For several years now, I have been generously dishing out some life philosophy to anyone who will listen. I usually deliver it with a knowing, serene and intelligent nod of the head, with the demeanour of one who has secret knowledge to share. I have been attributing this theory to a friend who shared it with me a long time ago. I think she said it was ancient Egyptian wisdom. For years I believed this was how I came into the knowledge of life. But as I say this and jog my memory, I am not sure that it was my friend who shared this pearl of wisdom with me. In fact, I’m not sure there even was such a friend to start with. But that minor detail is not going to stop me from sharing it with you today.
For the sake of good order, I did extensive research about whether the ancient Egyptians had indeed lived and breathed this philosophy. It seems they didn’t. Nor any other civilisation, for that matter. I have been unable to find the remotest thread of this philosophy in any material currently on the World Wide Web.
Under these circumstances, I have decided to claim this as my creation. Something I have discovered as I stumble through my life’s journey. Since we have so many Gurus laying claim to many newly invented or discovered philosophies with impunity, I plan to take sole credit for this discovery. I have decided to name it Hima’s 24 Carats of Life. (Disclaimer — if there is indeed such a philosophy out there, and someone else lays a claim to it, I will happily surrender my copyright)
So now, coming to this brilliant mantra or secret of life itself.
The philosophy states that every person born on earth is given 24 carats of life. That’s the gold standard. You are born with some carats as a starting point. As you go through life, you collect more carats. But at any point in your adult life, you are given only 24 carats and no more.
These carats take the form of various life attributes like money, wealth, health, family, relationships, love, success, serenity, and other things that make up life. Every time you overcome temptation and evil, you add some carats to your basket. In a world where you could be anything, be kind. Kindness is worth a lot of carats.
Everything in life is a reflection of the choices you make. Some we are proud of, some we regret, some we learn from. If your basket feels light, situations and events will force you to take a pause and review your life. You are always one choice away from a different life. If you have strayed from the path, the universe will find a way to guide you back on track and present opportunities to collect more carats. When a person collects more than their assigned quota, the law of nature intervenes to restore balance. That’s when karma, bad luck, hard times, or any other recognised form of life leveller step in.
Remember: Carats find their own level.
Think about it for a moment. This is a profound and powerful statement. And it’s a perfect mantra to embrace when we have an existential crisis.
Disclaimer: any similarity to the hydro-statistic term water finds its own level is purely coincidental.
So essentially, you need to figure out what your 24 carats are comprised of. Some people have more wealth. Some have love. Some have happy relationships, while some others enjoy good health. Look at your own life, and see what your 24 carats contain. When life seems unfair, when the grass appears greener on the other side, it’s good to take inventory of your stock. Step out of your pity party for just a moment, and start counting the carats in your life.
One desirable and happy outcome of this exercise is realising and appreciating that you have some ‘good carats’ in your basket. It’s the law of gratitude — that oft-repeated philosophy that cuts across cultures, religions, and geography. Gratitude is the secret sauce for a happy life.
Find those good carats in your life. By being grateful and acknowledging the good things your basket holds, you will experience joy and serenity.
So go ahead. Embrace gratitude and count your carats.
Hima Pathak is a banker and writer based in Dubai