To be or not to be

“Choice” has always been the key element all along in our lives. Our lives are driven by the choices we have made so far and the future would be determined by the choices currently being made. “To be or not to be” as goes the famous Shakesphere soliloquy, puts all in perspective. These powerful 6 words initiate a depth of introspection within a thinking mind. In Hamlet, the question of contention was “suicide”, whether suicide was the answer to put to an end, all the grieving that comes associated with Life. One could argue that how could there be such a naïve question, such a cowardly consideration of running away with “Suicide” and how in the world could that be the central question. But then, contemplation of very life was the central fact that gave birth to this essential conflict. Our entire life is really a matter of resolving conflicts.  Between two powerful, yet tangentially opposing options that every such conflict brings along with it, a lifetime passes by.
The objective of this article is to dig a little deeper into this question. The question is to lead a fulfilling life, do we need to constantly sway in the pendulum of two extremes in every moment of this life. A few simple options, we face, in present day world could be “To go for a new car or an old one, to finish conflicting priorities at work. While “To take a new job or to stay in the current job”, “To get married to the dream girl of your life or to marry the girl who loves you the most” “Which career path should I pursue” could be considered the closer versions of “To be or not to be”.
When we make the decisions that we make, we spend a lot of energy, time and effort in justifying the choices we made during and after the decision. It takes a lot of courage to admit to oneself the wrong choices he or she had makes in a lifetime. While an individual would never always make the favorable choices, one would invariably regret the unfavorable ones. Oftentimes, a choice made by an individual could be an incorrect one economically, psychologically, or logically in the long standing but when life itself is transient and possessions of one world can’t pass onto another when we leave, which one day we all will, what is the point of contemplation/regret of past events ? Instead, would it not be better to redefine the purpose/objectives of life to make ourselves worthy of it .
To forgive the “others” we think might have wronged us, we must learn to forgive our own selves. As almost always, the true grieving comes from recognizing the fact that how vulnerable we have been, how we could have allowed that to happen to us, how in all our wisdom we didn’t see that coming. If one can muster up the courage to admit to see the truth the way it is and realizes that the situation is their own responsibility, the battle is half won. The other half of the battle lies with one learning to forgive himself and starting to think selflessly and act compassionately.
Krishnamurthy, the great philosopher, once said that the definition or purpose of death is to cleanse one’s mind of these eternal conflicts and the associated attachments. And so if one chooses to free himself of those in his lifetime, the conflicts would die their natural death and then can come a life of true Freedom; Freedom from the fears of uncertainties, freedom from being the slave of external situations and ultimately the freedom from running away from one’s own impeding death.
The contentious “To be or not to be” would continue to popup in one form or other in day-to-day life. But if we can realize that our choices, whether they would have a favorable outcome in future or an unfavorable one, are not really set in stone. We do always have a choice and it boils down to the simple questions of what truly makes us happy. Happiness, people tend to think of it as something relative which is personal to each individual. Though the conditioning of the brain can trigger the emotion differently in different individuals, it’s the longevity of the emotion that really counts. Material possessions, greed of power, position and lust, and selfishness can trigger the emotion and so can sacrifice selflessness and compassion. And within the heart of hearts, one always knows what truly lasts long and gets us closer to our true selves. We can choose to seek whatever we pursue in one form or another but if the purpose of pursuit could be detached from the nature of outcome it produces (however favorable or unfavorable), happiness could be found in this lifetime and free from bondage to oneself.
And so, the greater meaning of the soliloquy “To be or not be” can’t just be whether to live with the choices we have made or to give up in shame and regret.  Embracing the only irrefutable fact in one’s life, “Death”, with the determination to remain at peace, fulfilled and happy in every breath of our life that would slowly but surely lead us towards our “Freedom in eternal peace”, can alone save our lives in our lifetime. Its arguable that its true meaning would rather be in “To be or not to be happy, self-fulfilled, limitless with whatever cards one is dealt with”, “To be or not to be alive to the experience of life without sinking in regret of past mistakes”, “To be or not be oneself, ones true self (the selfless Godly character) in the face of an unforgiving/hypocrite society”, “To be or not to be fearless in Life which ironically holds the only truth of a certain death”. And so let us all choose “To Be”.