Hi, I’m Chetan Narang, and here’s a narrative of my story so far…
Probably the most irrelevant part of my story, with respect to this page, is that I work a day job in the software engineering industry in Bangalore, India. The most relevant part is what led to everything you’d find on this website.
I grew up in the 90s in a middle class family in India, and lived the good life – study hard, top your class, graduate from a great college, work a well-paying job, marry the girl you love, etc – you know the drill.
But somehow, a persistent sense of discontentment never really left me. I could not help but feel incomplete, as if I needed to be and do a lot more before I could be still, before I could be at peace. And this discontentment manifested itself in my work, my relationships, and all of my waking life really.
As any other clueless twenty-odd year old, I pointed my focus (and my fingers) outwards and decided that the problem was with my job, my managers, my colleagues, my friends, my family, etc. And I doubled down on my efforts to try and fix it/them.
Needless to say, the discontentment stayed with me.
In hindsight, in this phase of my life, I was unconsciously living this quote I’m sharing below. (Although back then I had not even heard of this book.)
“The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there with you.”Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance
Amongst various other directions I was projecting my search in – trying to start my own business, trying to switch careers, etc – I stumbled upon a treasure chest of some really mind-blowing books. (I plan on having a recommended reading section on this website soon.) And as I began to meditate on the contents of these books, my life took a complete 180 degree shift.
I realised that I had been taking decisions from a very incomplete standpoint till then.
I realised that I didn’t quite understand a lot of things I was extremely certain about.
I realised that I had never thought about how I think about things.
I realised that there could be, and there were, a lot of avenues where I was simply wrong yet extremely confident anyway.
I realised that much more than what I was doing, it could be how I was doing it that was making the difference.
None of this was comfortable. But then, growth never really is.
I realised that all of this needed my immediate attention. Because it was becoming obvious to me that the way I was looking at Life could really be the root of the issue with how Life seemed to me. (Read that again slowly if it didn’t make sense the first time.)
I realised that it was time to unlearn all of what was not serving me, all of what was false.
I summarise this phase of my life in this quote.
As a kid, I learnt a lot because I read books.Chetan Narang
As an adult, I unlearnt a lot because I read books.
This paradigm shift led me to question everything that had cemented itself as truth in my life, and I explored answers to questions that were hidden beneath all the unconscious movements that I wasn’t aware of until then – they are called unconscious for a reason, after all!
The meditations that followed opened me up to answers about Life, the universe and everything really. As I opened my mind and my heart to Understanding rather than simply believing, I realised that the key to all of those answers was always present where I was never really looking – within.
I realised that the key to the discontentment that had crippled my world-view thus far also stood waiting for me to turn within.
I realised that the first thing I could be absolutely sure of, is that I exist. Even if this entire world is a dream, even if it is a simulation, I exist within that dream, within that simulation. So any exploration of life had to begin firstly with the exploration of this ‘I’, the exploration of myself.
And as I cleared my lens, I could see how I was limiting myself from being the most expansive I could be. I could see my conditioning, and I could realise that no one else is responsible to fix it but me myself. I began to explore and meditate on the work of philosophers I would never have even thought to spend time with – Jiddu Krishnamurti, Osho, Alan Watts, Swami Vivekananda, amongst others.
I explored religion, philosophy and spirituality – mostly centred around eastern traditions such as Advaita Vedanta, Zen Buddhism, Non-duality, Hinduism, etc – and realised that anyone delving into the depths of what’s objectively true ultimately reaches the same Understanding. It’s called objective truth for a reason, after all!
As I opened myself from my erstwhile staunch-atheist standpoint, I could see that the secret to the question of God was also to Understand, and not simply believe.
As I observed myself, I could see how much we are all more same than different. Having seen the depths within myself, I could now clearly see the fog in someone else’s words too. I could see where they are stuck. I could see the work they need to do to upgrade. This phase of my life is most suitably quoted as below:
“When I understand myself, I understand you. And out of that understanding, comes Love.”Jiddu Krishnamurti
All of my work now, is the spreading and sharing of this Love that I am so grateful to have encountered. How this is manifesting right now is majorly in the form of my podcast, The Unlearning Playground, where I share my understanding and philosophy in the form of easy-to-digest short discourse-style episodes ranging from 10-25 minutes in length mostly.
I also take up clients and/or students for one-on-one sessions. This is mostly centred around counselling and life coaching, but not restricted to it, of course. Any one who is ready to up their game, to see things the way they are, to really grasp answers to evasive questions that we dare not ask ourselves or others, is always welcome – much more than they realise really.
If any of this interests you, or triggers you, or sparks in you a need to reach out and talk, I am all ears.
Until next time.