I like running. It is an activity that helps me process a lot of emotions, engage in a focussed, meditative act, and gain some cardiovascular fitness. I’m not a pro-runner, though, and primarily run for recreation. Curiously, I have started enjoying running more since my formal yoga training. Running was introduced to me by a dear friend, Sudhanshu, back in 2010 or so. Since then, running has been a fallback option in case I am not engaged in any other fitness activity.
When the covid restrictions were lifted back in 2020 here in India, I was not at my best regarding physical fitness. Before my yoga teacher’s training, I used to treat fitness as something I would indulge in only when it was an absolute necessity judging the number on the weighing scale. I didn’t understand that fitness is a way of life and not an indulgence catered to a specific goal. Anyway, that’s a topic for a separate piece or podcast.
I have always had an affinity for yoga, so sometimes I used to do a few Surya Namaskars, and once we were allowed to go out, I started going to a nearby garden to run. However, I noticed that even though I was wearing proper running shoes and good quality socks, the skin between the toes used to get chafed mid-way through the run. I couldn’t quite understand why it was happening.
One day when I met my dearest friend, Rohit, I casually shared my little grief. He suggested I try and moisturize my feet before putting on socks and shoes.
Almost two years since that incident, and I have never since had the same issue while running.
Once during a workshop, the host asked a group of people how many present here do a get-together with their close friends and talk about their lives and so on. If not physically, then say, at least getting on a call and sharing and listening.
While this may sound clichéd but largely within that group, the number of women who affirmed doing so was more significant than the number of men. A prominent reason for this has to be the wrongly ingrained ideas of masculinity that can make either gender shy away from sharing. In the earlier generations, talking about your problems and sharing them were not considered macho.
When the host further asked how would they feel if they were denied that chance to share?
The respondents said that if they couldn’t share as much as they did, it would add to their collective stress and anxiety. Even the ritual of getting on a call or meeting a dear friend once a month helped them feel calmer and more peaceful.
While this cannot count as a ‘scientific study’ one cannot deny the efficacy of truth in the survey.
The most desirable thing a human needs is someone to give them a patient and present hearing. If there is one thing that can make a person endearing to another, it is the ability to listen.
There can be many things that may inhibit us from sharing our hearts:
- Fear of judgement
- What if the other is busy with their own life and doesn’t have the time to talk
- Fear of vulnerability
- Feeling of unworthiness
- Introverted disposition
- Thinking our problem or anything that we have to share to be insignificant
- Not having someone trustworthy or available to reveal our heart
- The trap of ego 🙂
My personal experience, owing to the blessing of Shri Krishna, has been that, more often than not, people are willing to help or hear you. More than we give them credit for 🙂
This, of course, needs us to ‘utilize’ the blessing of having people around.
How do we do that?
By investing in the relationships first. By being present with them, serving them to the best of our ability, and being genuine in our intentions. As one of my spiritual mentors puts it, you need to invest consistently in relationships before you think of withdrawing.
I have also felt that sharing and talking with others also leads to humility.
When we’re not exposing our thoughts and ideas to others, we risk becoming like a frog in the well. We might think our ideas and opinions are the be-all and end-all.
The adage goes, “if you’re the smartest person in the room, you need to change the room.”
I’d say that by not sharing and talking with the other people ‘in the room,’ we risk the trap of ego and the assumption that I’m the smartest in the room. Sometimes the ones who are least expressive end up knowing a lot more.
For instance, in the Mahabharata, Sahdev (one of the Pandava brothers) had the blessing of foresight. He was the most knowledgeable of the five brothers. However, he was of grave composition and hardly ever spoke much.
When we share our hearts with others, there is always a high probability of learning something new and getting a new perspective on our ingrained opinions. Of course, all of this added to the benefits of feeling calmer and happier.
A Personal Touch
I have always gained a lot of perspective and clarity, sharing my heart with some of my dear friends.
I learned that it is not always necessary for the other person to be in a zen-like state or have everything figured out for them to hear you and even share valuable inputs. All one needs is a compassionate heart 🙂
Case in point: My friend Rohit who’d advised me to moisturize my feet before running, isn’t even a runner.
Lastly, it is also important to note that one can even converse with God. The learned ones opine that prayer is you talking with God, while meditation is when you’re listening to the divine 🙂
Thank you so much for reading until the end. I hope your investment of time in reading the piece sparks a positive idea and enables you to share more 🙂
Using writing as a tool to express,
SUGGESTIONS FROM THE SMILING PANDA:
The Beartown Trilogy is an amazingly immersive and heartful work by Frederik Backman. He is one of the top authors I have read in fiction, and I can recommend almost anything written by him.
Ramayana Unravelled by Ami Ganatra is a scholarly and unbiased take on the often debatable topics of Ramayana and its characters. A fabulous work to consider if you like reading about ancient Indian history and epics.
Severance on Apple Tv is a mind-blowing and often dark depiction. The premise involves some employees undergoing a process of ‘Severance’ that makes them forget about their life outside of work while they are working and vice versa. Loved watching it. If you like the thriller genre, the show is for you.
Silver Linings Playbook. I assume most of you have seen it, but for the benefit of late bloomers like me, you can give this a watch. The movie fetched Jessica Lawrence (who is a terrific actor) an oscar. Bradley Cooper is a treat to watch always. Our very own Anupam Kher is a good surprise. The story of an ex-teacher trying to rehabilitate back into his life and reunite with his wife after a stint in a mental hospital is funny and adorable.