Noel

"What's Paradise for You?" is an ongoing project. Whenever I meet this particular person that has a spark of life and inspiration to share I ask him or her the same six questions, starting with "What's Paradise for you?". The person just speaks and engages in the flow of words and ideas, bringing in his or her unique collage of life.

Every human is just so utterly unique. When we start to recognize this, joy will never find an end.

Chidambaram, December 2019


Noel (25) works a s an outdoor educator in southern India.


What’s Paradise for you?

Right now I would say paradise is a place without pain or suffering. And also you are happy doing what you are doing.

Do you live for yourself or do you live for others?

So I have this thing which… - I always wanted to create a better world for others. That’s a thing which has been in my head for many years, creating a better world. And I was always thinking about how I can contribute to that. So in that way I think I do want to help others and I feel that’s my calling in life. Helping others. Making a better world. At the same time I can’t do that without taking care of myself and putting myself first. If I can’t do this first I cannot do that. So I think I am important so that I’ll be able to achieve the bigger goal: Just helping others and the world.

Do you have any values on which your actions are based?

A lot of it.

I think generally speaking all of our actions are based on our values, right. So I would say my values… If you would have asked me this maybe two years back, one year back, maybe six months back I would have given a different answer what my values are. It’s constantly changing. Right now some values which I think are important in my life are being truthful, living life to my fullest potential and helping others so that they can reach their full potential. Guiding them. And what other values… Being more grateful for what we have, what I have. – I’m not good at all these values. I just think they are important. I try my best to follow them.

How do you act or what actions do you take?

Caring. Trying not to hurt people intentionally. Trying to be truthful, act in a truthful way.

One thing which I’ve realized – it’s kind of paradoxical – is: If you actually want to help people to get stronger, to get better, it’s actually better not to prematurely help them. It’s better not to do everything for them. It’s better for them to figure out what is to be done. It’s better to let them think about what is to be done. And let them fail at it and let them learn on their own.

How did you figure that out?

I think it’s through reading and also through experience. Because when you always do something for someone you are actually stopping the growth. You are not letting them grow, you are not letting them experiencing a lot of things, making the mistake and learning through the mistake. I feel like learning always comes through mistakes. So that’s one example.

And I think there is also an element of kindness in there. Because if you actually help someone right now, they might suffer in the future, right. So I let them fail now, you know. They learn right now so that they are better in the future. So that’s something which I do. And being truthful is… To be more specific I would say: Saying the truth is very hard. Because… It’s hard to explain. It’s just hard. And it’s so much easier to lie than to say the truth. But I feel if you tell the truth – whatever it is – if you tell the truth your life will be much better. For example it could even be like in my job: If your boss asks you ‘Can you do that?’. If you can’t actually do it. If you don’t have the skillset to do it. If you don’t have time to do it, it’s better to tell them ahead than take it up and fail at it. So be more truthful so that people will also trust you. For me trust is a very important element. If I don’t say the truth obviously the people around me are not going to believe me anymore, right. You can’t build that trust without saying the truth. Even if it hurts in the short term. So I think that way I feel like I try to be truthful most of the times.

What does nature mean for you?

I feel nature is very important. And I also feel that you don’t have to go to a specific place to experience nature. It’s all around us, right. Lot of people go on vacations, different countries, to experience the beauty of it. I think it’s all around us. And when you experience the smaller things in life I think it’s much more valuable. Be grateful for what you have. Enjoy the little things. Like this place right here is also nature, right. You can sit here, enjoy the sound of the rain. You don’t really have to go to the mountains to experience nature. But there’s also an element of exploration and adventure to it. Because we humans are not meant to be stationally. We’re meant to grow. Because if we stay here long enough we will want to go, we will want to explore. I think nature is… I think it’s the most beautiful thing. And I believe in the healing power of nature. A lot of our troubles in life… I feel like we lost touch with nature, even with our nature. We are also part of nature right. And also there is like a duality to nature. There is all the positive side to it. Nature has a benevolent side and there are also zyclones and earthquakes and hurricanes. I think nature is scary too in that way. It’s beautiful and the same time it’s scary. I feel like we need to respect it. Be in tune with it. And live our life.

We were talking about the floods and everything, right. In a way that’s how nature is. I’m sure there are human activities which are increasing the probability of the floods. But nature has always been fierce and scary for so many years. Like volcanoos, cyclones, endless rain. So I feel like instead of fighting with nature we need to adapt to it. The whole world has to adapt to it. It’s not a country issue anymore. Nature doesn’t belong to a specific country. What happens in the pacific ocean can effect what happens in the polar regions. So I feel we as humanity as a whole, we have a tremendous responsibility to bring about a change. Like as you said the refugee situation is very sad. Loss of homes, people are dying…

Do you have an ideal of society?

I think one ideal of society which I feel will be better or which we can do better is: Each of us can do what we are passionate about and what we are good at in contributing. If everyone in the world is doing what they like doing, I feel the world would be a better place, an ideal world. Like if you see the banker and people in the Wallstreet… I mean some of them they do like doing that. That’s also there. But I feel like there should be a balance. There are people like that who love doing business, love inventing things, like scientist and entrepreneurs and bankers. But at the same time there are people who are compassionate and protective. I think instead of following the society pressure, these people should follow their passion. They should do what they like. Could be very small thing like educating children or taking photos, writing books. I think that’d be ideal society.

Noel inspires and shares his knowledge of the human psyche on instagram: https://instagram.com/christan.noel?igshid=rtre71vb0aad