Overtime, I’ve received several mails from readers pertaining to various questions they have about life, about awareness, suffering, balance/wholeness, enlightenment, relationships, negativity, physical and non-physical aspects. In this post I will look to consolidate some of these frequently asked questions, mostly as a single point of reference.
What is the ultimate truth of life?
Though it’s a very vague question, it’s something that a lot of people seem pre-occupied with – searching for the “ultimate truth”. For some this question just becomes a means to engage in philosophical discussions, debates and spiritual dramatics, while for some this question seems like a “requirement” to feel a sense of clarity about living. In the end, un-baised “observation” (or un-biased awareness) is the most valid method/process to determine the “truth” about anything.
Based on observation, I find the below three aspects to be true for life
1. Life is “energy” in movement, and this energy moves because it has two polarities – you can call the “polarities” whatever you like, but I like to term them as light and dark nature. Life-energy has a light-polarity and a dark-polarity, and its movement pertains to the constant friction and co-relation between the light and the dark nature.
2. We are all life-energy, and if we are conflicted with, our polar natures of light and dark, we will constantly experience a feeling of “backlash”. For example, when you are opposed to the dark-nature, you will feel a backlash from it, and when you are opposed to the light-nature, you will subsequently feel its backlash also. Suffering, for the most part, is simply this “backlash” that we feel when we are opposed/conflicted with one of our natures.
3. There is no end-point to this movement of life, it just keeps moving eternally, simply because the life-energy is made up of polarities – so there will always be a friction and inter-play between these polarities (within) which will cause movement. For example, you can have a full meal and feel satiated (light natured) for a while, but soon enough you will naturally feel hungry again (dark natured) and you will seek the light-nature of satiation, which will cause you to move and create something to eat
The light nature feels “good” and the dark natures feels “bad”, in a relative sense. However, they are both an inherent nature of life-energy, and you can never suppress one or the other. In the end, balance is about learning to work with both your natures – your light and your dark nature. Learning to manage these polarities, learning to understand your polar nature and letting go of the resistance towards either is what causes you to be free of the “unnecessary” suffering created by the backlash effect.
Enlightenment is not about reaching some “beatific” experience, rather it’s about understanding this basic reality of life, and thus letting go of your internal conflict with this nature of life-energy that you are. Understanding by itself does not resolve the conflict, it takes time to develop the mindset (and release the past mindset and its momentum) that’s aligned with life’s reality – this mindset is rooted in the attitude of openness as well as in the attitude of respecting/enjoying/expressing both aspects of our nature, without hang-ups, without qualms and without over-indulgence.
Why are we not born with the attitude of balance?
We can only learn through experience – there is no way around it. You can obviously expedite your learning by garnering the lessons from someone else’s experience, but in the end it’s your own experience that will cause you to truly learn. The more experience you have, the better your learning – this is true for everything that we do, and this is true for living as well.
Some “humans” seem to be born with the attitude of balance, where they are able to effortlessly integrate the mindset of openness, and expression, towards their light and dark aspects. They seem to be free of the “unnecessary” suffering and their expression exudes this energy of a lack of internal conflict/resistance. However, they are not just born with a “gift”, it’s more like their energy (call it the soul or life-stream) has come to this maturity through past experience – let’s just say that they’ve been around for long and have learnt through their experience. Just because someone is born as a “new human” doesn’t mean that their energy (soul/life-stream) is also “new” – there are as many old souls incarnating into physicality as new souls. Of course, you don’t have to get hung up on this “concept” of souls and incarnation – the point is that the more experience you have, the more maturity/understanding that you develop. Just like how you can’t expect a fresher, who joins a company fresh out of college, to have the know-how of an experienced senior who has been working in that company for 10 years – no matter how intelligent this fresher is, no matter how much bookish knowledge he has gathered, it’s not possible for him to beat the expertise that this senior has based on his experience.
So, if you are at a place where you feel that you have a lot to learn, that you are not half as stable/mature/balanced as some of the other people that you see around you, it’s not something to feel “inferior” about – it just means that this is your current phase and you are on your path of growth. Also, just because someone has reached a point of a relative maturity/balance doesn’t mean that they don’t have any further growth – there is always something more to grow towards. For instance, just because you’ve reached a point of emotional/mental balance doesn’t mean that you will not have any “challenges” – you will always have responsibilities/challenges/requirements that are directly propotional to your readiness/maturity. You can sense this natural requirement in you where you want to challenge yourself, it’s not possible to just settle for something that’s way below your potential (not for long).
You just need to deal with where you are, instead of constantly comparing yourself with someone else who you think has reached a higher place. Always remember that the higher and lower just exist in a relative sense, in the end life is just an eternal movement and hence there is no reference end-point which you can use to compare and say “I’ve reached closer to the end-point, and hence I am at a higher place”. And, if someone tells you that they’ve some found some “end-point” (like the prophets of Nirvana) they are mostly either deluded or just trying to make money at the expense of your gullibility.
Where do religions and traditions fit in, is it low-awareness to be religious?
Religions are based on “rigid protocols” in most cases, but there are also some aspects of religious teachings which provide a “direction” and understanding – however, the impact of religions has been more negative than positive if history were to be analysed, mostly because of the fear, and the rigidity, that most seem to induce. Religions were also created to achieve a sense of “community”, because as humans we want to belong to a group, to a tribe, as it provides a pseudo-sense of security – from this perspective it’s definitely a product of low-awareness, which was created from a place of needing a certain control, and something to hold-on to from a place of fear. The more aware you are the less you need “defined protocols” to be the base of your decisions – you learn to live life based on what feels right to you rather than what has been advocated as the “right way”. In the end, life is not a movement of rigidity, which seeks to experience only one certain way of being/living.
If you need someone else to tell you how to live your life, you are not ready for higher-awareness. However, from a place of higher awareness you can always choose to follow some traditions, even those set by religious protocols, from a place of preference and wisdom. For example, even from a place of higher awareness, you can choose to go to the church, or the temple, and experience a sense of connection with “God”, and the people around you, if it’s something that makes you feel good – it’s just that you won’t be doing this from a place of rigid fear, or blind conditioning. Some traditions have a value in terms of allowing a smoother functioning in the society – for example, the tradition of festivals can be an opportunity to connect with people and experience an entertainment through that. Of course, there are many traditions (and community based protocols) which induce elements of rigidity, intolerance, discrimination and narrowness in our thinking – a good example is the caste-system (with all sub-castes within the castes, and sub-communities within the sub-castes) in India, which is replete with a rigidity stemming from low-awareness. Also religious intolerance is so visible when a Christian guy and a Muslim girl may face all kinds of opposition, from the society, if they want to get married – it’s hypocrisy at its highest when you choose to oppose love in the name of God.
Sometimes, when you are surrounded by the “irrationals” it’s not very prudent to impose your rationality – it can even get you killed sometimes. Wisdom is about knowing what actions are suited to the environment you are in – after all, self-preservation is an important element of wisdom. It’s very possible that wisdom can demand that you be silent when it’s not in your best interest to speak out, to follow some traditions (or tolerate it) when it’s not in your best interest to openly oppose it – it’s not that you become “weak” for not speaking out, it’s just that you are wise enough to know the right time and right place to do so. It’s important to take a stand against what you feel is wrong/unfair, however it’s just as important to ensure that you are not being inane about it. Idealism and wisdom are two different mindsets – idealism is an imbalance of light nature, wisdom is the mindset works in conjunction between light and dark.
Religion has its place, just like everything else, in terms of catering to a requirement in some people based on their current awareness. If you feel that you are beyond holding on to any specific religion feel free to live that expression, however do so with wisdom towards understanding the environment you are in.
How do I know what is the right action?
Right action, the way I define it, is an action stemming from a place of wisdom rather than from a place of imbalanced light-nature or imbalanced dark nature. If you look at nature, you find a creature like the lion and a creature like the deer, they are polar opposites in their make up – one is a carnivore, has a violent streak, whose survival depends on the ability to inflict a fatal kill on its prey, and the other is timid, endearing, whose survival depends on evading the predator. Both these creatures are creations of life and by themselves are just “living beings” with a certain physical make-up. You can look at the lion as being the evil, for its nature as a predator, but then that’s just a narrow way of looking at life’s creation – the lion is a representation of how dark-nature is as much a part of life’s make-up as light nature is. Would you say that it’s the “right action” for the lion to sneak up on a deer, and deliver a deadly/painful attack that brutally kills the latter, and then gorge into the prey making a meal of it or would you judge the lion for being itself, for choosing to survive? When you consider this question, you will see that an action by itself is not right or wrong, it’s just how we perceive it or how we want to see it – there are many grey areas to every reality, it’s not all “black and white” as labeling something as evil and something as good. As hard as it might be for most people, the bottom-line is that life will always be a mix of light and dark, and there will be the creation of dark expressions along with the light expressions.
You will have to develop a certain openness to your dark nature, along with a connection to your light nature, in order to take the “right” action. While also knowing that all actions in the end serve to provide “experience”, and all experiences have a value in terms of growth – so in the end, there is no right or wrong, unless we are talking from a relative sense. A requirement of growing towards higher-awareness is that you develop an openness to the expression of dark nature, along with the expression of light nature. Balance is not what your mind might be imagining, it might have some very light-natured and glorious idea about what “balance” means. In truth, balance involves the dark as much as the light aspect, someone who is balanced will exhibit the proclivity towards dark as much as the proclivity to light, it would just come from a place of being natural.
Would you say that to be rude is always a wrong thing? If you think so, it could be stemming from idealistic thinking. In truth, sometimes you need to be rude, in your own best interest and also from the requirement of the situation. It’s just a fact that if you get too light natured you will face a strong backlash from the dark aspect – this is also the reason why they say “nice guys finish last”, it’s just a reality of life. You don’t earn brownie points from life for being “nice” all the time, in fact, if you notice, there is always some suffering associated with being too nice. It’s also a fact that inherently we are attracted to dark-nature aspects in a person, in a relationship, as much as the light-nature aspects.
There is a place for shallowness and superficiality, as much as there is a place of selflessness and depth. I can enjoy a superficial movie (replete with baseless humor and mindless action, and a storyline which you can only relate to with half-a-brain or no-brain) as much as I might like a movie that has a certain depth to it. Shallowness is as much a requirement as depth, and superficiality is as enjoyable as gravity from a place of awareness. Someone with a higher-awareness can still enjoy posting selfies (pics of themselves) on facebook and get a kick out of seeing the “likes” that follow, it’s just a form of entertainment that physicality affords. I find it just as imbalanced when a person decides to do away with being stylish because he/she think that it is “wrong” to be shallow and show-off your looks; of course it’s just as imbalanced if you are hung up on showing-off to the point of losing any sense of depth within you.
How can I stop worrying so much?
Life, as an expression, has two parts to it – the collective and the individual. It’s like each expression of life becomes an “individual”, and all these individuals eventually make up the collective. If you consider a physical plane like Earth, it consists of billions of individuals, and each individual has to function in this collective reality. Based on observation, I would say, that each individual has about 30% control on his/her reality while 70% of it is out of control as it is regulated by the collective requirements (including aspects of your destiny/blue-print in this physical existence). You can see this in your own body, where you can control a few things but a good majority of the functions, of your body, are out of your control – for example, you can’t control the hair growth, the blood circulations, the heart-beat, your body cycles (low/high cycles), your hormones, your brain’s moods, the cell generation/death, but you can control some aspects of your limb movements, and your brain application (like applying your brain to solve a maths equation). In that sense, a good 70% of your bodily functions are out of your control, while you get to control 30% of it.
What you do with the 30% control does dictate a part of how you experience life, but how you deal with the 70% lack-of-control is the major factor in terms of how your experience of life pans out. For example, when you are faced with a situation that you don’t really want to face, you have the choice of breaking down (and resisting it) or the choice to allow it to play out (because it is what it is in the moment). It serves to understand that every experience brings with it a value in terms of growth. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you keep allowing a “bad experience” (like an abuse), rather you become aware of the situation, experience what it makes you feel and what it indicates in terms of growth, and allow the required growth. It’s just that you stop being so afraid of the possibility of “bad experiences”.
As a part of growth, you will face up to the parts in you that need to develop/improve, and when you face these parts it can feel “bad”, however it also affords an opportunity to become aware of these parts in you, and look towards releasing its pull/momentum by experiencing it without resistance, and thus allowing a transition to take place. Allowing the feeling induced by a “bad experience” internally, fully, is the only realistic way to become free of the emotional/mental imbalances that are fueling the reason why you attracted it in your reality. The more you balance out, the less “bad experiences” you have. In a state of balance, your experiences don’t feel so categorized as “good and bad”, because they don’t have the extreme polarities anymore.
Worrying is mostly about the fear of “bad experiences”. However, when you take in this perspective that “bad experiences” are usually just a mirror, and opportunity, to face up to the parts in you that need growth, and that eventually it’s unavoidable to face up to your imbalances, then you no longer feel so “protective”, and defensive, about the possibility of having a bad experience. The way to overcome this “mind pattern” of being a worrier, is that you allow yourself to experience the feelings that you are afraid of facing – if you are worried about losing your relationship, then allow the feeling of loss (which may be very painful) until it loses its momentum in you; just be open to experiencing the feeling without trying to find assurances from the outside to assuage it.
When you write about souls and incarnation, how do you know it’s true?
I don’t, because personally I’ve not interacted with souls, neither am I very interested in non-physical contact. I like the phrase – “when in rome be a roman”, so when I am here in physicality I’d rather enjoy physicality and the aspects of growth/entertainment that it affords. Though there are a few posts that I’ve written about non-physical aspects of life, I personally have no real interest in it, and neither do I “try” to believe in it either – it’s just something that resonates with me, and so I write about it. I don’t gain any sense of security, or assurance, out of knowing that I will continue to exist after death (as a soul). If, let’s say, the truth is that once this body dies my sense of “I” (and my awareness) dies with it, then so be it – all I know is that when I get up I experience myself as a physical being, and that is what’s real for me in my waking moments. I find very little interest in speculating about after-life, or before-life.
The crux of this blog is about developing the attitude of openness and being aligned with the nature (light/dark) of life. That’s something that I find to be real in my experience.
How do I know if I am really allowing or if it’s another mind game?
The attitude of openness is just a pointer towards being free of conflict towards the nature of life-energy (that we are). It’s not meant to taken as some free-pass to bliss (light-nature), because that would defeat the very attitude that it points to which is the openness to the dark as much as the light. Though balance brings forth a state of being which is free of the unnecessary suffering and experience of overwhelming emotions/feelings (which is what a bad experience is about), it is not something I would call “bliss” – the state balance involves the experience of dark aspects as well as light aspects, but it’s just that they are no longer over-whelming in terms of creating a bad experience, rather it’s more like a stable experience of life/living.
As long as your agenda, towards “openness”, is not based on an imbalanced platform of clinging to some idea of light-nature, or looking for a free-pass to indulge in imbalanced dark nature, then you are well on the path towards finding true openness. You have to be authentic with yourself about whether you are truly aligned with the essence of openness, or if it has just become another spoke to add to your wheel of imbalanced thinking. For example, the state of allowing has nothing to do with “turn your other cheek” (if someone slaps you on one cheek), or sit there smiling while you are being abused – that’s just passivity or some light-natured imbalance rooted in some ideology of “I will just be loving”. True openness is about integrating the essence of dark nature as much as the essence of light nature – when you can be open to anger/hatred as much as you can be open to love, when you can be open to fear as much as you can be open to security, when you can be open to lashing out as much as you can be open to patience (and silence), when you can be open to shallowness as much as you can be open to depth, when you can be open to kinkiness as much as you can be open to platitude, when you can be open to imperfection as much as you can be open to desire for perfection.
If you stop seeing “openness” from a rigid perspective you will see it in its essence. It’s a challenging process to truly integrate with the openness stemming from awareness – it is completely based in “grey areas”; if something seems very “black and white” to you it just means that you are taking a convenient perspective based in rigidity (it’s so easy to label something in “black and white”; it’s way more challenging to be open enough to see all the grey shades). Openness does not exclude you from your humanness, it integrates your human nature – you don’t try to become some “holy spirit of perfection”, rather you integrate the aspects of your physicality/humanness, and the imperfections replete in this experience. Openness also involves allowing yourself the lee-way to be who you are in this moment, without imposing some standards of how you should be, based on some ideas you have about “the right way to live”.