Personal Growth - The Sun not the Shadow
by Suma Varughese
When you look at what you want, and not at what you don’t want, the landscape changes dramatically
In the October issue of Life Positive, while writing about the book, The Secret, I had mentioned that one of the points the book makes is that we usually look at what we don’t want, rather than what we want, which is why most of us are burdened with problems and suffering.
Of late, I have been experiencing this distinction sharply. Usually when any mishap or calamity befalls us, our tendency is to focus on it powerfully. We view it with horror, obsess about it, brood about it, tell others about it, use our imagination to fast-forward into a doom-ridden future, and so on. Our entire consciousness is sucked into this calamity. No wonder we get dragged into it even deeper, and things get even grimmer. Remember, like attracts like, so frightened, resisting and gloom-ridden thoughts will only create more of the same. It’s not easy to spin out of this cycle. A revolution of the spirit is called for, where we go deep within, and excavate all that stops us from naturally focusing on the positive, naturally using intention to generate what we want, instead of finding ourselves helplessly in the grip of feelings and fears.
I am, of course, far from there, but I am getting an understanding of what it means to look at what one wants, and not at what one doesn’t want at every juncture. It is almost as if one is sealing off those portions of the mind which are vulnerable to the spiraling pull of negativity. And when one asks oneself, ‘What do I want?’ strength seems to flow in. These days I ask myself this question all the time, and it is giving me valuable dividends. The mind shifts from negative reactions and resistances, and looks instead at what one actually wants in the given situation. If an incipient illness is about to waylay me, I am no longer as inclined to worry about it and dread its appearance. Instead, I ask myself what it is I want. The answer obviously is health, and that means that I have to think, speak and do everything that will secure this outcome. This discipline is not perfect in me, but it is going a very long way in moving me towards conscious intention.
Helen Keller once said that if we turn our sights towards the sun, we will never see the shadow. How true and how well put. When we focus steadily on what we want, we will never focus on what we don’t want, all the things that we don’t like about ourselves, or the needs, desires and impulses of the lower self.
This explains why strong, stable people never make a fuss about things. If ill, they brush it off and carry on their lives with minimum fuss. If anything negative happens to them, they do not broadcast it, or gnash their teeth and beat their breasts. They keep it to themselves, and give it as little room in their consciousness as possible. No wonder they bounce back so quickly, and never seem to endure the violent ups and downs that many of us experience.
This focus on what one wants also dissolves the yo-yo battle of the lower and Higher selves.
The lower self wants to relax and please itself by watching a movie, but the Higher Self wants to go to the kitchen and cook. The lower self wants to eat that tempting morsel, but the Higher Self wants to stay on the diet. The lower self wants to be reactive and crabby when chastised, but the Higher Self wants to put the interests of others ahead of its own. Usually the lower self carries the day, but my newfound weapon is proving powerful.
When I ask myself the question, ‘What do I want?’ inevitably what I want at the conscious level is what the Spirit wants. I want to be happy and healthy. I want to put the interests of others first. I want to be able to execute my duties impeccably. I want to be courageous and strong, loving and compassionate.
Articulating it thus to myself seems to dissolve the conflict to some extent, and leaves me free to align myself with Spirit. Focusing on what I want is helping to dissolve internal conflicts, and enabling me to move towards a much-longed- for integration.