Knowing the drama, our role, and playing our character well is freedom.
So many of us, want freedom from suffering or coming closer to the self or God, but few want to make the effort. Go the distance, few have the stamina, beyond the feel-good intellectual exercise, which doesn’t challenge us or question our conscience in everyday life. We want it easy, and we want it quick. Thus we look for Gods who are easy to appease, and do not ask us to change, and yet change our world. We seek, easy gurus, ideologies and remedies, which promise us paradise and elixir in a blink, just as addictions did, both substance or behavioural. Thwarting our ego or our need for control is the hell we want to somehow bypass, but can’t, if we want to go on the other side. We forget, even Gods who live in the heavens, people living in places of pilgrimage, like altar priests have to grow. No escape.
All our lives, we develop mechanisms, both internal and external to avoid suffering, be it through numbness, busyness, entertainment or addictions. We also want to avoid, escape failure, change or things falling apart. Yet these are natural parts of human existence, very things designed to help us mature. We'd rather stay infantile, do whatever we feel like, have minimum responsibilities, few people we care for, and fewer issues we'd stand up for. Instead we want a santa claus or father figure closely by who constantly fulfills our whims, and give us the permission to avoid growing up. This would mean paying attention to our life and our choices. Taking responsibility of not just for our life, and all that happens in it, but also how it affects those around us and enlarging our circle of care. We look for no one to blame for our life, or change our life for us. Willingness to fail, fall and make mistake, and still learn and rise again is maturity of spirit, to remain frozen in the past isn’t.
No wonder, in reality few want complete relief most want temporary alleviation of pain or assuage the symptoms; our inner disconnection is showing up. That is why we like allopathic approach to life, healing and spirituality, the quick fix is popular. Rather than the homeopathic approach where “Like cures Like”. If we have to cure our inner apathy, we will attract external apathy all around, till we address our inner apathy. Every victim has shadow perpetrator, which one has to access and heal. Same holds true for betrayal, or disconnection, these only enter our life to remind us of our inner betrayal or disconnection, ignoring our inner guidance. Building connection is the only way in.
When a soul wants to learn compassion, it will choose experiences of its lack. Or when it wants to learn forgiveness, it will schedule events which will ensure that either we forgive or we perish. Only when forgiveness is the only way out, do we truly learn to forgiveness. Till then we love holding a grudge, staying righteously angry. And still in vain hope to heal or experience grace. What we cannot give to another we cannot experience ourselves.
God is available to all, like the sun, but few want to open their eyes, clear their hearts, so that glimmering joy can fill in. When we are content with talking about God, we do not go further, when we want the experience of God, then we begin. Few really want God; fewer still want to make any real effort. Many are satisfied by weekly or yearly displays of fervour or passion. But would you want a lover, who only gives you customary or ritualistic attention, that too when it is convenient. We want a convenient God and spirituality. We’d rather have God knock on our doors, forgetting thousands who patiently wait to hear a sign, a gesture or a nod. And for lifetimes. Quick enlightenment is a myth, a hoax that attracts the insincere. Just as magic remedies, attract people unwilling to take the bitter pill of humility, or develop any kind of devotion, staying comfortable in intellectual spirituality. But such paths never mature as love, the real fruition of a spiritual journey.
We’d love to believe that a short retreat and we are done. But then, this doesn’t work that way; people don’t heal or come closer to God. God is no fool, we only fool ourselves. Flirting doesn’t help, now does sweet talking. Just a bargaining, and bribing God is useless. God can sense our heart. Plus God doesn’t owe us anything, we are not entitled to anything in life, we have to earn our place. Build our relationship. It is most intimate relationship we will ever have. Something that will outlast our present life time. But we stay busy. Seeking temporary joys, ignoring our capability to experience the joy eternal. When we have time, we don’t spend time with ourselves, we get scared by loneliness, emptiness, like a pause in conversation, we want fill in the gap, quickly. We stay busy in mundane activities, meaningless friendships and “crucial” urgent tasks. Till it is too late.
When we are over-indulgent to needs of the ego and ignore the call of the soul, we stray. And that includes every day activities, when we get caught up in the rush of things and miss the constant flow of guidance within. At the end of the day, as with life, it doesn’t matter we have only managed to satisfy our ego with lofty goals, but forgotten the visions of the soul.
To heal we must we willing to let go everything, our ego holds dear, including the past. All destructive habits, friendships and alliances. Forgive every crime we have endured. Then, only then we get to be freed. Ask yourself, you want freedom, but how badly. Once you want it badly, you will find a way. God is ever so generous, ever willing to help out the sincere.
At some point, we stop trying to escape, and settle into whatever feelings, memories and hurts that are making us unsettled, that is when we begin to become free. Of the narrative we keep repeating and patterns we keep reliving, and instead write the fresh narrative of our life. May be, the first few silent words of a resurrection story. Acknowledge our curriculum for this lifetime, and get on with it. Plus, gratitude, prayer and a willingness to seek and give help, become overriding themes in the stories of our recovery, no matter where we start from. And yes small steps.
Develop devotion towards the still moments and silence, both inner and outer. They are your daily moments with God, and the self. Be still. But not like a fortress of inertness, but as relaxing openness, like an expansive ocean. Relax into the flow of breath; access the loving presence that you are. Let everything else be. Let the healing happen, and miracles arrive. Allow. Watch the source of disturbing emotions within, feel every sensation, watch them bring up ancient memories and triggers unfathomed. Next watch them all dissolve. Watch.
It is the choices we make outside, that change our life. Life changes when we make better, wise and guided choices.
Inner practices, simply build the scaffolding on which our soul can rise and communicate with us. We cannot use them as a escape, to avoid life, or avoid making empowered choices, our soul is constantly guiding us towards. Then our inner work, like external religious practices is useless and meaningless. Inner life or the mind cannot become an addiction, a go to place, when we do not to want face life. Life is a Mahabharata, a holy battle every day, played between our fears, doubts and dark side and our soul - the light. It helps to have Krishna or your soul as the charioteer. And a prayer of our lips, take me from darkness to light!