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.

Advertisements

The ways of grace

In what has been a tough year, the shower of grace has been both unexpected and welcome. The body has been battered and yet there has been enough grace to see that even in the lowest moments, there has been the support of some remarkable individuals I am privileged to know. What I thought was gone, returned with the fresh promise of newness; what is painful struck like a tornado, but is taking away lifetimes of debris in its wake.

Isn’t it grace that gifts you a live master who is ever so patient and compassionate. There is nothing that GD has not taught me, because at the core of it the most important lessons are the simplest ones. And yet he devotes the time and energy to keep re-explaining and reminding me of the same things. He patiently guides me back again and again to remembering the our true nature, even as I whine about people, health and God.

And then there is my Sai, our Sai Baba. Kind, compassionate and patient. He has been guiding me since childhood, watching over me, protecting me all the time. Even as I have walked past him without a glance on my good days, even as I chose to sob in front of his picture while I was in pain. And yet he smiles, frowns, scolds and laughs as I fumble on and feel overwhelmed with my new-found connection with him. He has everything to give, I am trying my hardest to make sure I receive.

So what is grace? Is it the ability to have miracles in your life? No. It is the blessing to stay courageous and believe, no matter what. GD reminded me even a couple of days ago, life is hard and it foolish to hope otherwise. Grace, I have learnt, is to allow what is happening to happen, resist nothing and know you are taken care of. And in that trust, peace arrives. Grace is not a guarantee for everlasting joy, happiness and prosperity. Grace is a movement to understanding that nothing matters but the presence of God in your heart. Grace is life allowing you to pray for others, asking for God to take care of your loved ones and watch him do it. Grace is being open to the lessons that arrive when you need them and recognizing them when they come. Grace is staying humble in the knowledge that you are not special, but you are special to God ( a valuable reminder to me from Baba).

My wish is for everyone to recognize this grace when it arrives in your life. Being open to the little moments of tranquility and stillness that are present between the chaos. I once that we could also lose Grace. Now, I believe that the only thing we lose is our ability to witness it. Because Grace is ever present, every ready to shower you with its gifts. The question is are you ready to receive it. If yes, be aware of its presence.

Laws of 20 minutes

Is it possible to move beyond the mind? I look around me at my family and friends, and feel no. How earth do ‘I’ ever do it? Then I look at my teacher GD, my god Sai Baba, all the spiritual teachers across the earth, and I feel this peace, this possibility emerge inside. ‘Of course it is possible’, says something inside. ‘You are just too scared to try’. And then I choose, because all our choices, GD says, are either based on love or fear. So I choose from love. I want silence.

GD recently warned us about the dangers of being too dependent on healing, clearing and other techniques. Turns out, he reminded our spiritual circle about it in 2009 as well, when I wasn’t in the group. Hearing a talk on the Value of Silence by him back then, I discovered a real treasure. Excerpts from that conversation as he says and I understood it, follow:-

Most of the silence in our life is replaced with words. But how much information do you really want to be able to stay silent for 20 minutes a day. The ego loves knowledge and so that is why we need even information on how to stay silent. So here are some laws of 20 minutes:-

  • Don’t aim to reach anywhere.
  • No desire to understand anything.
  • No desire to silence the mind
  • No desire to relax the body. They are but sensations that arise.
  • No desire to control the environment
  • No war with the world or yourself.
  • No desire to improve self-

Self-improvement is an outside goal; silence tells you everything is inside, it is here. There is a simple allowing that exists during those 20 mins. You as ego don’t interfere. There should be no you. Doing, fixing, improving is a continuous process and all doing implies a future. Choose to rest in the now.  A Course in Miracles says, “God is so kind he has given you fulfillment from the time before you are born.” But we never notice it.

So don’t insist on mental silence. If you find silence difficult, use music or a discourse because this involves pure listening. Pure listening doesn’t involve the thought or mind. Don’t insist on anything, because that is what you are doing the rest of the day. Just stay awake, stay dead.

Soon, if you are lucky, you will find you will spend your entire day in surrender. Everything just happens. How will you know? Because there won’t be a struggle. Ego only knows struggle and fight. But don’t try and be clever. Don’t convert negative thoughts to positive in these 20 minutes. Everything is allowed. During this journey, if you get even a whiff, for even a second… this bliss of surrender is so beautiful that then, nothing else matters.

Stepping out of the dream

In the past three weeks, our spiritual circle has been having fantastic sessions with GD and each session is taking us further and further into the truth. A few days back, I re-posted Aalif’s blog about the story of me. GD then lead us to examine this story of me deeper, to see everything that occurred as a dream  and to question the very dream, this very story of me.

One of the ways in which GD suggested we do this was by making a list of all the things we have made important.  “Which part of the world are you making real, including making the you character perfect,” he asked us to check. Some very other important reminders for me included –

  •  The dreamland is the sum total of the past. The more we live in it, the more distorted life is. The more we step out of it, the more simple life is.
  • Choices are real only in the dream. Polarities exist only in the dream. For the ego there are thousands of choices; every day or every moment is a choosing. But in truth there is only one choice- in the dream or out.
  • In this life, all choices are the same, what are you going to think about?
  • Solving, fixing, getting out of the problem is how the dream works. Frantic search for solutions is how it works. But what if the dream can’t be fixed, doesn’t need to be fixed. What if you could take a deep breath and let the dream go. What if we could say, it doesn’t matter how it unfolds.
  • Observe, how does your mind keep the dream? It needs speed, to do that it needs some subjects to chew upon. the more it chews, the more the subject stays alive. if the mind slows down, how will it keep the dream alive?
  • As long as one runs with the dream, peace and consciousness is not possible. When the running stops internally there is no dream, no you.

I have been meditating over this since Sunday. One of the thought that arose was that there is only one single thing which keeps the dream alive – fear. All stories of money, health, love, and even happiness, are about not experiencing discomfort. So while awareness brings us back to the I, it is complete and total trust and surrender that lead us from the dream to consciousness.

I have this habit of reading random parts from some spiritual books. Nisargadatta Maharaj’s  ‘I am That’ happens to be a favourite. Last night, mulling about this, I opened a page. Here is what Maharaj said , ” There is no need for a link between a real world and an imaginary one, for there cannot be any. Investigate your world, apply your mind to it, examine it critically and scrutinize every detail. My experience is that everything is bliss. But the desire for bliss creates pain. Thus bliss becomes the seed for pain. The entire universe of pain is born of desire. Give up the desire for pleasure and you will not know what is pain. Your mistake likes in the belief that you were born. You were never born and you never die.”

…..

To download the entire 60 minute talk which includes further insights and a deeply meditative space – as well as other Q&A and clearings from GD’s group telephonic sessions – go to the Core Healing India Archives.

The economic worth of I

One of the constant questions that arises in people’s mind when it comes to healing or therapy or even investing in spiritual courses/activities is, how will we benefit from it (or the unsaid, is this worth the expense). This often makes me sad in more ways than I let on. But I see this as a societal issue and not as someone’s personal issue.

As a society, all of us grow up associating some economic worth to every activity. Most of what we do has to do with money. The education system itself raises us to be productive clogs who perform certain activities to contribute to the smooth functioning of the economy. And so by the time we have completed our graduation, all we can think of ourselves is in terms of our economic worth. What we can earn is how we measure our worth. All I need, to be sure of this is to look around at ourselves and the people around us. What is the most common question we ask a stranger- “what do you do?” I have written more about this in the wasting my day blog post.

The thing is because of this economic association with personal worth, most people end up only spending on activities that enhance their professional skills and look good on a resume ( which results in economic benefits) or on things that bring us instant gratification like eating out, clothes, etc. But in the end, aren’t both only about how the world looks at you? Will they truly bring you lasting joy? If you had to measure your worth, would you do it with money or with the attributes of love, goodness, compassion, etc. that you possess? Our children give us no monetary benefits. It is a hug from them that fills our heart. What brings more peace, money in the bank and a lonely child or maybe a few thousands lesser but time with your child in the park? I really wish sometimes that I could shake people out of this strange self-absorbed existence and make them address the impermanence of it all.

I am not saying money is bad, it is simply a means, a product itself. Why should we spend on healing, therapy and spiritual pursuits? Simply because they are not an expense, they are probably the best investment you can make. Even better than life insurance because what you learn is something you can carry beyond this body. Nothing else on earth can allow you that. The more we invest in this personality, chase it, the more we lose out on the larger picture of our place in the universe- the real reason why we are on this earth.

The power of knowledge is limited but the power of awareness, inquiry and expansion is limitless. Knowing how to control your own mind, manage your own health and bring in your happiness is invaluable. If we keep looking at ourselves as simply money-generating and consuming creatures, we will never live up to our true human or soul potential.

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 🙂

You think any of this is real?

This is not a year-end review. Walking on a path to discover myself, move closer to myself and my true nature, one thing has become evident. To be bound by time is silly. This is an endless, timeless process of movement, and to mark or measure it against the end of the calendar year is silly. And so this is just a reminder and a record of where I am on the path right now. This blog started off as a personal journal. Over time it became my way of passing on my insights, lessons and observations to the world. Now as I move inside, it matters not if anyone reads this. But if someone does, I hope it helps them live their lives more meaningfully and mysteriously. I hope that you look beyond the things that make you sad or happy; I hope you look closely at yourself. Who are you is more important that who you are being right now. But in the end even that is just a story. You are a story, I am a story, Life is a story…But something is not. And that is what I am searching for now.

It has been almost two years since GD came into my life. I was not looking for a Guru or teacher, I was looking to connect with myself. And probably that is why at first I resisted visiting GD. I knew my life wouls change the moment I met him. All my lies and dramas would have be to shed and I was not ready for it. But apparently I was because I did choose one day to finally go meet the man, whose words were changing my life. In the year and half since, life has become an exploration, as adventure. Not the intimidating, fear and anxiety inducing, stressful, frustrating, challenging journey it was. All the triggers which caused this remain, but the responses have changed for good. Life is a dot. A tiny blimp in the cosmos and yet it is the very thing that created life, this universe, what we can see and all that our human mind can’t see.

I have come unstuck and I find that I am floating through whatever life brings my way. I cry, I ache, I laugh, I smile, I worry and it all ends. Because GD laughs in my ear, “you think any of this is real?” I look for God inside everyone. I rein in my judgements when I find I am listening to them and instead peer inside me for what it is inside me that I find reflected in this person ahead. And I find the answers more often than not. Oh yes, I still feel guilt and blame and all those useless emotions piled on me since lifetimes. I have not yet broken their bond, but I find that I am watching myself and understanding myself more than I ever did. If I get emotional or angry, instead of letting them flow senselessly, I can look at the cause and work on it quickly. I allow my tears to flow and my stupid jokes to bore. I am more comfortable being myself.

I find that this journey inside began with and is directly connected to my relationship with my body. I know when something I do is going to cause some reaction in my body. Sometimes when I lose touch with myself as it often happens), I find a response in my body. Sickness now makes me look inside me to see what is it that I am suppressing or ignoring, and this I have seen results in a quicker recovery.

I am trying to remove my bonds from everyone around and setting them free. And oh my God, how hard it is! But when you consciously interact with others and look at them as part of you, relating does become the focus and not trying to control them or prove yourself or let your insecurities dictate the conversation. This I have found is the hardest part of the journey- letting go of people and your expectations of them and their real/imagined expectations of you.

I always believed in God. But instead of expecting someone above to make my life better- living with greater awareness, understanding that I am not just this body-mind, chasing spiritual goals instead of material ones, has set me off in the right direction. I am moving towards light, I am living hand-in-hand with my teacher. Today I don’t know why but I feel the need to send a prayer from my heart out to everyone alive on earth. May you find your teacher, may you find your guide. It is such a blessing to have a teacher; I wish this blessing on everyone today.

Thank You, GD. Always and Ever.