By Suma Varughese
When you renounce rights, you allow life to flow unimpeded, says Suma Varughese
It happened a couple of months back. The ego was feeling put down, ignored, not important. But this time, I decided I was not going to give in to these feelings. The ego had caused me and others enough suffering. I was not going to succumb once more to the victim sensation that revelled in making others wrong, in sinking me into self-pity, and steeping me in misery.
I wrestled with the feelings late into the night, as I lay in bed. Eventually, in despair, I surrendered everything that was important to me. The first was happiness. I declared that I renounced the right to be happy. Health followed next. It was okay not to be healthy, and it was okay to resist ill-health too. One after another, I tossed away everything that I was clutching, including the need to be respected, to be liked, to be appreciated, to be successful, to have money, to not lose my temper, and so on. As I gave all these up, a huge wave of freedom washed over me. I began to breathe deeply from the very core of my being, and for the first time in my life I experienced what true relaxation felt like. My arms fell open on either side as if I had finally let go of self-protectiveness. I felt as if I had reached the ocean bed, just absolute bottomless peace.
As I began to inquire deeper into this state of renouncing all rights, I realised that it permitted me to be okay with the way things were. If I had no rights, then I was okay with the buzz of thoughts that sounded nonstop in my head, and with the resistance to them too. I was okay with my customary resistance of anything such as the lift taking time to come to my floor, my putting on or losing too much weight, my maid failing to wash the soap smears from my vessels, the phone ringing when I was busy, and a million other minor irritants. By renouncing rights I could flow with life, instead of opposing it.
No, I have not reached Nirvana, but I can sense that the apparatus is winding down. Of course, the ego still runs me when I am unconscious, which is probably 90 per cent of the time, but in the periods that I do become conscious, I can permit the emotional and mental baggage to be. This gives me a greater spaciousness, and I experience greater freedom.
Renouncing rights also means letting go of expectations both of oneself and others. In fact, all expectations are
only to do with one’s own self. Our expectations of others would not trouble us if we were okay with how we felt about having these expectations, or particularly, how we felt when those expectations were not met. So if we drop expectation that we should not have expectations, they will cease to trouble us. I am also learning that when we let go of expectations we take back our power. If we have no expectation that the other should love us, almost all problems in relationships will be resolved, because how the other behaves will not be our focus. Our focus will be on how we behave. And that will make all the difference. Similarly, when we withdraw our expectations on how life should be, we are unruffled by things going wrong. Why not, when we have renounced our right to expect things to go our way?
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