To look young, one needs to dry clean the mind regularly
Mar 21 2013
Action is the enemy of thought. What was the problem, I asked myself.
It’s never one thought that tangles the mind, it’s a collection of negative thoughts that do. One gives birth to the other and before you know it, it’s like a viral spread all over the body.
Okay, I had yelled at my husband, I had been impatient and the fault was mine. I had gone for a film audition carrying this guilt that blackened into frustration. That morphed into irritation because it was a young boy who told me I was late and could I please let them know! “Oh for god’s sake, stop being so melodramatic”, I wanted to say but ignored him instead. Another wrong. Perhaps, to get his own back, he told me to memorise the dialogue in hindi to which I replied that my hindi was not so hot and I could do a ‘hinglish’ memorisation instead. That first reading went poorly, so I presumed I was awful and just left without giving it another try. When I mentioned this to my daughter, she repeated what I tell my students, “Ma, you have to focus! Focus on the character, get into it, a deep breath and leave the day behind, just get into the character!” Now she was my mother! Irritation had hardened into anger at myself that led to disappointment. I realised I could not enjoy today because of what happened in the past. How the past grips us!
Sometimes when we are hurt in the past, we cannot love again. When someone does something bad to you, you think it will happen again today. Because someone did something in the past to you, you blame them for ruining your peace of mind forever. When someone got angry at you, you held on self righteously like a martyr. Because I lied at one point, I punish myself forever. If I failed, I believe I will do so again. The thing is what hurts us, only hurts us. The other person does not probably remember. It’s important to let go, to forgive yourself and dry clean the mind on a daily basis. Like when you think back at what you wore in the third grade at your birthday party, that awful dress! You smile; it’s just a memory. The same needs to happen with those past painful experiences, they need to be dry cleaned and placed on a memory tray as ‘memories’. (which is extremely hard…).
Moral of the story: No point growing ‘old’ with hurt, resentment, anger and revenge; better to look and stay ‘young’ through forgiveness and letting go.
(The writer is a theatre director and novelist)