Living the Calling

adventure-backpacker-cliffs-914128

There’s so much we want from our lives.
The list is endless.
We think we only want this very next thing in our heads. But then it comes
And it feels great
Till a few days afterwards, where it no longer has the charm that it once did.
And something new starts stirring.

We do the same with our work.
There’s something that attracts us.
Pulls us.
Or more often than not,
more than something specific attracting us,
we get used to what it is that we are doing.
That we are playing with, working with, working at.
Then thoughts start coming.
Is this it?
Is this what I’m here for?
We start wondering about what it is that we would want to do.
What it is that would ‘fulfil’ us.
We start looking for a calling.

I too did the same.
I had had enough of the struggle.
The struggle to be more.
To constantly want to be better.
To be something.
Somebody
Doing some work that somehow makes me feel more alive.
Makes me feel like I matter.
Like there’s meaning in what I do.
What can be more enchanting than the idea that there is something specific that we’re born to do?
That will bring meaning to the routine of day to day existence?

I too was enchanted by the idea.
But somehow I was aware enough to realise that it didn’t need to be the next earth shattering thing.
It didn’t have to change the course of history,
Or cure the latest unsolvable disease.
It just had to be authentic.
It had to flow out of me on it’s own.
That was my benchmark for my ‘calling’.

It was a tall ask for someone who’d never let himself flow.
Who’d prided his ability to steer his own life with his own mind and will.
It’s like asking someone to walk on his own feet, who’s only been crawling for a long time.
It was about going into my heart from my brain.
I’d lived from my brain, and whatever I’d created felt deeply empty.
It was about accepting all that. Accepting that I needed to look at life a different way,
Approach it a different way,
Be ready to throw away all that I’d built over the years,
With no certainty of any success.
No certainty if this was even a venture that was sensible.
This is not the kind of courage anyone works up on their own.
This is the kind of courage that you find within you when you’ve gone on down a path,
far far longer than you should have,
and ultimately the futility of it, the deep inner loneliness of it,
stares at you in the face every day, every moment,
because you’re living a life that doesn’t feel like your own.
Just this feel.
It seems like such a small thing.
But like most other things in life, it’s these small things which grow over time,
To take on shapes we’d never imagined.

So I wouldn’t say it was courage.
Despair, discouragement, deep misery,
Those would be words more true to describe what motivated me to take the plunge.

And then I got lucky.
Luckier than beyond my wildest dreams.
I found a real Guru. The genuine deal. The kind that’s the stuff of legends too fantastical to be ever considered real.
And he led me.
He led me to my own heart.
He led me to understand my own calling.

So much I saw. Experienced. Lived.
So strange these things called callings are.
They have a logic of their own. Indecipherable to normal logic.
Yet to the heart they make perfect sense.
You can feel their truth. Hear their guidance. Yet never know enough to say for sure where the path will lead, just a few steps down the way.
But that’s what the ways of the heart are like.
That’s what fills up life with the kind of adventure we mostly only dream of, or ogle at in our favourite movie,
These are the kinds of desires we have for our lives ,
for them to stay a perpetual adventure,
a perpetual challenge,
ever fresh,
ever changing,
ever blossoming.
But you can’t hold on to anything.
For to hold on is to stagnate.
For to hold on is to dictate what should stay
And what shouldn’t.
For to hold on,
is to say, that this is how this part of my life should be…
Not possible on the path of the heart.
Not possible when you let life lead you.

Which is why it requires tremendous trust.
Enormous faith,
And yogic dispassion.

For callings are about letting go.
Letting go of control of what you think is the life you’re meant to live.
Setting the direction,
But letting go of the reigns.

It’s exactly how Gurudev once put it….
Jumping into a bottomless pit. Holding the hand of your Master.

Into complete mystery, Into complete agony, Into sheer ecstasy, Into fear, Into excitement, Into the unknowable.
What a life it is.
If you’re reading this,
It is my ardent wish that you may get to live this some day.
My wish,
and my Blessing.
Love you!

Attempts at living the “Perfect” Life

Looking for the perfect place to rest in
Photo by Hal Ozart on Unsplash

There’s a loop that I often relive.

On its surface it comes out of a desire to excel. To shine. To live life at this imagined level of intensity and accomplishment that would make my life feel meaningful, feel successful.

But this loop has barely delivered on it’s elusive promises.

Instead, it has become an excuse to keep putting off living fully for this ‘perfect day’. Instead of fully engaging with the ups and downs that each day inevitably brings, it’s become an escapist imagination where the mind retreats into every time the ongoing day goes out of it’s idea of perfection. What simply happens is that whenever the day doesn’t go as I would have wanted it to go, I retract my energies, my involvement, imagine instead how I would deal with this setback in the most perfect way possible….tomorrow. And today gets written off mentally. Unacceptable in my insatiable desire to knock off perfect responses to life and it’s challenges, day after day.

Why do we do this?

Why do I do this?

I feel it’s because it’s far easier to emotionally withdraw from a game that isn’t going your way, and to play it again when you’re feeling better(always tomorrow), than to take whatever mood and energy one is in, and accept doing whatever needs to be done, at 50% capacity. Because 50% effectiveness feels like a loss. A defeat. Only 100% is what the ego craves as a victory.

Whatever be the excuse, the end result is perpetual procrastination and training the mind to give up, instead of digging in.

So what’s the solution?

To give up this conceptualisation of some imaginary perfection. To take all of the mental energy getting dissipated in comparing each passing moment against some conceptualised excellence, and divert all that energy into the Now. To take away the escape hatch that the mind runs into at the slightest sign of discomfort or the situation not playing out as the way it wants it to. To disconnect from joy of imaginary ‘perfect’ situations, ‘perfect’ behaviour, ‘perfect’ day….into the here and now. To take the focus from an ‘excellent’ outcome that gets me some stars from the audience, to the ‘excellence’ of input…putting my 100% into everything that I’m doing. Into every moment. The moment that is right here. Always is. Not the one in the future. But doing the best Now. In this very instant. The next moment will then take care of itself as I will reach it with a mind more focused on delivery 100%. Maybe I’ll only be able to actually deliver 10% right now. But by focusing on it, it could go to at least 11%. And then by regular practice, it can only improve, not degrade.

So the question is then not of how to deliver ‘perfect’ days, the perfection of which can be marred by the mistake of one unaware moment….but, how to deliver this moment 100%. If I missed, then here’s another one. And another. And another. No more waiting. No more procrastination. But living in the present moment. Not to enjoy some imaginary perfection…but to enjoy 100% living. Now. Here. What else is there?

Conflict

mandy-beerley-154517What is conflict?

A battle of two thoughts.
One uncomfortable, but right. And you know it’s right.
The other comfortable, but you’ve started to become aware that you need to drop it.

It’s like standing at the edge of your circle of comfort somewhere…and knowing that your next step is going to take you outside it. And yet also knowing that it is the step that one must take or risk being stuck.

It is the mush of feelings inside as you delay the inevitable. As you deliberately close your eyes towards it and hope that it will just vanish away.

…..but it never does.

It stays there. Waiting.

Then either one day life just forces you to confront it. Or you pay in some way or the other for not facing up to it.

Our energies have an amazing way of growing whatever we put our attention to. When we’re living our lives grateful for whatever is happening, the abundance grows in our life. Live it focused on everything that’s not exactly how you’d like it to be, and misery and lack grows.

When we stay in conflict, we end up putting a lot of energies into the feeling of being stuck in life. Being incapable of deciding. And guess what? The more time we remain there, the better we get at getting stuck in our lives. At feeling confused and unsure. At being always tentative about the obvious steps that need to be taken. Slowly even the simplest of the obvious steps become a chore. And this confused state becomes the most comfortable and easy state to get into. We become capable of getting into it at the blink of an eye. Even though it still remains an uncomfortable feeling, there develops an odd comfort in staying in it. It starts feeling much more comfortable than the apparent discomfort of the next step that we have to take and are avoiding.

But every once in a while, life manages to nudge us over.
We find ourself suddenly standing at the spot that we’d been so effortfully and painfully avoiding for sooooo long. And then it hits us.

That the spot doesn’t feel so bad.
That it doesn’t feel even twice as bad as we’d imagined it to be.
In fact…..
It feels the very opposite.
It feels good…
Hmm…..
“This is nice.”
“This is not so difficult as I thought it’d be”
“This did not completely destroy me from inside”
“Hey I feel so free”
“Hey I can’t believe I did it”
…..and so on and so forth are the kind of thoughts that rush into our heads then.

But this moment is precious.
It shows us the errors of our previous mindset. Gives us a chance to latch on to it, and learn from it.
But it gives a very narrow window indeed.
For the old mindset is so deeply ingrained, so well conditioned, and we’ve become so so good at getting stuck with all the excess practice we’ve got, that it doesn’t take us long to get stuck again.

And so the loop repeats.
Endlessly,
Till we finally learn 🙂