah.

Father: one who provides, protects, and creates the environment for growth.

As young children in the playground at school, we would often boast “my daddy is the best!”

What makes your father the best?

When it comes to my dad, I certainly appreciate how he has always been our provider and protector. He has worked hard to keep a roof over our heads, whilst continuing to show his love through hugs and treats.

My earliest memory with dad was probably when I was 4 or 5 years old, when we were standing at the top of the staircase at our old house, and dad was teaching me how to tie my shoe laces. He did it with such care and patience.

A father’s shelter

Over the years, I remember dad for how he has:

  • taught my brother and I how to ride our bikes.
  • taught us how to put up lining paper and repaint the house.
  • taught us how to mow the lawn.
  • taught us how to swim.
  • helped us get onto our own two feet.

Even now, married and living in my own house, my dad recently guided me over the phone how to fix the overflowing toilet cistern. Previously I’d left it to dad to sort out issues to do with maintaining the house, but it’s a wonderful feeling to learn these DIY skills, whilst knowing that I can lean on dad if I need some guidance.

My father has certainly provided for us and protected us over the years, and even better, he has shown us how to become independent and even take care of those who depend on us.

Fear of losing dad

Within weeks of mum passing away in 2006, we had another death in the family.  On the day of mum’s uncle’s funeral, when the body was brought into the house and a pre-cremation ritual was taking place, I could see the sadness that the sons were facing at the loss of their father.

My dad was standing half way up the stairs, and at that moment, deep sorrow hit me.  I darted up the stairs, embraced dad and I started sobbing.  As tears flooded down my face, I held dad tighter and said “don’t leave so soon, I need you here”.  Fear of losing dad, a type of fear that I didn’t know I had, came to the surface, and I couldn’t stop sobbing.

Dad, having only recently lost his wife, did the best he could to comfort me.

Of course, I knew that anyone who is alive, will one day die.  I also knew that my father was not exempt from that.  So why did I sob so much?  Why did I fear the loss of my father? It was my attachment to dad.

Will dad always be around?

I take dad for granted.  I think he will always be around, will always be there to love me, to care for me, to protect me.

But going by how nature works, dad will not always be around.  One day he may face an accident, or he may die of natural causes, or he may change into someone I don’t recognise any more.  Anything could happen.

What would happen if I reduced my emotional attachment to my father?  Would I be free from pain if he is no longer around? I’m not talking about feeling numb, or loving him any less.  I’m talking about continuing to enhance the love I have for him, but minimise feelings of anger and emptiness that would arise from eventually losing him.

By taking the time to understand the true nature of reality, I would realise that my father, who was once born, will eventually die.  By thinking on this, I would learn to love my father, without being dependent on him being around. I would understand that a strong attachment to my dad is futile, but a bond of love without expectation, would help us have an enriching relationship for the time we have together.

So I continue to ask myself: “Should I reduce attachment to my father? Could I?  How?”

If your father is still with you, how would you answer this?  If your father is no longer around, what would you ask yourself?

(Photo courtesy of dariuszka)