By Suma Varughese
The mantra of All the more reason tells us that it is okay to make mistakes, and that instead of beating ourselves for having made them, it is better to move on, says Suma Varughese
When I first had my spiritual awakening, I was in a deeply powerful state where I could vault out of my ego simply by willing myself to do so. I would simply say, “It is the other person’s happiness that matters and not mine,” and behold, I would find myself right out of my own head and somewhere between the other and me. In that space, what the other wanted was as important as what I wanted, and my needs, reactions, or feelings had no power to control me.
But since that was not my natural state, I would often slip and act out of the ego, in the process hurting others and myself too. Once, while overcome with remorse, and wondering how I could authentically come to terms with it, it struck me that instead of brooding about the error and allowing it to suck me even further down, it was all the more reason for me to focus on their happiness.
The power of that insight was instantaneous. I immediately returned to my centre and took my attention to the welfare of others with even greater intensity.
After a year of being in that wondrous state of no-ego, I got tired of pushing myself into that state. I wanted it to be a natural state of being, and so I let it go. To my shock and horror, like a rubber band returning to its original length after having been stretched, I snapped back into being the touchy, tetchy, hyper person I thought I had permanently left behind.
I recognised then, that if I wanted happiness to be my natural state of mind, I would need to heal my mind in toto. I have been on that journey since then, and I have spent most of my time in a state of regret and guilt over all the things that I have done wrong. I have a fatal weakness for food which has often led me to fall ill. It has given me allergies to wheat and milk, a tendency to colds, coughs, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Each time I have tripped and consumed something I should not have, I have flayed myself over it. Such has been my anxiety on that score that I developed a strong distrust of myself which led me to watch myself like a hawk each time tempting food came within my ambit.
During those years, I often tried to use the All the more reason formula. But it was stone cold. It would simply not work. Fortunately, sustained inner work does, in time, build up reserves of strength and fortitude. It does enable you to love yourself more deeply and to forgive yourself more freely. That being so, the All the more reason mantra is gaining back its potency.
These days, instead of writhing in guilt and repentance, I simply say, “It’s all the more reason to eat the right food or whatever the bugbear is,” and I am back to balance.
All the more reason tells us that it is okay to make mistakes; that it is foolish to beat ourselves up for what we have done and to move on instead. All the more reason tells us that self-admonition is also an ego-based activity, and the only reparation we can do is to go beyond it. It tells us that we deserve to love and forgive ourselves, and to have faith in who we are striving to become. For all these reasons, the potency of this mantra reveals itself to those with sound self-esteem. Such people vividly recognise the futility of crying over spilt milk and waste no time in moving on. Do try it, the next time you are tempted to beat yourself up.
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