Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Wire Walking

Thanks to some great comments from people, I have been inspired to write something that will give me such great pleasure to share.

What people commonly call "following the heart" is really important, yes. Another way of putting it, also common, is: being true to oneself. But I was talking to a friend recently who had an even more accurate way of putting it. He used the word INTEGRITY. That is, having integrity with and to oneself.

It is like the Hindu ideas of "svadharma" and "svabhava" - each person's "right action" is that which is in harmony with the nature of the "innermost being" of that person - ie their true nature.

I saw a superb documentary film recently that sums up how I feel and try to live (in my own way).

"Man on Wire" is about the French tightrope walker Philippe Petit who danced on a rope between the two Trade Towers (right at the top). If you can't get the film, the book written by Petit is called "To Reach the Clouds". Petit's philosophy of life and his heart are full of integrity.

Some quotes I remember from the film:
"You have to exercise rebellion....
.........to refuse your own success....
.......to live your life on a tightrope...."


  1. hmmm...imdb rating for man on wire is 8/10 I will check it out.

    Following your heart is pretty hard. Especially when the status quo is seems secure, safe and stable.

  2. :: If 'swadharma' of a person is against the normal 'dharma' won't there be chaos?

  3. Hi Girija,
    Excellent insight. This may actually nail the reason why people find "following their heart" to be so difficult. One thinks that to follow one's heart is almost an indulgence, or a privilege. We're often stuck in careers that we don't choose, and we live our lives in ways we don't choose, and we're ok with it. Because we think we'd have to be lucky to do what we really want to do.

    To think of it as how you put it - to be true (or have integrity) to yourself - nails it on the head. Then it becomes a duty, a promise to the self, to follow your heart. Anything less is a disservice.

    How does one compromise this against the "status quo"? Maybe one can start in small steps -- take your inner calling as a hobby, enjoy the process etc.

    Will definitely read the book.

  4. I Dont believe this... Girija Garu, its pleasure meeting u again... This is a wonderful blog...I watched Geethanjali atleast 100 times just because both my fav actor and actress were together... Missing u definitely...

  5. Brijesh - yes, I think that is the way to go. Once you have made it your decision to have integrity to yourself, you can make steps towards the right end (right for oneself).
    I do not think the issue can be easily resolved in words. The issue is subtle and multi-dimensional. KK says that the "status quo" is safe and secure - but what is wrong with being safe? Even the tightrope walker would not walk if he felt it was unsafe - indeed, he left the wire between the Twin Towers once he felt his luck was about up. He did not stay longer once he felt it would be foolhardy to do so.
    I think a common mistake is to think that silly risks are necessary in order to be free or to follow the heart. I think it is an interpretation born from a popular culture that puts out this kind of image and message.
    But the key lies within each individual. It is not a law that is "out there". It is within and unique to each. The focus has to be to within one's own self. Not on what the media or prevailing culture says.

    Re VG's comment on dharma and svadharma - as I understand it, if you live in accordance with your individual soul, you are naturally in accordance with the universal soul too - because they are both the Divine. And thus by acting in accordance to your svadharma you would be in the highest harmony possible with the dharma of the world.

  6. Thanks for your comments, Girija. I agree - I think there are more gray shades than "status quo" or "follow thy heart". To me, it is a constant inner struggle. For instance, to be true to my purest inner goals, the path I'd need to follow (say career-wise) may be disruptive to my loved ones.
    To borrow from a line from Richard Linklater's "Before Sunset", the Ethan Hawke character wonders, at the end of one's life, what would make one happy? To look back and say, I've been truest to myself and been the best I could be at something, or to say, I've been a good man (or son or father)?
    Some people who realize this internally solve this conflict. Then you are true to yourself no matter what (you've aligned yourself to your svadharma).

  7. Hi,

    What is ugly about a cocoon / what is beautiful about a butterfly?

    I am bothered about this classification.

    If this way of thinking is my swadharma, our conversation takes us to the point of nothing.

    If I want to continue conversation, but you do not want to because of my swadharma and if I realize that for a fact, my practicing swadharma helps me with what? How social functioning is possible?

  8. Hi Brijesh,

    Thank you for your comment that you directed me to.

    The only thing I can think of in response is to take the example of individuals who have an awakening to a spiritual path.
    Individuals who take to a spiritual life have found that their previous dharma of duties to home and family can no longer be followed. However, there are some who find they can follow their evolution while following out their normal social duties.

  9. PBS/NPR featured a documentary today called "Following Dreams", a 1 hr film about people giving up their careers to follow their passion -- and I immediately thought about this article.

    This inspirational film featured people like David Ippolito, a guy with a guitar making his money singing at Central Park, a lawyer who becomes a professional magician, a couple that sells their home to buy a farm and make american cheese for a living, a woman who wins the Olympic slalom bronze on one leg, and so on. These are people belonging to Philippe Petit's ilk. Made me realize that such people are amongst us, and we encounter them in our everyday lives all the time.

    David Ippolito sings this in his song at Central Park:
    "And if I lose my job, I can sleep till noon,
    And if the news is bad, I can watch cartoons,
    And if my house burns down, I'll have a lot more room,
    And a much better view of the moon."

    Sums it up perfectly.

  10. so you are here

    the heroine of Gitanjali film (telugu)

    good luck in all walks of your life

  11. I have always been confused with my career and passion in life. They say happiness comes when you"what you WANT to do and what you HAVE to do." The conflict of wants and haves been still there in my life. - Palani

  12. Hi Brijesh,
    The documentary you saw sounds very interesting.
    Thanks for posting.

  13. Hi Palani,
    To me, the study that you are making, of yourself, your drives and tendencies, is what we have to do in life. Really it is only when we start to question ourselves and think: hang on a minute, this keeps happening and I don't think it is quite right..why am I doing this and what on earth should I be doing... Only if we face these things can we set out to find the answers and thus live life progressively. So, I wouldn't worry. Keep going and you will be sure to uncover some wonderful things on your journey.
    Thanks for posting.

  14. Hi Girija,
    I saw your blogs really interesting.
    I am going through the same situation like many others here, haven't been successfull yet in finding what i really WANT to do with my life, but continously facing something which i dont like to do and been forced to do it because i HAVE to do it for a living.But i believe in everything happens for the best and hope that one day i might get an oppurtunity to ultimately find what i really WANT in my life.

  15. hi girija sis finally u r here.ur actng in geetanjali was superbbb.i hav seen a documentary mvie name Zeitgeist Addendum its a gud me.can suggest me abt my career.pls reply na its important

  16. Mam...Iam gangadhar, Working as a Sr.Reporter at Hyderbad. I would like to ineract with u for Important Issue
    Email: saxi.ganga@gmail.com
    Pls send ur Mail address

  17. "WE STILL REMEMBER YOU" from the movie "VANDANAM". You are an amazing actress. We miss you too

  18. Dear Girija,

    I just came across your blog, Undercut and Flourish. The first thing that I would like to appreciate is the fact that you are one of the most beautiful looking women I have come across so far, in the South Indian film industry. I always used to wonder the reason as to why you were not into further Malayalam movies after Vandanam.
    I just was going through some of the articles in your blog. Out of them, one that stood out was the one above, " following your heart. " Well, I agree to a great extent about the fact that this means being completely true to oneself, and finding out your 'svabhava'; but on the other side, I feel that this is one of the most difficult task one could ever do in the whole process of self evolution. This I feel so because, man is usually under a lot of external pressures that tend to take him away from the inner source; so, the whole purpose of one's life would be achieved if he/she is able to get to a stage where the functioning mind is located where it's supposed to be, ie at the heart, and I'm pretty much sure that this would open up different meanings for different people. Until we evolve to this stage, we tend to function like most other people, we don't know where we are headed to, and are caught up in the daily struggles of life. Most of us, just like the animals, follow our innate deep rooted habits of the mind, so the moment where our heart conquers the mind, we are 'free'. That is when humanity blossoms, and we know the true purpose of our life.
    Nice to have come across your blog. I am basically a medical doctor here in the U.S applying for the residency program here after graduating from India. Indian philosophy fascinates me too, especially the whole idea of doing a comparative analysis of the western with the eastern philosophies.
    Rohit Warrier.

  19. /“Undercut & Flourish” refers to the age-old wisdom that if you reject desire, you become free./

    Nice! Today Only I got to know this blog! Will Read all!