By Suma Varughese
A sure indication that one is approaching the state is the capacity to be unruffled by the words, deeds and actions of others, says Suma Varughese
As long as other people have the power to upset or influence us, we are only conditionally free. At any time, someone can say something that will rob us of our peace of mind or do something that will send us ballistic. We are, in fact, all puppets on a string. And each of us holds the strings that activate others. The only way to be free, therefore, is to cut off the strings that tie us to others.
How do we do this? I have noticed that not all of us are as dependent on others’ opinions, approval or conduct for our happiness. Many seem to have a natural resilience that enables them to function independently, unmoved by hostility, and never minding if someone withheld acknowledgment or appreciation, Such people seem to move in their own orbits, never being pulled into anyone else’s magnetic circle. My own mother had that to a great extent. I remember one time some of my friends had come home and my mother sat with us while we discussed books. Not knowing English, she could not join the discussion but much to my fascination I noticed that she was not in the least disconcerted. She was not contributing to the conversation, but nevertheless she was a vital part of the ambiance through her undemanding and peaceful presence. It did not matter to her that no one was talking to her. She was okay just by herself.
That is when I understood that self-esteem is the crucial factor in determining how much power people have over us. The more centered we are, the less the outside world affects us.
That is why working on my self-esteem has been one of my most compelling goals. An inner experience arrived at early in the day told me that I was innately whole and perfect and all I really had to do was to eliminate all the conditioning that came in the way of that being my natural way of being.
I knew that this state would bring about a cessation of dependency on others for my happiness, and I was eager to see how this would manifest. Of late, I am beginning to get a glimmer of this state.
|I am awakening to the possibility of peacefully relating to someone even if they are hostile to me.|
I have been a pretty touchy sort of individual, not speaking to someone if they showed no inclination to speak to me, withdrawing from those who put me down, feeling hurt at what others said and recoiling from those who showed a tendency to dominate me.
Now, however, I am seeing as a possibility that I can continue to peacefully relate to someone even if they are hostile to me. Recently, I had the mortifying experience of calling up someone from whom I needed some help for our upcoming Expo, and have the phone cut on me several times. Earlier, I would have been hopping mad at the treatment, but today I am unruffled.
I now feel that instead of being influenced by the conduct of others and being pulled down to their level, I will be able to pull them up to my level simply by relating to them peacefully and benignly, regardless of where they come from. Freedom? Yes, a real possibility.
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