Mental health for creativity…

Master Oogway
Quote from the film, Kung Fu Panda.

No, this is not another guru gyaan… Or some self help write-up. It is a pre-cursor to something interesting coming up on the #SAundCheck blog. And contributions here will be from several “seasoned” creative minds (musicians and sound engineers) from the Indian music industry. What will they write about? You’ll know more about this in the #SAmajh survey to be conducted by us.


Recently, a music producer told me that i should cover topics related to “mental health” on this blog as well as on the #converSAtions youtube channel. Why did he mention this? Without getting into quotes by famous philosophers and business tycoons, one thing is for sure – Creative people are a lonely lot. Especially the sound engineers and musicians who work in low-lit recording studio environments. Even during their gig tours, the performers barely get time to visit the city they are playing in! Sleep becomes precious over time.

And till an age, our bodies can take such constant abuse to itself. But there comes a time when we all feel disturbed – lonely, unwanted, insecure and nowadays… unfriended! Before you jump to any conclusions, please note that creativity does not belong to any particular profession. Every human has an unlocked potential within.

i summarize below some of my recent experiences and learnings when placed in an isolated / quiet / calm environment. You may choose to continue reading this article to know what these have been so far.

There are several things that our mind goes through on a daily basis which leads to some sort of agitation and restlessness. In such situations, it is very difficult to come up with anything creative. That is how it seems to be programmed.

When you ask yourself or people you really know about what are the common reasons for getting anxious / worried / jealous / insecure, these would be:
– fear of tomorrow (the unknown)
– lack of belief in the self
– not sure on how long our luck will last
and many other what ifs.

Nowadays on social media, it has become fashionable to bash the Government (whoever is in power basically). And most of us don’t even know why we have become such a constantly criticising lot. With a lack of a goal or focus in our own lives, we forget to care about people who we engage with everyday. Do we even know and celebrate the birthday of our house-help or our office assistant? Our own colony security staff would love to eat an ice-cream or enjoy a cool home-made drink as they stand in the blazing sun for 8-12 hours. Ever thought of offering one to any of them?

Some may say, this writer is trying to build an idealistic scenario, and all this sounds good to hear / read. A common reason could be, “we have no time”. And you’ve just spent about 5 to 8 minutes reading till here 🙂

Some Speaking Tree readers, or some guruji’s app followers, will say, “Happiness is the key to success.” The two most confusing / misconstrued / misinterpreted words according to me are: happiness and success.

You may now ask, who the hell are YOU to write on happiness or success? Which car do you own? What is your net worth today? You are a nobody to give us gyaan on this subject. First get your own Gulfstream (jet), and then we will ensure that your message gets circulated on social media. And only then shall we take you seriously!

When someone makes a comment on us or observes our behaviour, we instantly become alert! And usually go on the defensive, or start pointing fingers at them. There are several ways we react when someone tells us something that we don’t like to hear.

– We put that person in place via the comments box
– learn from what was told about us
– ignore the remark
– introspect, if we feel what was said could be true.

Many of us read self-help books or achieve success or be happy kind of articles because:
– it was gifted to us
– came to us as a forward
– we get curious about the author (especially if he/she is famous + a billionaire)
– we have nothing better to do.

No formula has been worked out by any saint or religion, or even God, to help us live in peace throughout our lives. What are these components in our lives though that help us carry on with it? In not any particular order, these would typically be: health, money, love, attachment, recognition (even a ‘salaam sahab’ works), a hope to change the world, etc.

One of these factors gets disturbed and our whole life seems to tumble down. And it was all okay until yesterday! And then that same man living on the street near our house, or that distant relative in a village or even that bird on our balcony seems happier!

A disturbance in our wants does not necessarily have to be negative. It could also be a “positive” one. For instance, you are given a business class ticket for your performance in your job. You feel thrilled! And why not? You should be. But then there is a problem if all of a sudden other colleagues (or your relatives or neighbours) seem like lesser human beings! Does such an achievement make you the best guy in the world? Did the ‘oh my in-human / non-existent HR department’ until now, become nice?

If any one of our daily lifestyle setting changes, it is our reaction to such a change that truly defines us.

Yes, change is disturbing and unsettling and uncomforting. And this has been said a zillion times… Change is inevitable. Without us realising, our own body changes from the inside every second. And there is nothing we can do about it. All we can control (if at all) is our response to everyday situations. Nowadays, it is fashionably termed as “mindfulness living”, or “living in the moment”.

We constantly seek a happiness or a success template online, and offline. And here’s where we fall in a trap – we end up following some swami / guru,  go stay at their ashrams, start reading holy books with interpretations done by other humans. Well, if this helps you live and feel better, please go for it. Just be careful not to “slam” these views and your own understanding onto others. Then you will definitely be unfriended online (and offline) by many, if you keep lecturing. (maybe like what i am doing here).

Each one of us is entitled to create and design his / her own way of living, and perhaps dying too. As long as this does not harm anyone else, and does not hurt the environment either, then there is nothing right or wrong about it! Stop worrying about being judged by the world outside – whether in terms of number of likes or views your song gets.

At a calm beach in Diu i was at recently, we saw many broken liquor bottles and glass pieces in the sand. We cribbed about it and went on to become judgemental by saying things like, “people who visit from the neighbouring states come and mess up these beaches.” And summed it up with the line, “our country has gone to the dogs.”

The next morning, 2 elderly people in our group went for their morning walk with an empty garbage bag. They quietly collected the broken glass pieces they found (about a couple of hundred) and trashed it in a municipal bin.

Yours truly had just cribbed and felt miserable; but did nothing to improve the situation. So it is a long long way for me to be at peace with myself and improve things around me.

A big realisation over these years of reading books on Vedanta, attending lectures, interviewing creative people, etc. is:
No swami or a book or an NGO or the Government, or even any other individual can make you do things to improve your life.
The only person who can do so is… YOU.

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1 Response


    Thank You. I have read this 3 times. I am going to read it a few times more.
    I want to implement 2 things
    BIRTHDAY of my Domestic Help.
    ICE CREAM for my Society Watchman.
    Believe me I have thought on this plus many more things BUT DID NOT IMPLEMENT. But Now I will do it.

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