Is the fight for Respect or the Ego?

Is spirituality about turning the other cheek after being slapped on one? Can the words ‘ego’ and ‘self- respect’ dare to present itself in the dictionary of a spiritual person? Does spirituality ask for absolute compliance in everything? How can anything be condemned by a person who wishes to renounce the world?

I am sure the above questions are no stranger to you. These would have come up when you had to put your foot down and say no.  Your own mind would have inspected to ensure the fight you are putting up is to be heard and certainly not to strengthen your ego. And, the pressure is more real when your views don’t match with the group you belong.

And anyways, it is foolishness to just superficially embrace somebody’s thought when you are not in a capacity to follow it. If somebody slaps you on one cheek, would you happily turn in another one? Just because Jesus or Buddha did it, doesn’t mean you angrily replicate their actions. Isn’t spirituality about inner growth?

There is no hurry. Accept yourself for whatever you are at the moment internally. Build from there. Nothing should rob your intellect of its capacity to choose the right thing in a situation. Although keep in mind your choices are stemming from your limited knowledge. So, there is always scope for improvement. Before we call someone wrong, we should see if we are slaves to our own beliefs. Are we just resisting or ‘hearing’ others out? Most of the time it is the ego at play but we mistake it to be something that is protecting our self-respect.

Poor Ego has got such a reputation that even thinking about it is a SIN. It is one of those things that everybody indulges in but never wants to be associated with. Also, we comfortably ignore the role it plays in the process of our self-preservation.

Does that mean Ego is good? Nothing is good or bad in itself. It exists because it is required to survive and to evolve. If we knew where to stop then the above question itself becomes unnecessary.

In short, what I mean to say is, “do resist” but only after listening to others. If you still do not see any good then you should but your INTENTION shouldn’t be shallow. We will encounter people who will challenge us and whose views might not be right for obvious reasons. But we can use them to strengthen our resolve and thereby forming a new habit. If you loose your calm at times, it is okay. Don’t beat yourself up but stop indulging in it as soon as you realise.

Besides, it is all in the word ‘Self-Respect’- respecting THAT SELF/Divine in everything that we see. That is why we do Namaste.

namaste_01.jpg

Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.” -Martin Luther King, Jr….I love this quote for reasons different from what it might have been said for.

Image: Internet

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The Beauty Of Contradiction

Sarvendriyagunabhasam sarvendriyavivarjitam
Asaktam sarvebhrccaiva nirgunam gunabhoktr ca//
                                                                           Bhagavad Gita 13,15

The Ultimate Truth shining by the functions of all the senses, yet without the senses; unattached, yet supporting all; devoid of all qualities, yet their maintainer.

Look at the beauty of this Shloka. Guru Veda Vyasa defines the Indefinable in a language of contradiction.

We could use an analogy to illustrate this striking contradiction.

The power of the electricity is recognised when the plugged-in devices perform its task though it needs no devices to be known- it itself is so pronounced. The nature of electricity doesn’t change depending upon the devices plugged in. It doesn’t acquire the qualities of the appliances, does it? For example, the electricity is not the cold in the fridge nor the heat in the geyser. Electricity when functioning through the appliances conditioned by them gives an impression of being something else other than itself

The appliances can run faulty and can break down yet when replaced the electricity powers them the same way as it did it with the previous one. So it stays detached yet supports any appliances that come in contact with.

It is just not electricity, everything in nature seems to stand as an example of detached support. Sun and Moon, Ocean and Waves, Mud and Pot, Gold and Jewellery, Waker and Dreamer, Body and Shadow, SELF and Mind etcetera.

Similarly, the SELF functioning through the mind, sense organs and the Intellect might look as though conditioned by them but in reality, it remains unchanged yet supporting all.

The mind with the prevalent Guna(subtle nature/mood at that time) when in contact with the pure Consciousness becomes the ‘Ego’ and is the doer and experiencer. And we say-I did it.

Also, we somehow keep promoting and developing that false Ego. Will we promote the mirage in a desert to a vacation spot? Or worse still waste our whole life in keeping the mirage intact?

The above Shloka clearly states that the Self, however seeming to possess, sustain and maintain the faculties yet it is beyond them and is as detached as the Waker is to the dreamer.

Image: A mirage by Angela A Stanton

Discovering Through Reflection

During our conversation last night, my husband said “what if we could remember all our previous births? How would our lives be then?”

Ahh, that thought was interesting. Yeah, so what if everyone could decode those vasanas/impressions stored in their subconscious part of the mind? And as an ordinary being, what if we couldn’t peruse it the right way? Can you anticipate the horror and emotional distress that invariably accompanies those memories?  If we are unable to deal with our past in this life. Imagine having to live with numerous such memories.

Sri-Bhagavan uvaca
Bahuni me vyatitani, janmani tava carjuna
Tany aham veda sarvani, na tvam vettha parantapa
                                                                                Bhagavad Gita:4,5

In the Gita,  Krishna says to Arjuna ‘Many a birth have I passed through, O Arjuna, and so have you. I know them all, but you know them not.

But what if we could remember, would we let go of things?
Maybe not. Upon coming back, we would try hard to regain our worldly possessions gained in our previous births. But, how many would we run after?
or
The guilt-ridden mind would obsess over the past and the higher spiritual planes or growth for that matter would then just remain a dream.

Well, then, we are blessed that we are unable to access those deep-seated memories and are given another chance to start afresh.

Now that I understand that if born again, this very life would be nothing more than a dream. So I ask myself:

Is it still important to make myself heard?

Do I still work under pressure when I know even here stress can’t deliver my best?

Can I simply enjoy the efforts?

Who am I trying to perfect(my Self or Sumi)?

Do I keep trading peace for ignorance?

Questions such as these always help me to keep coming back to my practice. The ultimate purpose of reflections is to keep reminding that we are a part of a whole and to bring us closer to our being.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wolfread/5884714699

When YOU Become The REAL YOU…

Apuryamanam acala-pratistham samudram apah pravisanti yadvat
Tadvat kama yam pravisanti sarve sa santim apnoti na kama-kami //
Bhagavad Gita[BG 2.70]

A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires – that enters like rivers flow into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still – can alone achieve peace and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.

The above verse is so remarkable. Reflect upon it and you will know what I am talking about. In fact, chapter 2 of Bhagavad Gita ,verse 54 to 72 describes the qualities of Sthita-pragnya.

Gita declares, a man who reached that state craves no more because he feels complete. He is now the ocean himself. Can you distinguish the river waters from the massive ocean once it enters?

Just like every drop in the river becomes the ocean itself, every part of him becomes GOD himself. There is no coming back from that state. Bliss and Peace are his as much as it is the Divines. There is no ‘HIM’ anymore. It is One.

That does not mean in any sense, you turn stone-hearted. The chattering inside you stops and you feel calmer. The mind of such a person takes the form of an Infinite Empty Space- where everything resides yet unaltered.

Gita states that in an enlightened being, the emotions flow but wouldn’t affect his state of mind. Unlike us, it comes naturally to him. There is no effort required and there is no return.

He accepts both good and bad with equanimity. In such a person how can there be sorrow? How can he be shaken up by any adversity or prosperity? A man of such steady wisdom would ever be free from fear, anger or attachment.

I sat ruminating on the nature of such existence. I have heard about it, read about it but haven’t experienced it yet. So, I cannot explain but can only state what Gita quotes. All this blogging is for that ultimate experience – to keep me focused and mindful of the path. Believe me, this is not a relentless pursuit but neither can I nor anyone create that experience. When the time is right, it will happen! All that can be created is a right state of mind through meditation.

Every effort we put forth here is to stay happy. However, experience teaches us that happiness is far-fetched. Or, at least it feels that way. I keep asking myself if it is really ‘Desire’ that brings melancholy? or Our attitude towards them breeds unrest?  The answer always then points out to have a positive attitude and outlook towards life no matter what.

life-choices  Picture Source

Once again the choice is ours.  Either to stay depressed and turn into a stone whom everyone despises or break the walls of our false EGO and become one with that giant space. Be Mindful and Stay YOU 🙂