(042) 35300721
Mon - Fri 09:00-17:00
Free consultant

Life—simply complicated?

Huzaima Bukhari

“Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated”—Confucius.

Nothing seems to satisfy man! Those living in the villages yearn for the bright city lights and sounds and the city dwellers enviously view the villager’s laid back lifestyle. The poor crave for money while the rich find themselves using all means to protect and secure their wealth. The office hunk wants to be able to exercise his body while a labourer wishes he could spend his time at a desk. Those who have less of everything want more and those who have a lot, do not really know what to do with the excess. The fat, are keen on shedding their weight and the lean, go to all sorts of extremes to look fuller. In short, there is no end to either our desires or our ungratefulness. If we closely observe life, it is simply a cycle of being born to eventually die and the space in between these two extremes is what can be, either simple or complicated.

So, one thing is quite clear, life is not as simple as we would like it to be. Confused and lost, I decided to have a sitting with one of my friends, a well educated lady who has devoted her life to her family and home but her personality is like that of a thorough professional. Being gifted with a high level of consciousness, and experience of interacting with a wide variety of human beings, there is nothing more fulfilling than a lively talk with her on a balmy afternoon. Discussing this topic, a number of issues cropped up that despite being everyday matters have an important bearing on people’s lives.

With respect to general public we felt that “humans are usually self-centered” and are prone to considering their own behavior as correct in comparison to ‘others’. This is most conspicuous in situations where someone is unable to do something like for example a woman who is forbidden from cutting her hair by her parents or husband will keep condemning the very act of getting one’s hair shortened until she gets the opportunity to clip her tresses. It is then that the earlier outrageous act is no longer despicable. If one has to eat one’s words later on, then why pass judgements or behave in a hypocritical manner?

Then there is a tendency to follow trends regardless of one’s real choice. An interesting example is that of going to the gym or attending ‘dars’ (religious sermons). Whether one actually so desires or not, just because it is the ‘in’ thing, one feels compelled to do it otherwise what are others going to think is of greater concern to us. Here, our discussion took a turn moving towards self-consciousness. Are we so ignorant that in order to learn about our religion or what is good and bad for us, we need the assistance of a preacher? Why do we have the urge of abandoning our domestic duties and spending hours listening to things we can easily find out on our own? The attendees apparently are the educated women of society who should not face any difficulty in seeking knowledge (if that is the real objective) from resources conveniently available in their immediate surroundings—or is this is a sort of escape route, (to which no one can object) for the bored housewives? If this exercise makes them better human beings then it is worth it but if there is indulgence in loose talk or a contemptuous glance at a non-conformist, immediately after?

On repeating my question about whether life is simple or not, my friend answered in the most precise and crisp manner that life is simple but the humans are complicated and tend to complicate things for themselves and others. Two most commonly found attributes conceit and obstinacy are actually responsible for all the malaise existing in our society. We try to impose our opinions on others, thrust our own understanding especially on happy and sad occasions like weddings and funerals. No ritual is complete unless there is a heated argument on how to go about it. Just because there are some who consider it their duty to dictate their terms whether solicited or not.

A cursory look at our public behavior also reveals a lot about us. Check out the crowd that gathers to see two men quarrelling over, say, a petty amount of five hundred rupees. There is a possibility that this brawl can become fatal but no one from the crowd will step forward and pay off the meager amount to amicably settle the dispute but may eagerly try to separate the belligerent fellows. We tend to add fuel to fire rather than calm down a volatile situation. Why? Probably because there is within us so much inert hatred or what can be termed as negative energy that it gushes forth at delicate moments such as these otherwise how can one explain when two antagonistic tribal families can only be pacified with the onlookers insisting on disgusting solutions as vani (forced child marriage)?

Contemplating on solutions as to how we can improve ourselves to simplify our own and other people’s lives we thought of some recommendations for our own selves. To begin with, we should honestly believe that adoption of the moderate way is the best to cope with life. A balance between two extremes, whether it is the way we conduct ourselves, fulfill our obligations to our families, maintain our social relationships, the extent to which we interfere in other’s decisions and lives, no matter how closely we are connected. Everyone has a right to make his own decisions and hold opinions that must be respected.

We should constantly aspire to learn rather than preach. Performance matters not words! We can only impress others by our acts, not by what we say. Instead of downplaying other people it would make life much easier if we focus on how best we can improve ourselves. We are quick to pass judgements and immediately point our finger censoriously at anyone who digresses from what we prefer or take false pride in. We need to understand that in order to create an appealing impression we must cultivate our real humanistic and compassionate qualities. We should refrain from over-thinking and delving too deep into whatever goes around us. In other words, the more relaxed our attitude is the more simple life would become for us. Our life is not the perfect emblem we would like it to be but we could make it beautiful by letting go of all negativity!


The writer, lawyer and author, is an Adjunct Faculty at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)

Related Posts

Leave a Reply