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Preserve or Adapt?

Is it smarter to preserve yourself or adapt to adverse environments?

What I mean by ‘adverse environments’ are unfavourable situations which may vary for different people. Since childhood we are all taught what’s good and what’s bad and over time, as we are exposed to the realities of life, our experiences play a major role in the shaping of our minds. What might have been acceptable to me last year, last month or even yesterday, can change because we humans are constantly undergoing change.

Over a period of time, we become our own masters. We start making important decisions ourselves and our sense of understanding of various things change. Over time, we become more individualistic; or at least one would like to believe so.

Our environments influence our thoughts more than we can imagine. Think about it, why is it that on a particularly low day, if you step outside for fresh air and sunshine or listen to your favourite pop song on repeat, it acts as an instant mood lifter? Why is it that if you are in a tense environment with people who are constantly screaming and are at war with themselves and with the people around them, you feel as if you are being attracted to that negativity and it starts to creep into you? It is because we tend to adapt to the dominant ambiance around us. For example, if negativity is dominant, then the aura infiltrates into our previously calm and undeniably joyous selves.

The question remains, should we adapt to the ever-changing environment around ourselves or should we preserve ourselves? Is reacting in a negative fashion in a negative environment something we want, or do we put in our maximum effort to preserve our inner peace in such a situation?

Personally, I try to preserve myself rather than adapting to an unpleasant environment. I would find it exceptionally challenging to do so because it was as if the ocean’s tide was flowing in one direction and I was trying to go in the opposite direction. The tide would try to pull me with its strapping current and here I am, a 50-kilogram human being trying to oppose it. Initially I would get dragged into the emotional whirlpool and would act out by lashing out on someone or would behave quite uncharacteristically. When I became aware of my behaviour that was stimulated due to my environment, I consciously made an effort to try and walk away in the opposite direction. I understood that sometimes it is easier to control and tutor yourself than trying to change someone else. Sometimes walking away is the solution and I also understood that not all battles need to be fought.

How do I do this? It’s simple- I meditate. I have been meditating for the past 4 years now and through my meditative practice I have been able to channelize my thoughts and make more rational decisions. My meditative practice has opened new horizons for me, and I have immensely benefitted from it. When my environment stimulates me negatively, I try to centre myself within and ask myself, “Is this how I want to react?”. I have seen a change in me over the past few months and meditation has played a very vital role in it. Though I would like to accept the fact that sometimes I do get pulled by the tide’s current and I get consumed in the negative whirlpool of emotions.

I recently read a quote by Anaïs Nin and it could not be more apt for the way I was feeling- she said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”


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