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authored, with loads of love & thought, by Chetan Narang
This week, at the Unlearning Playground, let’s talk about the main word itself – UNLEARNING.
Let’s see how this lands.
I think that there comes a point in our lives when we realise that the chief focus of our lives need not only be our own self interests. That, I believe, is when the little self, the separate “ego”, the poor little “me” takes a backseat in our everyday lives and our search towards self-actualisation and enlightenment takes a rather firm grasp of the steering wheel.
Ok, that was the romantic in me talking. But I think there is something there. Let’s forget those big words for a moment – actualisation, self, ego, enlightenment and all of that jazz. Even without all of these words, I think we can all agree that it does make sense to understand Life along these lines – To have lived a life only for one’s own vested interests is a very limited way of going about it.
Yet, almost all of us do just that. Sure we do something nice here and there for our close ones. But quite often, even that is an act in the expectation of a reward at a later time or in the repayment of something someone else did for us some day.
I think we can be better than that.
No, let me rephrase that – I think we are much better than that.
So then, why don’t we act as if that is actually the case?
The answer is quite simple really – We are all too busy to stop and even think about this.
“The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life.”Rabindranath Tagore
In the busy lives that we lead these days, everyone is rushing around to get somewhere, to be someone, to get something, etc. And all of that keeps strengthening the want to keep doing more and more of it, and we start to picture it as if it is a need. Now that is a vicious cycle, if there ever was one.
And why can’t we get out of vicious cycles such as this one?
The answer is again a simple (and again an uncomfortable) one – Our identities depend on them. We are all way too invested in them. Or as the Buddha would’ve put it – we are all way too attached to them.
Now that is precisely where unlearning comes in. There are a whole bunch of ideas that our ego, our sense of self, our separate identity is simply too attached to. So attached that these ideas themselves start limiting us from everything that Life has to offer, and limiting us from being the best versions of ourselves.
Unlearning these attachments is, in no exaggerated terms, personal growth 101 for any adult.
And that is why I create my content under the banner of The Unlearning Playground. The central aim for all of the work that you’ll find here is to serve as a trigger for questioning those deep-seated ideas that we, individually and collectively, have either looked away from for far too long or simply accepted as the truths without an honest, original, conscious thought.
It’s almost as if a cataract of our own biases and delusions is cast upon our eyes, and unlearning them seems to me to be the first step that we need to take, individually and collectively, in the direction of a better future.
And if you ask me, it is, at the end of the day, in our own best interests too to do so. We just don’t see it yet.
As my dear friend Rocco Jarman (from The Eyes Wide Open Life podcast) says repeatedly, “We are who we repeatedly chose to be.”
Choose to be different from the herd.
Choose to unlearn.
All of my content can be consumed at The Unlearning Playground YouTube channel, where I upload fresh videos every week, in Hindi as well as English. Subscribe to it and let YouTube do its thing from there on.
My Podcast, The Unlearning Playground, is available for free on all major podcast platforms – Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Gaana, JioSaavn, Stitcher etc.
I keep posting on all my social media regularly. Allow me on your feed on your platform of choice. All my links can be found down below in the footer of this newsletter.
I guess that’s about it then.
I’ll see you in the playground.
Let’s have a good game, for ourselves and for others.
Until next time.