“They say, “there is a whole world out there”, but truly, there is a whole world “in here”, inside of you, as you will realize that the greatest source of power and truth comes from within you if you take the time to get to know yourself. Dive deep into the book and find yourself.”
Author of between soul & bone
“This book is raw and revolutionary. It is a clarion cry, an 11th hour wake up call, to honestly evaluate why we do what we do. This is a must read for anyone who wants to come to terms with ULTIMATE reality, embrace ultimate truth and learn how to shape and order their lives around it. AMAZING!”
Author of Otherlen: Tale of a Dreamfaller
“Mindful and heartfelt, this book is an ode to a father’s love for his son. Chock-full of nuggets of wisdom that we all would do better to keep in mind on this journey called life.”
The Blueprint for Building This Book
There better be a good reason for one more book on life to be written, right?
The way I originally conceptualized this book was as a series of letters from a father (me) to his newborn son (mine), in which the father explains what life is all about. These letters have been adapted into chapters so that they might be shared with the world in the form of a book. It’s said that wisdom and knowledge always increase when it is shared with others. It’s my heartfelt hope and wish that this book can help others find meaning in their life. If I can inspire, change, motivate even a single person on this earth through this book, I would consider my life worth living.
When a man’s wife gets pregnant, it tends to set off some pretty deep thoughts in his brain. As I pondered over my changing life, I had a saddening realization: that, because my time on this Earth may end at any time, I have no idea how much I have to spend with my child and to see him grow. I may not have enough time to share with him all the wisdom which I wish to. That’s a risk I don’t want to take.
Thus I began writing letters to my soon-to-be-born son. At the time of putting together this book, my wife was due in a few short weeks; the sense of urgency spurred me to complete the project in ten days. I kept all my letters very short and straight to the point. I intentionally did so in order to make sure I would share only the most important lessons and in as few words as possible.
This book is for anyone who wishes to unveil the difficult answers to life’s difficult questions and who feels the need to learn practical wisdom to apply in their daily life. To preserve the original essence of the letters, each chapter is addressed directly to my son, but the advice contained herein is applicable to everyone experiencing this journey called life.
As I write this page, you are sleeping comfortably inside your mother’s belly. Soon you will enter this wonderful but at times crazy world. Ever since we found out about your existence, I have been thinking about what I, as your father, can provide you that will stay with you for your whole life, long after I am gone. I decided on this book. It is a brief book attempted by a common man to spread his simple, commonsense, everyday wisdom. There lies certain wisdom in every aspect of experiencing life, and everyone living on this earth has encountered it. Whether they look it in the face is a different matter.
This book is full of my honest views on factors of human existence, such as people, relationships, business, life’s purpose, emotions, fear, love, greed, and more. It is divided into ten chapters, but to understand the message, you have to collectively understand the whole as one; they are not ten separate messages but rather one message explained from ten perspectives. My hope is that by gaining this knowledge, you will find it easier to navigate your journey.
My earnest intention is to discuss the truth and only the truth, nothing else. It is to offer you a blueprint from which you may know yourself better and, consequently, know the world better. In these pages, there exists a clear filter through which to see the world, truly see the world, and yourself in it, belonging to it and within it in a way that serves your highest joy and purpose. I do not expect that you would understand all of the concepts in a single reading. As you reread these concepts throughout different stages of your life, the wisdom will continue to unfold for you. I strongly recommend and desire that you read it every year on your birthday, refreshing your mind on the lessons learned here and cross-checking them with the actual reality of your life. Another important tip: do not pick up this book as a bedtime read. I repeat, please do not read it as a source of intellectual entertainment. If you seriously want to understand its contents in the spirit they are written, read this book early in the morning while the entire world around you is sleeping (which is exactly the way I wrote it). Read it in the sweet solitude of your own company, calm and undisturbed by the voices and chaos of the external world. I am confident that by doing so, you will grasp what I want to communicate to you.
Boy, welcome to the world! And now, let’s begin this journey!
Now that you are here on this earth, traveling on the road called life, it's very important you understand what exactly life is all about. So the truth is, life is the journey straight towards death. It is a slow, beautiful, yet challenging journey towards death. Sorry for being so dramatic in the opening paragraph of the first letter. But son, that’s the ultimate truth.
The sooner you realize this concept, the easier it will be for you to get comfortable with this world. This one simple concept will save you from a lot of misery. Living your life with humbleness, knowing that one day you will be departing this world, will keep you grounded. You arrived naked and empty-handed in this world, and so will you leave. Now that you are aware of this fact, consider yourself lucky. You will observe that most of humanity operates as though they were here on this earth for eternity. This simple realization will offer you a realistic perspective of the world and a keen eye for the things that truly matter. This realization will help you distinguish the madness of this world from the actual reality.
So what is the actual reality?
To understand the reality, let’s first understand how your mind operates. Your mind constantly keeps you busy with thoughts, some wanted and others unwanted. Your mind creates an illusionary world—what I call an artificial, or delusionary, reality—by keeping you busy thinking about things that never occurred and might never occur. While your mind keeps you busy with thoughts, you are missing the moments that you are living and breathing. The moment to moment, each and every breath you take, is actual reality. This very moment when you are reading this sentence is actual reality. Everything else is an illusion. Be mindful of the present moment; it is the best and only gift. It only matters what you do now.
You will see that people compare someone's life to their age, as if the two are equivalent. They say, “Wow, this guy lived ninety years.” But life is not about how many years you are here on this earth. It’s about how many moments you are actually alive during those years, how present, and how aware were you of those moments -- no matter how short.
People often spend their entire lives dwelling in their pasts and worrying about their futures. While they are doing this, they forget to truly live in the moment. To understand life, you must understand the present. To enjoy life, enjoy this moment. Live life from now, moment to moment, welcoming each experience of life as it unfolds its nature to you moment to moment.
The Nature of Life
If I were to teach you only one word from the English dictionary, it would be impermanence.
· “the state or quality of enduring for a limited period of time.”
· “not permanent or enduring; transitory.”
Son, remember the nature of life is impermanence, and this is the ultimate truth.
Let's take a look at this concept from a different angle. If you observe carefully, you will notice that nothing around you is still. Everything is in a constant state of change, either by form or by motion. Day fades to night; night fades back to the day. The planet’s seasons switch from summer to fall to winter to spring, and the cycle repeats. The entire geography of the earth has been in a constant state of transformation for billions of years. Looking at the bigger picture, outer space is in contact movement as well: planets revolve around stars, stars burn, and countless other phenomena occur every single moment everywhere in the universe.
Now let's look at ourselves. Starting with conception, our physical body is constantly changing—from infant, to toddler, to teen, to adulthood, to old age. This is very apparent when we look at photos taken twenty years apart, for example, but the reality is that we are changing every fraction of every second. Trillions of cells which make up our body are dying and being replaced by new cells. We cannot perceive these small changes, of course.
Whatever you encounter in your life will have the same nature of impermanence. Your thoughts, your emotions, your feelings, your loved ones, and your surroundings, nothing will remain the same or still. It is all in a constant state of transformation.
You might ask, How does this knowledge help me?
Well, it helps you keep your emotional equilibrium. When you have a new experience, be it good or bad, positive or negative, you should never get too excited or too depressed. Always remember that whatever situation or environment you currently find yourself in, can and will change. This is the nature of life.
For example, if you encounter something to your liking — something attractive, beautiful, addictive, or anything which generates craving for your five senses — aim not to get attached to the pleasant sensations it generates. Experience it and enjoy it fully, but detach yourself from needing it to feel happy. This type of need or craving will make you feel as if you are always missing something in life. Enjoy things you like, but remember that you are ultimately the only source of your own happiness. Be a wise witness to your feelings and desires instead of a slave to them.
On the other side of the spectrum, for example, when you encounter anything you dislike — be it misery, suffering, any unpleasant situation or circumstance — don’t cultivate the feeling of aversion towards it. Try to be non-judgmental and disidentify yourself from the negative feelings and emotions surrounding the situation. No matter how intense the situation is, it too, shall pass.
Always remember, nothing in this world is permanent. The best way to experience life is to have a very balanced and equanimous mind which neither craves pleasant sensations nor abhors negative sensations of the mind or body. The greater your equanimity and imperturbability, the more you are able to observe life as it is, the greater the clarity with which you will begin to look at life directly in its face.
The chapter entitled “Understanding Yourself and Others” will go into more detail about how keeping in mind the nature of life will help you understand yourself and the world better.
The Law of Nature
It's time you understand the law of all laws, also called the “law of nature” or the “law of the universe.” Here it is:
“Nothing happens in the universe against the will of nature” – and this is the ultimate truth.
From the smallest particle of dust to the largest mass in outer space, everything works in accordance with the will of nature. Nothing can escape this law. Anything that you encounter in your life—from different; situations, to feelings, to surroundings, to people, to experiences—happens only if nature wishes so. Whatever nature intends has nothing to do with you or your wishes. You are powerless before nature’s will. However, if you can work with it, it will be your greatest ally.
The logical question you might have at this juncture is, Don’t I have free will?
Sure, you do, but your free will is limited to the boundaries of your body and mind. Once you are faced with a situation outside your body in the physical world, your individual free will is superseded by the will of nature.
Here is a clear example to better illustrate this concept:
You are planning to attend a friend’s destination wedding. You are his best man, so you better be there. You have planned everything, from transportation to hotel accommodations to your speech. But on the day of your departure, it so happens through an unfortunate turn of events that you miss your flight. Maybe you forgot your passport, or you hit extraordinarily heavy traffic on the way to the airport, or your car won't start, or you fell ill, or a snowstorm sprang up. There’s an endless number of permutations and combinations of possible events that are out of your control and due to which you might miss your flight.
Any one of these events, however, is not random; it is precisely calculated and well planned out by the will of nature. Our small and limited minds cannot fully understand the reasons behind these events, we must only trust with our hearts that what happened was for the best for everyone involved. Sometimes nature provides us with detours (that we sometimes perceive as inconveniences) that actually saves our life, protects us from danger, or guides us towards a circumstance that is better than the one we have planned.
Normally you observe people going into panic mode (experiencing anxiety, depression, anger, hate, and so forth) if anything happens against their will or their plans. This just goes to show that they are ignorant about the law of nature. Son, don't have the slightest doubt about this law. The law of gravity was just as powerful and true before Newton “discovered” it, right? Whether a given person has learned the law of gravity or not—whether he “believes in” it or not—it still works and does its job. Similarly, the law of nature is true every moment without fail, regardless of you.
It’s my earnest hope you do not fall into panic mode out of ignorance.
What should you do in the situation described above? It’s simple: just be calm. Relax. Take a few deep breaths and remember everything you have read in this book. Your job is to be fully aware and examine the new situations which life presents to you. If you observe enough, you can accept the reality as it is (which is that you have missed your flight) and not how you want it to be. If you come to terms with the reality, you soon realize that nothing in your life happens for no reason.
You might be thinking, Okay, so what’s the reason I missed my flight to my friend’s wedding?
Perhaps there’s a beautiful girl who sits down next to you at the airport after missing her flight as well, and you two turn out to be soul mates. Soon you both would be thankful for missing those flights. But if you are not present in reality, you aren’t aware of how many such opportunities you are missing every moment of your life.
Or perhaps, after a few hours, you learn that the plane you missed had to make an emergency landing due to a flight malfunction. As you missed that flight, you’d gotten booked onto a different flight, which caused you to reach your destination safely, and sooner than you would have, had you been on the original flight.
There are endless possibilities that can be realized only if you accept reality the way it is and not how you want it to be. Live life in the moment and experience every second of it. Always remember that nothing happens without the will of nature and that you are powerless against it. Fully accept the fact that anything and everything that happens is for your own good. It's nature's way of bringing you closer to your own truth.
Now that you understand how to live a little better, you're ready to have fun. You’re ready to play the game of life, which starts in the cradle and ends in the grave. In the coming chapters, I will offer you the tools and concepts that you can use when you encounter different challenges in the game.