Live life, not opinions!

September 13, 2011 at 4:31 am

I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn’t wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine.

Bertrand Russell

Sometimes we believe that our opinion defines us. Other times, we believe our stature depends on how steadfastly we stand by our opinion. Our opinion we believe is a strong indicator of our self-worth. And this is the most recognized form of advertisement in the society. When you look through the ‘opinion’ lens, the most successful person is one whose opinion is no longer an opinion but is considered as a ‘fact’ by the society.

Let us examine this in a little more detail. It is not the opinion, per se, that we are concerned about. It is our attachment to the opinion. We believe it is ours and hence us. In a way, we define ourselves as a collection of opinions by attaching ourselves to it. People get offended when they hear this. People believe strong opinions is an indicator of a person’s capability of ‘doing’ things.

There is another school of thought. If you are opinionated, you will take a stand and hence will be an interesting person to talk to. In fact, the truth is we do not want to spend time with a person and know him/ her better. We just want to slot them into one of the stereotypes we have developed based on our limited life experience. One of the common stereotypes is ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ people. Very often I hear statements like, “He is such a good man”, “She is such a nice lady”, etc. etc. Very clearly we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.

When Sachin declared that he was an actor and not a cricketer to save a few crores of rupees worth of tax people were almost shocked. “Such a nice person how can he do such a thing” as if he had just committed a murder. People started getting disappointed with Sachin itself. I think it would be easier to alter your opinion. Then came along a Yoga Baba who started the entire corruption hungama. But then people were like, why would someone who teach Yoga to people try to teach how to run the Government? Nowadays even his Yoga classes are going empty apparently!

We are forming opinions based on what we see and hear. Unfortunately, what we have not seen or heard is always more than what we have. Yet we are quick to form opinions and act and decide based on that. Sometimes we realise our haste. But more often than not it is all happening in unawareness. We can be aware enough to see what is not seen and hear what is not heard, if we can avoid judgments. That is the first step. Opinions and judgments are a hindrance to experiencing what life has to offer. And we seem to be living with disappointments mostly because of this. We need to learn to live life, not live our opinions.