By Suma Varughese
Moving from the divided self to authenticity has been a journey of a lifetime
|Suma Varughese is Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive. |
Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Authenticity moves me like little else does. When my cat looks up at me with her huge golden eyes and forcefully proclaims her hunger, every inch of her is united in expressing that need. When my mother prayed over one of us on our birthdays, her ardour brought tears to all our eyes.
My search has therefore always been to become authentic, integral – one in thought, word and deed. Alas, I was far from this. I would agree to go to a friend’s party because I found it hard to say no, and then would juggle with the cocktail of feelings it evoked – anger at myself, resentment at having to go to something I did not want to, anxiety about how the news of a late evening would be received at home and so on.
The opposite of authenticity and integration is conflict – the divided self. I was divided all the time. I would want to work and yet hold back from work. I would long to be self-controlled and peaceful and therefore watched myself like a hawk each time I was in a conflict-ridden situation. And the result – inevitably an explosion that almost blew the other away. I did not want to eat the wrong food or overeat but I did both of them. I felt like a straw in the wind, pushed from side to side by opposing feelings. How hard I found it to go beyond the hold of my feelings. How hard I found it to be this person I knew I was somewhere deep within – peaceful, centred and integral.
It’s been a long journey and although it is by no means over, I do find a glimmering of authenticity coming through within me. An intervention from outside was what tipped the scales. While interviewing a long-time associate of Krishnamurti, Rajesh Dalal, he suggested that the best way to deal with conflicts was to give up the goal of getting where I wanted to go. That would enable me to be with who I actually was at the moment.
Give up the goal of being peaceful, centred, integral? All my seeking life I had been striving to get to that place of absolute happiness that I had experienced during a powerful spiritual awakening. And now I was asked to give up the need to get anywhere.
It may have been counter intuitive but I did what he told me and guess what? I am where I always wanted to be. When anger strikes me, I give up the need to be peaceful and experience the anger vibrating through my being. In a while a smile appears on my face and I am, in fact, peaceful. This morning I found myself in a grief-stricken place. I dropped the idea of not being grief-stricken and found myself in the ludicrous position of having a smile on my face even as tears trickled down.
At the same time, I know all too well that all those frantic years of chasing goals were what has brought me to the place where I can let go of goals. The Buddha said it beautifully. “You need a boat to get to the other shore. But once you are there, let go of the boat.” I am very slowly letting go of the boat, and gradually discovering my authentic self.
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