Bye-Bye White-Collar Lifestyle, Hello Indian Roads
When I say “journey,” I mean a spiritual one. A giant was sitting on my chest, and I restlessly searched for bean stalk that would take me up to his world. I pledge with all my heart and soul, with everything that awoke me to this search, nothing will remain the same again. A new life is already calling me and offering me a warm welcome.
I have a daily routine that starts at 5:58 am, with those two extra minutes allocated to let the body become wake up and get moving. In this daily routine of moving in between self-practice and the expectations of the outer world, I feel like a ping-pong ball. Crazy questions come to mind as the inner and outer worlds contradict each other.
On the crowded bus, I turn into a huge question mark as I try to read a couple more lines from Bhagavad Gita. Aware of the passage of time, I walk briskly to the bus stop, so it takes six minutes rather than ten. In fact, I am both warming up my body and then taking a seat on the bus to rest it ready for the daily activities. I pass my days continuously multitasking, such as reading a booking on the bus and stretching my legs at the same time. This multitasking has become not just the cornerstone of my business life but of all the spheres of my life. I am painfully aware that living with a constant sense of urgency makes all my muscles stiff and pinches my nerves. How I would like to spend my days calmly and quietly, just resting and relaxing.
I live on the Asian side of Istanbul but work on the European side. Thus, I experience the inevitable consequences of living in Istanbul. I spend three hours in traffic jams every day. The most peaceful part of this is being able to meditate by focusing on the nail in the bus seat in front of me. I reconsider my motivations for adopting this lifestyle, remembering how I used to be so ready to jump into the digital world and improve myself to the point where I could manage all the processes at work. It also motivated me that with my background being in totally different fields, with me not even knowing the keyboard shortcuts, I now realize that I am capable of doing anything.
This ceased to motivate me last year, however. I do not mean to talk about my successes or how I grew from an unlikely start. I merely want to emphasize how a success-oriented perspective arises from the concept of competition, and in return, the desire for success blossoms and produces more competition. The more I internalize this consciousness, the more success loses its meaning. So, I say “goodbye” to this concept of success that has nurtured me into creating a false consciousness.
I call this a paradigm shift. Every time I used to have one of these, I would push myself more to fit in with the capitalist system and society’s rules. I tried hard to play the role of a real conformist, yet it did not stick with me. I hear the “Om” sound so loud inside. I just want to peel all the layers off me and drop them on the street.
How could all the salaries, tickets, benefits, titles, compliments, appreciation, and the desire for promotion keep me in the system for this long? As I start questioning all these reasons for success, all those satisfactory magical concepts, they suddenly vanish in a puff of smoke. I take a moment to consider how I attached myself to an illusion for the sake of living a “real life.” I also use that moment to ponder about reconceptualizing my reality.
In this process, it is not me who drinks champagne and eats fine foods. This is just my projection. It is not me who hangs out in fancy bars and looks forward to quitting time on Friday and the subsequent Saturday night fever. That is merely my projection. All those parties and dates, it’s not me there but rather a projection. I get detached from all these actions, and the more I detach, the more I alienate myself from these old patterns. Workouts, yoga, and meditation then replace the old patterns and become the new “real” activities in my daily life.
Yoga classes, morning and evening meditation sessions, kickboxing training, and therapeutic Thai massage sessions have replaced all my old habits. I start to hear the sound of happiness from deep inside. To me, reality is redefined and embodied in happiness. This awareness therefore gives me a real reason to reach out for the source of happiness and experience a deeper awareness that comes from within: Knowing yourself.
As I stick to my regular practices, I become more aware of the difference between the body, the mind, and the self. The more I become aware of this distinction, the more I prioritize my practices among my other daily activities. This reflects my approach to daily life. I set out to work in a sports outfit, and my body cries out in pain after sitting in front of a computer for long hours. I have become more diligent than ever about my nutrition. I can feel the heavy taste of fat in my mouth after I order and eat lunch at work. Even if I only want soup, it is so hard to find one without bouillon. I dream of running bare foot in the office and escaping into nature. Even if this has stayed in my mind as a mere fantasy, it has become a necessary one for me.
I continue working with this awareness, without dwelling in the center of the actions or owning them. In fact, everybody take a role in the playground, and I am also part of the game. When the time comes, I will leave the stage. In other words, I will break from the ordinary.
In the meantime, I diligently research teachings and trainings and finally decide on them. It is ironic that the preparation for a journey is harder than the journey itself. It seems like a huge project. After growing up in a standardized Western education system and experiencing the corporate world, I ultimately crashed, much like the famous blue screen of death. I see this blue screen because I planned to study for an MBA degree, but now that paradigm has shifted. I am now more enthusiastic about South Asian and Far Eastern cultures and teachings.
I intend to go to training sessions, even though I have idea about the content, and visit new, unknown places. In other words, I’ll take the fear with me and leave. Even though the thought scares me as I sit in front of the computer, the prospect of seeing the sunset at Varkala convinces me that this step will be one of the most significant experiences in my life. This meaningfulness comes not just from enjoying the moment and watching the beautiful sunset but also from all the confrontations and experiences that I will have on the roads. From the bottom of my heart, I am sure that training in a master-apprenticeship system, rather than studying for an MBA, has been a life-changing experience for me.
I always promised myself I would do something radical before age 30. In this way, I accept that making my dreams come true is not a process that can be done and out of the way but rather a lifestyle, a lifestyle free from cultivating fear and close to setting fear free. This is the way it is, because life is not about holding onto fear.