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Posts Tagged ‘Vipassana’

Relationships.

Who is the other? Or is it I forever relating with myself through others? Is there a purpose why we meet? Why the pull? What is unfinished karma? What is the clearing that takes place when there is someone with whom we are relating? There must be some reason why we have come together? And then we draw apart? What is completing a cycle? What is it that keeps us together? What is permanence? What is the alchemy of love?

I don’t know.

I am not visiting this lifetime to find answers. If there are questions, there will be answers to them. Often the question holds in itself the answer as well, like a seed holds in it the whole tree. My reason for this visit is clear to me – I have come to clear my Path. I need to be free of past baggage and so on hindsight I look at my life and know that I have been doing just that throughout. Sometimes with awareness, most times without. Only when I choose to look back I am aware of how I have been choosing every episode, person, circumstance to serve this purpose. I chose my parents. I am deeply proud of my mother for her spirit and my father for the art of renunciation. Together, the exact mix of being completely involved and being totally distanced at the same time came to me as genetic inheritance. I can’t be anything else.

So the road has been strewn with many lovers and many Masters. Unfinished karma from past lives. How can I see myself if I was not facing a mirror? Similarly, how can I see my own realities unless I am with lovers who reflect your own reality and Masters who put me on the Path again? This process gave rise to real aspirations. My Masters become my doorway. The relationships gave me reflections of myself but my Masters gave me the technique to look into myself, gradually distancing my Self from myself. As if the Self was separate from myself. It is the finest art I learnt to do in this lifetime. I had learnt from being a student of philosophy that the Self was different from myself. My Masters taught me how.

Distancing is such a wonderful art. It needs skills I could not have learnt in any classroom except the school of life. The first whiff came by, when I received a letter from my first love in school saying she was going to marry soon. But I thought ” She said she wanted to spend her entire life with me! What happened?” Days were spent in early college when I pondered over declarations without explanations. I sat for long periods of time at Marine Drive in Bombay just looking out at the sea. Something about water – it washes out everything. I could be like a boatman sitting on his anchored boat on the banks – just sitting there watching! Watching! Watching! The waves cleared my cobwebs and I had the first experience of sitting in a large meadow in my mind, so far in a little chair that I thought if I really had to see myself in my mind, perhaps I would have to use binoculars! The first love remains with you for life. So does the first rejection. How you handle it makes or breaks your life. I had already started my journey to my Self.

He had to be a different kind of man and if he did not know the concept of space how was he ever going to address where I was already. He had all these and he had more! He had traveled through rejection not looking at the Arabian Sea. He had a Master already. We were by then identifiably soul mates. Our values were the same. We spoke the same language. It was bound to happen. But what was shocking to me – I was converting to his Master. I had no religion I could say I had allegiance to. I could not bear temples, God-men and temple pundits. They made me feel nauseous. I did not have a strand of religiosity in my body. I still don’t but this Master took me on a different journey – from reading of Buddha as a student of philosophy, he taught me the art of meditation as taught by Buddha. I could bear this, even love it. Buddha was an agnostic. So He was acceptable to me. He had a method to go beyond, pleasure and pain establishing the transitoriness of everything and changing realities. Nothing was forever. Change was the only permanent thing. Just a simple formula – be watchful. Meeting with this Master, made all relationships after that like water down a duck’s back. However, as long as I am in the body, I do not know how my desires will drive my body but I can surely say that all relationships are a fresh look at myself and all Masters are a door to the divine.

Where I stand today, I have focus and a friend, philosopher and guide whose drive and search is deeper than mine and she has taken it on herself to make me walk the Path with her. That is her only concern. I have finally come home after travelling over many roads, my feet tired and my soles torn. Yet I have not dropped my mother’s spirit of absolute involvement and my fathers armour of worldly distance and renunciation. I am in the body and weary of my long stay at the Master’s House, the office romances and Yogi, even Kolkata are a must to my life. They all reflect my own reality and without their presence I would never know my truth, my inner Self. Without a mirror it is impossible to see my real face.

No water; no moon.

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” Are you trying to seduce me” Dev asked wickedly.

“Not at all! ” I replied ” I am only doing a reality check on you…..”

” Hmmmmmm?”

” Yes, I said, letting my knee length T-shirt bought on the pavement outside the Sahakari Bhandar at Colaba, Bombay, slip down from over my right shoulder.

” Of course you are. Why else would you expose your shoulder to me!”

” Reality check, Dev, reality check. The whole night we have talked ourselves hoarse on the role of Howard Roark in Fountainhead, vis-à-vis Dominique Francon. You said it is Dominique who attracted Roark to her and I said no, it was their mutual desire for each other that brought them together.”

Dev and I talked deep into the night and quite often we heard the tingling sound from the milkman as the milk bottles from Aarey Colony, shook and jingled making their own music, in the early hours of the morning. We would talk anywhere, forgetting that we were in the middle of a crowded street, a busy Irani Restaurant, night owls at the dingy dark chai shops in Fort or even the vada pau wala outside VT Station. Once a subject caught on, we would forget everything around us. Thus, I, on my first job as a Copywriter, was forever late at work. Having twisted and turned every subject, backwards and forwards, twenty times, we would finally turn in only in the wee hours of the night. In the morning, I would jump up and scream, ” Late! I am late to work!” and dash out after a quick shower. Whenever, I spent the night with Dev, I always forgot to get my toothbrush with me and used his instead.

” Yak!” he would say. ” You are biting into me!”

” You love it, don’t you.’ I would wink.

Admitted! I am not denying that I certainly wanted to bite into his flesh. At least subconsciously. But so did he. Why else did he insist on biting into my vada pau even though he had his own?

Desire
. The whole world runs on desire. It is desire that creates the world and it is desire, which finally also takes us to our journey towards a life of no-desire.

There are different schools of thoughts on desire. The first which most of us identify with is the simplest. Desire is good. It is the path to “more”. This is where the materialistic world lies. Life must be lived with more and more desire. The more you desire the more you acquire. The more you acquire, the more happiness it brings you. Therefore, desire! Accumulate! Desire more! Invent new things! Live life King Size!

Marketers have made good use of this theory and are raking in the bucks, while we pay to feed fuel to our ever-increasing desires. They are working overtime to educate us on how new things are indeed needed in our lives. We must have them, whether we want them or we don’t. We need them, nevertheless. If we are not the first to get them, then the Shuklas and the Jones will. How can we allow them to be one up on us? Matter of prestige and social face. As a by-product of desire, anything is possible to believe and marketers have been smart. In their astute hands, we have become their ‘cash cow’! But, whoever said that the best lessons of life don’t come for free?

This leads us to the other school of thought. Desire is the root cause behind our misery they say. And how can we say that they are wrong? We have seen that when we desire one thing, we desire it so much that all else is sidelined in order that we can acquire that one object of our desire. But, there seems to be a catch there. Once we have that object of our desire, we seem to lose interest in it over time. The same thing that blinded us at one time, gave us single-minded focus, is now not the focus anymore. Already, the mind is trying to find another object that can feed fuel to our new desire. So as victims of our own devices, we become pawns in the hands of smart marketers. Or we become victims of misery. We cannot find lasting joy in anything, because as soon as we have it, we lose the joy of having it. Or at it’s worst, we become disillusioned because we cannot have what we want.

In the meantime, there is a third category of individuals who are created. In fact, they are the worst hit. They are serious victims of desire because they are addicted to desire itself! Thus, these people only desire, but never get the object of their desire because, it is not the object they want, it is the experience of desire they love. It is like, being in love with the idea of falling in love that is more desirable, than actually experiencing and sharing that love with the other.
Very deep-rooted disease, this. We can at least work towards annihilation of the desire of the other within us, but how to rid ourselves of the love of desire itself?

Different religions show us different ways of handling this malady. I prescribe to the Buddhist school of thought which tells me that desires are caused by the constant layers of impressions that are created in my mind as I interact with the world outside me. These impressions are created by all my six senses – eyes, nose, ears, touch, taste and space. All impulses arising from these sensory perceptions result in impressions that go to make up my memory system around them. Thus, once I taste sugar, I will crave sweetness. And this school says that freedom from desire is the end of misery. We are in a state of Ananda (joy, happiness) already. Only when the thick cloud of desire is removed, we realize that the misery was like a smoke that covered the flame. So while ingrained and intrinsic to desire is also misery, once, the misery passes and we see the flame, we become aware that joy had never really left us. We are in the state of eternal Ananda. That is our swabhava, just as it is the swabhava of water to be cool.It is our Original face.

So was it all a hopeless exercise? Chasing that wild horse called desire? Must we go through this pain knowing that there is misery at the end of it? Why not avoid it, in the first place itself?

We are victims of our minds and our compulsions. To stand up straight, we must fall. Again and again. That is the learning curve.

When we have learnt enough on the same lesson, we will rise and not fall to the same temptations. That requires technique, the methodology to rise against the force of gravity.
For that we require many lives, many Masters.

P.S Straight from the hare’s mouth. Lessons learnt and experienced. And Witnessed later. Thanks to Dev and many others whom I am so grateful to for pushing me to my Self.

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