Instead of obsessing over what the ‘other’ is doing, focus on knowing yourself by identifying the subtle messages that you feed your subconscious with, says K Geethanjali
Did the title make you pause and do a double take? Surely, you thought it seemed very selfish—all this focus on the ‘me’? But the deeper we go within, the more we realise that Life is a big paradox. Life is all about me, and yet it is not! When we focus our attention on the ‘other,’ what the other person is doing or being, we are walking down the path of bondage.
Right from the time we were old enough to think, we have always been told to think about the ‘other person.’ Well, has the world improved all these years because we have followed this advice? Not really. In fact, the reverse is true. The more we have focussed on the other, the more judgemental, discontent, and disturbed we have become.
Take for example all the interest that has been generated in the media because of the recent drug exposé triggered by the death of a young promising star. With COVID-19 in full swing, we are homebound for the most part, and a live soap opera that is unfolding in the media has us all glued to our TV sets. Drugs, lies, a mysterious death, investigations—which movie can be more engrossing? We happily allow ourselves to be sidetracked from managing our own affairs rightly during these challenging COVID times and have immersed ourselves in the affairs of people we have never even met!
Does that mean that we should be ostriches, digging our heads in the sand and not be awake to what is happening in our world? Far from it. We need to be in the know of things but only to the extent to which it affects our lives. Though our lives may appear to be far removed from this world of glamour and illusion, ultimately, it all boils down to emotions and the choices we, as a human race, make. Yet our focus ought to be on ourselves and not on what the other is up to. Let’s not forget that our life is about our choices. We have our own journey to make. Let us watch the news not with a judgemental eye but just enough to know the state of the world so that we can make informed choices in our own lives.
So that is the secret of life. It is to see whatever is appearing before us as a reflection of some energy in us that is coming up for resolution. It is about stopping, reflecting, and making a new choice. Is this what the masters mean when they say ‘turn inwards’?
When the other insults me, instead of focussing on the insult and what ‘she said,’ I can take it as a good opportunity for me to look within and rethink my idea of myself. Who am I in the face of this insult? Am I a being whose happiness is tied up to the approval of others? Or am I a being who is powerful enough to realise that what the other does is not at all about me but about them?
When I give something to another, do I realise that it is not they who are benefitting from it but my own self? That, in the giving, I am reiterating to my own subconscious mind my own sense of abundance? So, it all comes down to the messages we send to our subconscious mind, which really runs the show called ‘our life.’ These messages get translated into our beliefs, our actions, and, finally, our destiny.
When I lie, I’m hurting only myself and not the person listening to the lie. I am just giving my subconscious the message I cannot be trusted. When I withhold something from another, the message I give myself is that of lack. When I cling to something, the message is that I cannot trust the Universe to give me more. When I harbour a grievance, it’s not the other person who gets hurt but my own self. Remember, the masters have always been exhorting us to forgive others as a service to ourselves.
When I focus on what the other is doing to me, saying to me, giving me, withholding from me, I am tying myself in knots. And I become a puppet because the other person holds the other end of the rope that ties me up. Instead, if I trace the thread back to myself, I can break it and be free because, now, the power is in my hands. I can decide how to respond to whatever is appearing. Whatever the other does will soon be only a speck of memory in the vastness of my world, but what I do scripts my destiny.
And so it makes sense to stop our focus on the other, which only leads to accumulation of more and more of stuck and heavy energy. If only we realise that the outer situations are nothing but mirrors to help us identify our own beliefs and rewrite them, how different life would be! Seen from this perspective, every moment, person, and situation will seem a blessing, helping us bring our hidden baggage to light, for only when we can see it can we shed it!
And yes. Once we see through the paradox and accept the contradictions inherent in it, we realise that Life is about focussing on how we respond and simultaneously not focussing on gathering and grasping from the world!
“Know thyself,” says an ancient Greek aphorism.
The more we tread this path of knowing ourselves, the more knots we break and the lighter we feel. Sounds like the path to enlightenment?
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