What would you do if money were no object? – Alan Watts
British philosopher, writer, and speaker, Alan Wilson Watts lived in the 70s and is best known as an interpreter and populariser of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. We were greatly influenced by his teaching following our obsession over Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. Also, he led us to Jiddu Krishnamurti whose teachings have touched every aspect of our lives and which we use on a day to day basis as a guide to Great Parenting when it comes to raising Aarohi. Alan Watts’ teachings have helped us achieve unprecedented balance in our lives. It has removed so many indecisions and shown us a clear path to living a simple and conflict free life. We were introduced to Alan through a youtube video by Tragedy and Hope which used a small excerpt from one of his lectures to explore “what would you do if money were no object?” The amazing thing is even though Alan gave this lecture sometime in the late 60s, early 70s, it still holds true for almost all of us. Since we’ve lived most of our adult life trapped in this very maze, we aspire to raise Aarohi in such a manner that she avoids falling into the same pitfalls that we did. One of the reasons we are homeschooling her as part of our Great Schooling effort is because we hope that she grows up to make a living out of doing things that she loves doing based on her skills and not just following everyone else who’s studying and hoping to get a job to sustain themselves and their families.
We would like to be painters, we would like to be poets, we would like to be writers, but as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way.
One of the most important things that this video explores is what do students aspire to do as they come out of college? In my case, I have been inclined towards the arts and wanted to get into a Fine Arts college right after high school. I approached my father for it and got turned down as he felt that I should pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Science or B.Sc. and so I did with no personal interest in it. I did it just because my father thought it was the right thing for me and everybody was doing the same. Obviously, that didn’t work out very well for me. I wasted the next 3 years of my life studying something I had no inclination of pursuing as a profession. Once I graduated from college, I again implored my father that I wanted to pursue something in the field of arts. This time realising that I was not going to be able to succeed in this field he enrolled me to one of the Animation institutes without realising that what they were teaching was not at all up to the standard of the industry their students were going to get into. This again was a total disaster and led to many years of struggle in an effort to get a footing in this industry. Years later I was having a conversation with my father about why he discouraged me from going to Arts School. He refused to acknowledge that he did any such thing. To my horror, he told me that he wanted me to pursue Science because he didn’t want me to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts or B.A. I realized that I had wasted so many years of my life trying to pursue a career in the field that I didn’t want to just because my father misunderstood what I had asked him. I sat there shocked, unable to move and finally when the feeling of melancholia passed over me, I informed my father that I meant Fine Arts not Bachelor of Arts. Of course, there was no use, it won’t bring back the lost years.
In my wife, Snehal’s case, she pursued IT Engineering as a student. Worked for a few years as a programmer and lost all interest in it. Moved on to studying Animation and then pursued it as a career. She also went through a lot of struggle to find the right track. We very strongly feel that if we had given a little more thought to what we wanted to do, a little earlier in our lives, we would have lead a very different kind of life. This has inspired us to not commit the same mistake with Aarohi. One of the most important things we do in our interactions with her is that from a very young age, we pay very keen attention to listen to what she wants to say to us. Also, we realised that it was very important to give Aarohi the exposure to Arts, Crafts and Performance-based activities (Ballet, Theatre Art). In the process, I’ve got back in touch with my artistic side. I’ve started to paint again and am auditioning to perform in theatrical plays. Snehal has started reading a lot and makes hand-made crafts. This is also what Alan is conveying to us in this video. He tells us to try to identify what we really want to do in life and pursue it. Take a look to hear it from the horse’s mouth and try to answer the questions he’s asking in it: