Image: A woman standing in front of a large aquarium tank, looking up in wonder.

The Wonder is in Your Eyes, Not in the Scene!

This article by Srikumar Rao originally appeared on the Rao Institute.

I remember the very first place of my own I had in the US.

It was a studio on the thirteenth floor of an apartment building on the Southwest corner of 113th street and Broadway. It must have been substantially renovated because I do not recognize it anymore.

On the ground level was a Pizza Parlor called Pizza Town. A slice of pizza cost 35 cents – the same as a NYC subway token. Two slices and a coke cost me a dollar and a nickel and the owner – or manager – would sometimes waive the five cents so I had a meal for a dollar. I am not sure how I would have survived without Pizza Town.

My studio was small. So small that even the rats were square shouldered. A tiny refrigerator came with it and the first time I opened it I heard a whisper and then a lot of scurrying. It was full of cockroaches.

The area was seedy and poorly lit. Bright sodium lighting was two decades away. Muggings were distressingly common. So common that I formulated my own strategy. If I was accosted by someone with a gun, I would hand over everything I had and pray. If I was accosted by someone with a knife I would run like hell. I could really run in those days. I frequently played five straight games of squash without taking a break.

Death Wish, the vigilante movie starring Charles Bronson, was set in that time period and in that geographical region.

So it was a pretty depressing time, right?

Au contraire!

I was having the time of my life.

Image: A woman standing in front of a large aquarium tank, looking up in wonder.
Source: Unsplash

I got to hang out with spiritual luminaries like Ram Dass and Swami Muktananda. Deshung Rinpoche, a senior monk of the Sakya tradition in Tibet, was at Columbia and I spent much time with him. His interpreter became my good friend and squash partner.

Looking back, I can see clearly that the ideas I was exposed to in those days shaped my life in foundational ways.

And the grime and filth and danger? I barely noticed them as I was in America. I had made it there on my own after much striving and the streets of wonder were paved with gold.

And that brings me to a valuable lesson I would like to pass on.

What happens to you matters – but just a little.

The stories you tell yourself about what happens to you, matter a great deal.

Be acutely aware of what these stories are and make sure they serve you well.

  • Srikumar

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Published: June 24, 2022

Image: Dr. Srikumar Rao

Srikumar Rao

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Dr. Rao has helped thousands of entrepreneurs and executives worldwide achieve a quantum breakthrough in their personal and professional lives. He has helped them reach entirely new orbits of success and accomplishment. And they have done so while rediscovering joy in life and genuine unadulterated happiness.

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