Wednesday, December 2, 2009

From Pain to Humility

The path traversed respecting the human side of me has often times been one filled with pain, hurt, anger, confusion and a sense of wonderment at what life is about. I have always been aware that these experiences were superficial, transient ones but I could not see anything deeper. Life was about everyday stuff - home, family, money, work, friends, things, relationships and more. I was sometimes joyful, sometimes not. I never went out consciously looking for joy or sorrow - they just happened to me. Even in joy there was fear of it not lasting long enough. Life just happened. My mind was my master and I was it's dog on a leash. I went wherever it took me.

Painful life experiences never shook me up deeply. There was a sense of resigned acceptance that life was about unpredictable pain filled events I had to experience in the span of time spent here on earth. I had not asked to be born - I was given birth to. Now I was left to fend to unpredictable life experiences - how unfair is that? Happiness was a myth and so I just sailed along letting experiences happen to me.

This insensitive, unintelligent, and disconnected way of living made it possible for people, events and things to dominate my existence. The more I let them rule over me the more powerless I became. The inherent nature of my being never got the chance to express it's glory. Over the years of living this way I felt myself getting depleted of my confidence, self respect and self esteem. I became adept at hiding these shortages but deep within me I knew I was degrading rapidly. Unbeknown to me this journey was also revealing the true secrets of happiness to me.

Many a times when one is cornered a sense of desperation makes one do something that is apparently uncharacteristic to break out of the dark into the light. I found myself cornered by my own life choices and to escape that wretched place I reverted back to one of my most loved activities - reading. Fiction is what I started with and insidiously moved towards self improvement and eventually into the realm of Spirituality. Words of some great Western Spiritual Teachers opened up a new world to me. They spoke in a language I understood. The Hindu Scriptures are rich but they are in a language that does not penetrate my being. Even the translations in English are too flowery for my understanding. The English language has the capacity to express the most complicated concepts in the simplest terms. The Spiritual Teachers of today have used the language beautifully. Once these terms began to make sense my life experiences became my most revered teacher. The tenets of any Scripture whether from the East or the West are inherently ageless and come from the same Source and so the Gate to Heaven opened wide.

Today I no longer believe that life happens to me - life now happens for me. I was not given birth to - I was given birth for.... My true purpose is clear now that I recognize this. To have this human form gives me the opportunity to experience my divinity. My place in this world is to love myself and others unconditionally. This requires me to be completely void of ego. It means being humble.

True humility frees me from focusing on me, whereas a low self-opinion tended to focus my attention on myself. My pain, my hurt, my anger is now surrendered to God and all my attention is on the Omnipresent. Petty things, ideas, words do not have room in my thoughts but more importantly petty words and ideas thrown out at me ricochet away from me. This requires my concentrated effort since I am habituated to let it affect me adversely. Today I recognize that it is upto me to keep my thoughts only on the Omnipresent even within the pettiness and it passes without causing ripples. This surrendering is what keeps me humble without being humiliated. It is this humility that takes me away from pride and despair and lets me be me. Who cares what anyone else thinks of me? Their opinions never did and never can define me.

I am learning to say 'Thank you' to pettiness and to pain and surrendering my ego to thoughts about the Love of God - the Omnipresent impersonal God that is humble enough to forgive all my trespasses and lead me gently and lovingly to my own Divinity. All I do is offer myself in humility and release myself from the bonds of pain.

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