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The Strength of Authenticity, 2016

The Unparalleled Joy of Collecting People

Hari Prasada Das


In the foreign land of India I call motherland, we were in the midst of Rasanath and Vrndavana Vinodini’s Mumbai wedding reception when I suddenly became enchanted by a particular prospect.

I’m meeting all these people and getting invites to their homes; some relative strangers, and some old friends at varying levels of proximity to my life, but all hospitable to think of me as family. And I’m reminded of my old college days at the outset of Facebook itself, seeing how many friends I could collect without doing anything at all…

I actually made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t actively friend a single soul! No, I only take incoming requests… And by God, look at how many people are still super-interested in me! I’m building up a battalion of friends without doing a thing!

So as I was graciously introduced to person after person by dint of an auspicious association with the groom, I started to really like it… And almost as soon as I began liking it, a frustration crept in.

How am I going to do it all?
Then another.
What about that family, do I get an invite there?
And lastly.
Am I just going to be a third wheel, or worse, not invited at all?

By this time, clarity started to seep in and I could catch wind of what I was up to.
Uh oh…

This is not as sweet and selflessly loving as it seems… I think I might be on a subtle little ego trip that not a single soul can see! We were all so happy and exchanging words of appreciation and anticipation. Everyone was joyous to meet everyone else.

It was the truth. Just not the full truth. There’s often more than meets the eye…

It’s up to us whether we want to meet what’s in our true mind’s eye, or rather delight in the mystery of human unconsciousness so we can get away with tiny little murders of humility and authenticity.

Confronting as it can be, I think I’d rather not get off scot-free but be free of egotistical glee. And the more I thought about it, I was actually getting myself stressed about how I could win more and more invites, and then stressed about how in the limited time I had I could not even take them up!

The stress slithers in silently when I think I’m happy. But, that is a good mechanism to catch the ego in the act and sound the alarm on the skilled mastermind behind it. Have you seen this subtle stress too? Have you yet linked it to its supervisor, the ego kingpin?

What if we brought our mind’s eye with us into each exchange, at the risk of being exposed to ourselves, and perhaps even feeling a little criminal? What if we sought the strength of authenticity, at an unprecedented level?

For me, now, clarity reached its fruition. Collecting people for our journey is indeed extremely valuable when we take their hearts with us and don’t make them into collectibles…

I snapped out of my unconscious enchantment to offer genuine, grounded gratitude to each person. Having caught it, I consciously stopped the intention of collection. Organic connection has always served me best...

The game was over. Fun, for a moment, I didn’t quite feel like playing again.

Do you also have a people-collecting proclivity?

Hari Prasada Das

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