After years of self-flagellation and self-examination I have reached one important conclusion: My battle for internal peace and stability is with no one but myself.
This knowledge arrived in many bits and pieces. From books, from teachers, from spiritual practice. A line from here, a phrase from there – expanding my mind bit by bit. From the Art of Living program I understood the importance of breathing correctly. From Isha’s Inner Engineering program, the fact that you have ‘only this moment’, so live in this moment instead of the past or the future.
Books which contained eureka moments for me:
1) The Secret (Rhonda Byrne): The idea that thoughts create your reality is very powerful. If you change your thinking, your reality will change.
2) You Can Heal Your Life (Louise Hays): We are all carrying within us wounds from the past. But we can heal ourselves.
3) Many Lives, Many Masters (Brian Weiss): We are born again and again and we keep coming back to learn more ‘lessons’. Our greatest tormentors are our greatest teachers.
4) Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield): All human relationships are about exchange of energy. Unconsciously, we seek energy from the other and create conflicts.
5) Srimad Bhagavad Gita: The soul is eternal and can never be destroyed.
So far so good. But intellectual knowledge is one thing, accepting these principles and living by them is another. There is a deep resistance within me. Especially to the idea that I am the sole creator of everything that I experience. It is so much easier to blame the world.
He made me angry.
She let me down.
Usne aisa kyun kaha.
The Bhagvad Gita says: “The nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception,and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.”
Why is it almost impossible to do that?
When I attended the Bhav Spandana program at the Isha Ashram I experienced the fact that ‘joy is our true nature’ . That love is an energy that radiates from within us. I want this experience to be my only reality. Yet a month later, it slips away from my grasp. I continue to experience that state of bliss from time to time but I yearn for it to last longer.
Knowledge of impermanence is great but desire for permanence remains.
The quest continues, more lessons are learnt.
There is a person in my life who irritates me intensely. I used to blame this person for my irritation. I now realise it is my choice to get irritated by another’s actions or words. It doesn’t feel like a choice, it is almost automatic. Because that is my ‘sanskar’.
A sanskar is a habit or belief which is deeply ingrained in us. The reason for that is it is a carry-forward from many lifetimes. I have a tendency to lose my temper. I have done this so many many many times that it is what comes to me most easily. To respond in a different manner would require conscious effort. And a deep desire to change myself.
This point was driven home to me while watching the series ‘Healer Within’ with Brahmakumari Sister Shivani. It is available on Youtube and watching one episode a day is something I look forward to. Episode no 17 held a crucial revelation.
There are 3 ways in which we exchange energy. One is that we ‘reflect’ it. Someone is good to me, I am good to him. Another is mean to me, I am mean to him. The way you treat me is the way I treat you. This is the basest and most common way in which we lead our lives.
The second way is to ‘absorb’ another’s energy. Someone shouts at me, I stay silent. That person could be my parent, or boss or husband. I need my job, I don’t want to create a scene. So I do not attack. However, I am creating pain within me. Over time, this negativity I am absorbing will show its effect. I may experience a physical illness or a mental breakdown. So, this path is also not a desirable one.
The third way of living is to transform energy. I am dealing with a negative person, still I neither reflect nor absorb their energy. I tell myself ‘that is his sanskaar’ but my sanskaar is peace. My power and my peace is my protective shield. I withdraw myself from the influence of their sanskars, instead radiating pure wishes and blessings to them. In doing so, I have transformed that energy.
Wow. I realise that all my life I have been a reflector or absorber. I never considered this third way of living. The most powerful way of living.
In the video Suresh Oberoi asks Sister Shivani, “But how long can I be good to someone who is not good to me? And why should I be good?”
This is the resistance within us, which prevents the experience of internal peace. Main kyun karoon, woh to saala kuch karta nahin.
Life has thus become a competition in making each other miserable. Or waiting for someone to come along and make us happy.
I come back to that important conclusion: My battle for internal peace and stability is with no one but myself.
I must step onto this battlefield, face my demons. Or live in uneasy truce, with them.
Also read: The Art of Healing I