We need to respect personal space

Published: 07th April 2013 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th April 2013 12:34 PM   |  A+A-

Please do not wear any strong scents. We want to smell the fragrance of nature!” This was a notice I saw once written by some students in a yoga centre. With an increase in consumerism and people trying to sell everything from pins and plastics to aeroplanes and weapons of mass destruction, it is time we stopped and thought about what we are doing to ourselves, leave alone what we do to the world.

A simple thing as a perfume, if it is worn just to please oneself, then it does not come out of the personal space of that individual.

Unfortunately many do not in fact wear it for themselves, but for everyone else to smell. Just as a car increases the individual’s personal space on the road, much more than a bike or a cycle does, a strong perfume expands the personal space of the individual. The person may be slim, but if wearing a scent that is strong, he becomes three to four times his size. In public places, this may not affect others much as all have the choice to move away to some other place if they don’t want to inhale the torture. If they wear it in enclosed spaces—cinema halls (even there it is not much of a bother because the mind gets totally absorbed in the movie), auditoria etc—it is nothing but sheer misery for people, several seats around them.

Why does this disturbance happen? An object, material in the case of cars, buses etc., words and mental in the case of movies, audio and perfumes, or even noxious fumes, have a form and a subtle sound too. The human mind has the capacity to register this form and sound, and store it as an impression. This impression is generally not so deep and it gets dissolved in sleep with our dreams; we can dream of seeing a bus in the shape of a car which carries only those people wearing perfumes! But when our likes and dislikes are very strong—which is generally the case of most of the people on this planet—there is a very strong mental registry that an object leaves. This is the reason why our ancestors advocated simple living and high thinking and they also lived it in their own lives. Too many chairs, too many tables, too many beds and bedspreads, curtains, computers, audio, video and mobile gadgets, plastic covers and containers have this natural tendency to create a deep impact in our minds that are not indeed very inspiring or positive in nature.

The world has enough to meet the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter for each one of us. To grab more space, more money, more food, more luxury is to only wallow in one’s own spiritual poverty. At an individual level, use anything that you wish to, but do so with awareness. Each object has its place and even waste is disposed of with awareness into that glorious container called the trash can! —Swahilya Shambhavi



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