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The Goan art of contentment that will radically change your life

Do the vagaries of your day-to-day life leave you feeling jaded? Has your work swallowed up all your personal time, making you feel burnt-out? Do you have a constant nagging sensation of dissatisfaction with everything around you?

 

Modern life, even with all its fruits and benefits, has done great disservice to our mental health. Despite the many technological, medical and socio-cultural advancements at its disposal, the present generation finds itself increasingly haunted by feelings of despair, malaise and a lingering sadness. What then, one might ask, is the solution? The answer is Susegad!

 

What is Susegad?

 

Susegad comes from the Portuguese word ‘sossagado’. If you were to imagine the emotion the word is supposed to invoke, it’s that of the feeling you get when you’re completely relaxed, in a blissful place where you wish you could stay forever. The Goan susegad is not a pursuit of but a state of happiness. The Goan way of life is all about taking a step back, slowing down and living in the present, an age old formula that’s regaining popularity amidst the tired cries of this generation.

 

The magical potions that make up Susegad

 

There are three ingredients that are integral to the concept of Susegad and how it unfolds for the denizens of Goa.

  • Climate

The weather in Goa is mostly sunny and often humid. Summers are balmy. Goa’s geographical location gives it the distinct advantage of a warm sea breeze that blows across changing seasons. The environment rules the moods and feelings of Goans, who have learnt to with sea breeze on one side and a tropical forest on the other.

  • Culture

Goa presents a delicious cultural blend of Indian Hindu and Portuguese Catholic cultures, an aspect that has filtered down to the way people approach situations, challenges and day-to-day life in the state. The language is a lilting mix of Konkani and Portuguese, wherein phrases are made up of both languages. Goan cuisine too is a melting pot of native styles mixed with Portuguese and other colonial influences. Goa learnt that, to find peace, it is necessary to embrace differences. The susegad spirit also arises from this intercontinental cultural marriage.

  • Habits

Habits have a way of compounding over time. Goans have made susegad habits a part of their everyday life. It’s an automatic system, from the little things like buying poee (bread) in the morning to taking a siesta in the afternoon. Habits that contribute to a susegad frame of mind arise from a combination of culture and climate. Goans have respect for the environment and recognize the role that it plays in their happiness, satisfaction and lifestyle.

It is important to note here that these habits are so integral to the lifestyle of Goans that it doesn’t feel like a chore for them. Instead, it is a way of life; rituals they’ve integrated so deeply into their lives that they hardly notice them.

 

front cover of Susegad
Susegad || Clyde D’Souza

 

The three Ms that make Susegad what it is

 

There are three Ms that explain the concept of Susegad and the feelings it engenders

Meditative – A meditative state of mind is central to the idea of susegad. It does not necessarily translate into closing of eyes and breathing but performing each activity, no matter big or small, with intense focus.

Mindful – This would mean to acknowledge the situation, be it the weather or storms in your life. It’s important to be present in the situation and accept it, rather than dwell on things that may be or could be. The Goan way is to be accepting of wherever you are in life.

Moment – Living in the moment is an art that Goans have mastered. They have learned to do this in how they eat, or what they do as per the season. In fact, if you ask a Goan, ‘Koso hai? [How’s life?]’, they’ll answer, ‘’ You ask them, ‘Family kehay? [How’s family?]’ and the reply will be, ‘Susegad.

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Ten quotes by His Holiness The Dalai Lama that will nourish your soul

The past year has been indelible in terms of the challenges it presented to humankind. With the unprecedented COVID-19 virus slowly clutching every part of world in its grip, people have increasingly found themselves feeling lost and hopeless. In times of crisis, however, the right words emerging from the right source can prove to be life-changing.

 

Today, we are presenting to you 10 such unforgettable quotes by His Holiness The Dalai Lama that will act as a salve for you during these difficult times, filling you with optimism and cheer. These thoughts can be found in The Little Book of Encouragement, a specially curated companion volume in which His Holiness shares words of encouragement to deal with new realities in a pandemic stricken world.

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1. It’s not enough to pray for one’s peace of mind; one must examine what disturbs their mind and eliminate it.

 

2. Each religion has certain unique ideas or techniques and learning about them can only enrich one’s faith.

 

3. When this blue planet is viewed from space, there are no national boundaries to be seen. To solely concern oneself with a nation is outdated.

 

4. I am just one of the seven billion human beings alive today, and as such, I try to promote human compassion based on the sense that all human beings are one.

 

5. To the young people who are protesting and are desirous of change; to those who are struggling against systems that they see as oppressive, remember—the world is always changing.

 

front cover of The Little Book of Encouragement
The Little Book of Encouragement || His Holiness The Dalai Lama

 

6. The planet does not need more successful people; the planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, storytellers, and lovers of all kinds.

 

7. Learn through listening and reading, come to an understanding through reflection, and turn that into experience through meditation.

 

8. We must ethically re-examine what we have inherited, what we are responsible for, and what we will pass on to the coming generations.

 

9. We must recognize that we are not individuals who are alone. We depend on our community and are a part of it. No matter how rich your family is, without the community you cannot survive.

 

10. Our life depends so much on others that at the root of our existence lies a fundamental need for love.

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