Just finished my fifth Happiness course of Art of Living.
It’s a three days, 10 hours total duration course…but even in such a short span, it’s a wonder how much change it always manages to bring within me.
This time was my first time volunteering for the course as well. Even though I wasn’t able to contribute as much I’d wanted to, just the fact that I wasn’t just a participant, made me much more conscious this time of how everything might be feeling like for a new participant. As I paid attention to each step, it was easy to see each the small errors, the small things which maybe could have been done better. There was the conscious awareness of how the smallest of things might put someone off and distract their mind away from this amazing journey.
Yet, none of it did.
At the end of the course, there were the same joyous faces everywhere around that I’ve gotten used to seeing in Art of Living courses. Somehow the depths that Sudarshan Kriya takes one into doesn’t care about the thousands of small details that could have been done better. Perhaps it isn’t about the outer details at all. Maybe the outer details are just the window dressing to help one be at as much ease as is possible, but the meat is what lies within. And what lies within is so wondrous, so all embracing…that it turns us all into lotus leaves – with droplets of all the mundane details of life that we keep obsessing over endlessly…all sliding off our minds effortlessly.
How does this relate to getting out of my way?
Just the same as obsessing about the thousands of details needed to be put aside to witness the miracle of life in front of me.
Perhaps my life too isn’t too different from a simple course.
Perhaps all the time spent worrying about getting those details right, only wastes energy and takes away from the bigger truth of the sheer fact of my existence in this world. Of the sheer miracle of this thing called life that I’m immersed in.
What does it really matter if I didn’t wake up at the exact time I’d set my alarm for. What does it really matter if forgot to return that one phone call on my to-do list. What does it really matter if my goals, my path isn’t clear in front of my very eyes…all those are incidental to the bigger fact of life passing me by every second, every moment. Aren’t these all just window dressings to this grand experience of being conscious in a universe plush with energy in all forms and shapes? Are they really worth losing the smile off my face for even a second? Aren’t they supposed to matter (in my faulty thinking) as means to getting that smile on there in the first place? And if the smile is already there, should the imperfect icing be any reason to not enjoy the cake?
I’m already making my way through life. Whether there is a path or no path. Whether the path is as I’d imagined it or not. I’ve intentionally chosen to walk a path that’s not structured the way a job is, or any one of life’s standard paths are. But I know I’m stumbling. I know I’m failing to meet up to the simple goals of physical fitness, of dedication to my spiritual practices, of attention to my food, that I’ve set for myself. I’m struggling in the basics,….yet, yet, I’m more peaceful than I’ve ever been. This contrast confounds me. This isn’t anything that my previously conditioned brain is ready to accept. The physical constraints are still there – I still need to find a way to earn my living, I need to find a way to get organised in some way that allows me to work towards my bigger visions. Yet I’m struggling. And in the struggle there is no problem, because I’m peaceful deep inside. But the problem is in my mind trying to see all this and then wanting to turn into a whip that I can crack on myself – for that’s the only way I’ve known in the past to straighten myself up whenever I faltered. Isn’t that what we’re all trained for by everyone we trust – right from our teachers, to our parents, to our bosses? To crack the whip on us when we stray from the paths laid down for us, and to feel good about ourselves when we walk the path and get acknowledged for it? I guess a bit of that still lives inside of me. Even though at a bigger level I have accepted that I’m not a farm animal meant to be treated like that, those old habits are still comfortable to retreat into whenever fear makes it’s appearance and doubt show their face.
But I’ve walked those circular paths.
I’ve been that farm animal. I’ve paid my dues.
How do I then move forward from here? Into designing the kind of life that I know is waiting for me, that I know is accepting of me.
By getting out of my own way. That’s the only answer that’s making sense right now. To stop being my own enemy.
Not just in listening to those doubts as if they have any substance, but also in being able to stay connected to that part of my Self that doesn’t care for all this. I am going to fall on my face a few times…so I just can’t care too much for it. That’s the price to pay for leaning to walk a new walk.Yet it is always only that fear of falling short that stops me from trying, or holds me back from giving it my 100%. What a silly complication this is? And yet just how many lives are spent in just trying to conquer this? I know I’ve spent at least a year in getting control of it this time. This is just me getting in my own way. This is just me not letting me be me. I always do this, but at least thankfully with my spiritual practices I’m fully aware that it’s only me who’s responsible here and not anyone else. So the solution also has to be just mine. But what? To stay committed, is that it? To not worry about how many times I fall as long as I’m willing and ready to get up and try again? To be patient with myself as I learn to walk this walk?
But what other alternative is there either? Self-whipping works in the short term, but in the long term it’s just giving up my spontaneity for the whip given to me by whatever my current understanding is. It’s just training myself to stay a farm animal who splits his psyche up into the part that disciples and the part that needs to be disciplined. To be broken up, never to become whole. That’s a solution that I’ve tried and am discarding.
Any other alternative? I think not.
It just has to be my better, my bigger Self, that has to be given control, over my lesser, my faulty, my despairing, my fearful, my doubtful, my escapist, my pleasure seeking self. It has to be about letting that higher Self guide and operate, and let the other self stay out of the way…till this becomes an action as natural as breathing itself. This is what faith is about. This is what commitment is about. A commitment to falling on your face till you make it!