How to balance personal and professional life?
We are often split between these two — personal life and professional life.
But, we need to understand that life is indivisible. Life does not have two parts or twenty parts. Life is one. Machines have parts. Life has no parts. Just as you are one.
Are you many? No, you are one. You try to become many. But, in spite of all your efforts, fundamentally you are one. Life too is one.
This distinction between personal life and professional life is a very artificial distinction. Anybody who has ever told you that personal life and professional life are separate and must be kept separate does not know life. Forget about professional life or personal life, he does not know life itself. Never try to create this distinction. All is one. Do not try to wear masks. Do not say that now I have entered the office so I will be a different man and different life has begun and it is called professional life. Those who do that, divide themselves deeply and suffer. Every division is suffering.
Standing outside your room, are you are a different individual? Sitting inside your room, can you become a different individual? Neither personal nor professional, life is life. And what is life? Realizing. Being present. Not being stupid. Not being influenced. That is life.
We often say that there is a clash between the personal and the professional. We are underestimating the extent of the clash. The clash is not only between personal and professional. In the professional, there are still many many divisions. Call them A1, A2, A3, A4, A5…, and they are all clashing with each other. Similarly, in the personal, there are a thousand divisions, and they are all clashing with each other, B1, B2, B3, B4, B5… and so on.
What do you think, your personal life and professional life are undivided? No. Are you not one person in front of father and mother, and another person in front of friends? Don’t you wear one masks? In the office, are you not a different person in front of the boss, and a different person in front of the guard who sits in front of the office? Is that not so? Is that distinction only between personal and professional life? No. We are divided and divided and divided and there is no end to division.
We only live in masks. Situations change and our masks change. And every mask brings more and more suffering, more and more load within.
Don’t be divided. Remain one, authentic and Real. Why do you need to show a false face? Why do you need to hide yourself? Why are you so afraid? Why do you become a different man the moment you receive a call from your mother and a different man when you receive a call from your wife or your boss? Why the expression on your face changes? All these expressions are just masks. None of them are real. They are your various false personalities. And each of these personalities is taking its toll. If you are unhappy, if you find yourself bored, if you can pay attention, the reason is only this.
You are what you are. Don’t define yourself according to a situation; according to your relationships; according to your gender, or date of birth, or age, or educational qualification. Whenever you will do all that, you’ll find you are under the obligation to keep on switching faces. And that is such a burden.
No mask is alive. You have such a life to live, and an authentic face. Why do you want to deal in masks? Do you really look at people as what they are, or you look at them, as how they are related to you? If you look at them according to how they are related to you, then what are you doing, and why are you hell-bent on spoiling the one life given to you?
Don’t you feel happy when someone says, “You are looking great?” Don’t you feel a little nervous when people say “Ah! This type of haircut. This type of dress. What are you wearing today?” Don’t you become cautious? If that is so, then you will always wear an expression, and a dress, and a mindset, and a behavior, just to match the environment. And that is called being divided.
Wherever you are, a character will be acting as per the environment. And the real actor would be absent. You only know characters. You do not know who you are.
You only have been playing roles. Roles whose scripts have been written by somebody else. When you enter an office, somebody else writes the script, “You are in office, this is the way of behavior.” When you are in front of father, this is the way of behavior. In front of mother, this is the way of behavior. The script has already been written. Like puppets, you just follow the script. Puppets dance around so much, and puppets are seen to be laughing, and jumping, and talking a lot. But, is any puppet ever alive? Will any puppet ever experience joy?
A man who is not alone will be a very divided man. He will not know how to respond. Aloneness does not mean that I am lost in my own thoughts. Aloneness means my mind is not divided, my mind is one, alone, single, unfragmented. Aloneness means to be awake.
If you are awake, you’ll be joyful. If you are not awake, you would suffer. Every disease that the mind has is the product of drowsiness. The moment you find that the mind is confused, tell yourself “I’m not awake”. The moment you find that the mind is distracted, know for sure that you’re not awake. The moment you experience loneliness and boredom, tell yourself that I’m drunk.
The very sign of being asleep, the very sign of being intoxicated is that you will suffer. And these are the forms of suffering — boredom, ambition, greed, uneasiness, restlessness, dependence, a distracted mind, clinging to others, aimless thought. The moment these happen, just tell yourself “I am not awake”. Simple.
Don’t just keep switching roles and characters in life. Know who you really are. Stay authentic. Stay real.