Whom will you hang out with today?

A couple of days ago, I chanced upon the video of Oprah talking to Adyashanti, on her Super Soul Sunday show. The way Adyashanti was talking about living life connected with me. The word ‘dignity’ popped into my head. I thought about GD and how he lives. I thought about a few more people I know on the path and how they live their lives.

Be it spiritual masters or students on the path, everyone has to participate in daily activities and experience situations that do not fit the ‘spiritual’ tag. But what struck me about them and what I have not yet managed to learn, is how I go about my life. I am still stuck between wanting to live a simpler, ‘less affected by social norms’ life vs having deep attachments to family, clothes, and dark chocolates! And so I am automatically critical about myself. Perfection is a virus that seems to have deeply infected my system and I am extremely critical about “where I assume I am on the path,” pull myself down for not doing enough, and beat myself up for still having desires and attachments.

As I thought about the journey of those who I now admire, I realized everyone has gone through this graph. But the difference between them and me seemed to be the dignity with which they went about their lives. They gave no importance to anything that has happened and did not categorize it as spiritual or un-spiritual. They simply kept learning, putting into practice what they were learning and letting go of anything that came between them and God. When I look at their lives, I see humility, acceptance and compassion towards everyone including themselves. The base of their existence seems to be a silence, an observation of what happens, and a pause before they respond. All this is based not just on their mind or intelligence, but on their connection with the silence, with the Divine.

I thought what my life lacked was dignity. But as I explore this, it is apparent to me that dignity is another ego goal; what I can see in them and what I believe is lacking is serenity. I yearn for serenity. That still space, unaffected by life around it. And this is where my learning lies. I realize not only am I tough on myself and others, but most often I am not even aware of what I am doing. Life seems to be based on judging myself, feeling afraid, rejecting my own thoughts, feeling small and silly, and reacting to all this. And yet I can see, this is normal for most minds. It is the space the mind keeps returning to. When GD reminded me on Sunday that I am obsessed with myself, this is what he had meant. A life spent listening to the mind results in a hurried, stressful life. From the kiddo’s school project to the husband busy at work, everything seems to be a conspiracy against you – a poor helpless soul.

But as a student on the path, I know this much. I have a choice. I know a life with the mind, minus the Divine, is a small, petty, un-glorious life. It seems to be a life spent in self-glorification, protection, defense, confusion or indulgence. On the other hand, a life with the Divine seems to be one of stillness, serenity and peace. And I have experienced many moments of this connection.

So I ask myself today, who do I want to hang out with? My mind ( so that I can beat myself up a bit more) or with God ( unexpected, unknown day but serene).

I know I will choose God. Who will you choose?

 

 

 

 

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The quest for perfection

For a few days now, I have been restless about judging my dad for something. Spirituality brings with it the awareness that judgements we have about others is usually something we judge ourselves for. But it is never easy to look at the things that make you uncomfortable, and so, for a few days now I have been avoiding doing some clearing work on this.

But as I prayed today morning, I felt ready to release this judgement. I am learning to honour guidance and started tapping. I usually use a combination of EFT, Clearing questions and forgiveness when I work on something. I find it works really well for me.

Aware that I needed to be honest and non-judgemental, I acknowledged all the judgements I had about my dad. It was tough to vocalize or say what I really feel, but as I tapped, I was able to release all these judgements. Remembering that these were just thoughts in the head and to not engage in guilt, made it easier to be honest.

As I tapped it the thoughts turned from the judgements about dad to judgements about other family members. Events and incidents of the past came up and led to memories of feeling judged when I was younger. As I tapped, I was also able to acknowledge hidden anger at him and others.

Interestingly, as it was ending it led to the quest for perfection, competing with God (who I believe is perfect), guilt for choosing separation from God and living as a “I”, and mostly about never really feeling perfect, good enough, or worthy. I ended it by doing forgiveness. Forgiving my dad, forgiving family, asking for forgiveness for judging them, forgiveness for indulging in this useless quest for perfection, and for believing in something called perfection.

All my life I have seen people around me struggle with their thoughts and beliefs about perfection. I have seen my mom live a life which would receive the approval of all and I in turn grew up believing that I had to be perfect too. I had to cook perfectly, be the perfect mom, daughter, wife, daughter-in-law, friend, acquaintance. As I tapped today, I experienced immense anger at how I have been believing in the wrong word and its wrong meaning all my life.

I want my dad to be a perfect dad, family wanted me to behave in a way they felt perfect, others in turn had the same expectation from those family members. It turns out the whole world is trying to live up to either their notion or someone’s notion of being perfect! This led me to question – if everyone wanted perfection, then is the meaning of perfect the same for everyone? No! For someone being perfect could mean giving more importance to helping others than cleaning their home, for others being perfect could mean choosing family over helping neighbours… And yet, we spend lifetimes in this quest for perfection.

As I tapped, it became clear to me that in my eyes God is perfect. That it is only God whom I can associate the word perfect with. But that didn’t meant that God had a standardized behavior. Because each of us has our own unique relationship with God. Then what does perfect mean!

If God meant perfection, it means perfection is allowance. Perfection is being accepting of differences, perfection is being flexible, perfection is being forgiving. Perfection means allowing others to be fragile, foolish, fearful. But most of all perfection is forgiving.

As I ended the clearing, I felt lighter because I had my own flexible definition of perfection. We all need to find our own definitions sometimes, because when we attribute inflexible meanings to words, we are limiting ourselves and others. And what I still need to remember is this is still not about finding the right meaning. There is no right and no wrong. Just remembering that allows me to be human as I look for the Divine.

Wasting my day

The first thing that someone usually asks when they meet you is, how are you? This is usually followed by – what are you doing lately ? Increasingly, I find that this is a difficult question to respond to. Questions such as why are you so busy and what do you do for a living also fall under this category. Because the truth is by the standards of the world I have been doing nothing. Why? Because almost all my days (with the exception of a few) fall under the non-remunerative slot. And so in today’s times when we have spent so much time, money, and sometimes effort, on gaining socially valuable education degrees, the very act of not earning or not working seems like a bad choice for many. So in response I am forced to either say that I am a writer (because I still do write) or that I am a housewife. But the former immediately makes people view me as someone special and the latter gets me looks of such pity or disgust that I have refrained from using it lately. The thing I have understood is that – if you are not doing something that earns you money people quickly dismiss you and assume you are wasting your day.

Wasting your day… How many of us live our life filled with the need to make every moment worthwhile; make every moment momentous, and every second move towards a purpose or a goal. Our culture promotes the notion of
work = worth. And most of us have absorbed this as a truth. I know friends who are scared at the idea of leaving work because 1. they believe money is needed and 2. They have studied so much that they believe they need to work.

But lately after walking on the path, I have changed quite a few notions related to this. I have chosen to no longer work for a living. I have chosen to have a life instead, and do work whenever it pleases me. It dawned on me, last week, that it had been 4 years since I quit active journalism and I have absolutely no regrets. The year before I quit was the best year of my career and yet it brought me the greatest amount of stress and emptiness than ever. Why? Because I had not wasted my time. I was too busy trying to capture it and frame it with my accolades of success.

And so I decided to change my life and do the very things that bring me peace instead. Music, dance, reading, lying down staring at the sky- the things the people usually associate with wasting time, I realized are the very things that bring you joy. As human beings deep down we all pursue only one thing- happiness, and work rarely equals to happiness for most. And so off-late all I do is waste my time doing what feeds my soul and I find that the universe plans my life is such a way that my stomach is fed too.

I waste my time in photography, gardening, reading, learning new energy healing techniques, practicing what I learn, playing with my son, creating art, cooking and keeping home. And I find, I am leading a fuller, more meaningful life than many, many people I know. After all we have such less time on earth and what better thing can I do with it than make it flow in a way that adds joy to my life.

This is not to say that I advocate people make the choices I have or quit their jobs. But I do hope that someday people will be able to stop, breathe a little deeper and let go of their need to dam, race against, or defeat time. What we believe is wasting our time may in the end just save our lives instead. So whenever someone asks me what I do, I have decided to just smile and say nothing. Another seeker on the path recently posted this on his blog, “when someone asks me what I do, I say – Nothing. I stay at ‘om’.” And that is exactly what I do off-late 🙂

Re-discovering writing with Rilke

An impulse is enough to remind you of what you love and truly cherish. In the recent years earning income from my writing has become so necessary that at moments I forget what it is to write for passion; to give in to the urge inside which at the very moment that I want to doze sends a flurry of words my way, sending table lamps crashing as I scout for the book to jot them down hurriedly.

Re-reading letters to a young poet, I remind myself of the necessity to go within. ‘Search for the cause, find the impetus that bids you write. Put it to test: Does it stretch out its roots in the deepest place of your heart? Can you avow that you would die if you were forbidden to write?’ asks Rilke.

I asked myself that again last night and the answer was an overwhelming yes. I found my heart pound as I read those words and knew why I write. Reading the book did one amazing thing yesterday. It took away my need for people to read my poems or even this blog. In its place is a joy as I type and see each alphabet make its appearance on the screen. It is not just my hand that’s talkative- my soul is quite chatty too. From where it sits, it sees newness in everything old and magic in the discovered new.

And now I find joy in all the writing I do. Whatever it maybe. Because once I am done taking care of the responsibility-writing (writing income that manages financial responsibilities) it is time to be responsible and write for the sheer joy of it.