Journeying within our own selves is one of the most awe-inspiring, fulfilling and adventurous one. Sometimes it feels like an uphill task where the peak seems to be ever so far and some other times it has the excitement of unwrapping a gift or like meeting someone on a blind date when there is a charged anticipation to meet someone who will ‘click’ or like reading a mystery book with each page bringing me closer to a clearer picture and some other times it even feels as soothing as gardening! A lot of times I have felt like
I wonder whether this journey within should have an age to it. Should a 30 year old be more spiritually aware than a 20 year old? Or should a 70 year old be totally aware of his life’s purpose because he is nearing the end of his life? But then these are just beliefs. And my belief is that there cannot be stringent rules about timeline or degrees of this spiritual awareness as it is a personal journey. And I certainly believe that circumstances and situations in life does go a long way in help in making such journeys possible.
As with everything else that matters it starts with being aware. I have been aware of what is self realization, spirituality, knowing yourself and the journey within for quite sometime now. But honestly these have only been words and actions that happen to people and would be great if it happened to me but unfortunately it has not happened to me. So my initial belief was that knowing my real self is like a back-end process which I do not get actively involved in and that it will happen someday….just wanted to know when will that be! Moreover I used to search for more gyaan outside and not within, completely oblivious that it will be only ME who needs to go within and search for the real ME. I thought living independently, being self reliant and having opinions is what ‘makes’ me. My knowledge about me was extremely shallow but enough to live like any other person. There were things which I didn’t quite appreciate in me but that was because “others” or “situations” were the culprits all the time. It was because of this person that I reacted this way…..or because I am going through this so I behave this way and mixing up my beliefs with other peoples beliefs and considering them to be facts or “this is how it should be”. But I also know that I was looking for help, some guidance on where to begin and how to go about searching the real me. Reading books didn’t help me as much as I would have thought. What I was looking for was to know a process to dig deeper into my thoughts, beliefs and values. How does one do this? I wish there was a beginners crash course to help me out to do this 😉 After1.5 years of messing up myself and those who loved and cared for me and feeling constantly sucked into this spiraling well, going through hell and basing my responses on people and situations rather than myself. No amount of reading the books, listening to the saints or anything at all help me in this journey. I just knew I was stuck for a long time somewhere and this is not my natural response and yet I was the one who reacted in situations the way I did. But I felt directionless, I didn’t know who to approach what to do and how to untangle the maze. And then it was like the prayers were answered. It felt like going through the Karma but eventually also getting an opportunity to transcend. This led me to also think why do we associate Karma with sadness or pain? Is it because pain has a long battery life and happens more than a Happy Karma…this will be in my blog soon. I also got my opportunity to transcend through the pain, I began to attend a life-skills training program which introduced me to what, who and whys of me and my being. It felt like a series of Ahaa moments one after the other. This led to the next stage of my life – Awareness.
Awareness if coupled with enough experience and/or a thirst for further knowledge leads to the stage of knowing. This knowing can be a very impressionable stage much like the teenage where there is rebellion, there is a need for experimentation, even turmoil as one is faced by ones own belief system. This time is rather unsettling for people and a lot of them do not like to go further in this journey as it is a very challenging period. This is the phase when I realized what I have been believing is not something that I actually believed in or that they were not my beliefs. I realized a lot of me was still in what I call the Embryonic belief system. I had not discovered what I truly believe in. This is also a time when I began to meet my real self. I did not like what I was discovering about me though. I wanted to believe that I stand for the good values, good belief systems, right attitudes and sometimes considered them to be so right that I also considered it as being a fact! Because facts are not challenged isn’t it? Facts are facts because they have been duly challenged in the past and are now where they stand. But challenge it was. To understand and accept about the past behaviors, mistakes and conduct is BIG deal. To know that it is always easy to blame someone else, the situations, the people, my parents, my culture, my lineage, the organisation, the weather, the mood and even the hormones is something that I have always been doing. Awareness of following the “easy” way out in this case blaming has been what I have been doing all along. I realized I have based some of my beliefs on things pre-approved and followed by others. I was in shock when I realized this because all along I believed I have created my own beliefs and that I have finally become this independent woman who knows it all. In a few cases I think I am not even sure whether I have beliefs or whether I have the wisdom to recognize them. This pricked my own identity and I found it very difficult to accept. But the LST course did help me recognize my behaviours, my thoughts, my feelings and I could also understand that not knowing and not accepting and not understanding does not change what is the reality. Even acceptance of what is after all is emotional maturity. Emotional Maturity has been my pet peeve. I had been given this feedback a number of times at work but would fail to recognize, acknowledge, understand and accept this feedback. One of the reasons which I can clearly point out was my inability to question the basis or further advise on what exactly they considered emotional immaturity. This is because I was caught up too much in the “criticism” rather than take it as a feedback and started labeling these people and disliking them. Maturity is a very relative term and it always will vary at what degree and level one considers maturity to be maturity. What is fine for me may be considered as immaturity for others. But the fact is that ability to be aware, know, understand, rationally use them and control them from spilling over is what is considered to be emotional maturity. It’s not as if I have been emotionally immature all along, its only on those certain moments or situations wherein I demonstrated a different “eye-brow raising” behaviour. So emotional immaturity occurs when we do not know what are our values, beliefs and our comfort zone in other words what is acceptable to us and what makes us tick! Which meant I had either not understood what was my belief or value for that particular situation or I had not encountered that situation ever or I just was unable to recognize my responses. One of the most important aspects of recognizing what one believes in and doesn’t is by being aware of the body responses – what is the speed of the breath, hands and feet getting cold or warm, sweating, twitching of the nose, throbbing temples, butterflies in the stomach, any aches or pains or discomfort or any other bodily expressions. This can happen only if we observe us, if we have the patience to listen and feel what our own body is saying. We most often don’t do that especially for deeper emotions. We can immediately recognize the grumbling noises in our stomach when we are hungry or headaches or yawns when we are sleepy or our heart racing when we are scared but we don’t listen or observe that our heart also races when we are about to break bad news to someone or when we are anxious of a decision or that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach when we meet a person who does not give us “healthy” vibes. I personally consider these examples of being first level feelings, meaning they are easier to recognize and understand. But what about jealousy, security, helplessness, rejection, loving, creative, bold? There are a host of emotions that a normal human being not only experiences but expresses and has the ability to recognize! Amazing! But we cannot recognize it in others before we recognize it within. We limit our feeling vocabulary only to being happy, sad or irritated or angry..