January 2016 By Shivi Verma Accepting herself and the many layered world helps Shivi Verma stay stable and peaceful As a young child I badly wanted to know right from wrong, good from bad, virtue from sin. I used to read voraciously in order to get answers. But the very attempt used to throw me off-kilter. For anything written in favour of a person or an idea, there was an equally vociferous argument against. My attempts at viewing the world from only one, supposedly right angle always failed me. As a young girl of 17 I happened to read a book on Jainism which propounded the idea of non-judgmentalism. Being a keen idealist I immediately began applying it in life. On meeting someone mean and selfish I would find fault in my observation instead of the conduct of that person. This would often backfire leaving me feeling betrayed. Painful incidents like mass murders, corruption, exploitation used to make my blood boil, and fill me with rage against the system and the callousness of people. I would often launch into a tirade against them. But my father always maintained that I should be calm and balanced while expressing my views. But I did not know how. Miraculously, during the initial phase of my spiritual awakening I met a mystic who whispered subtly into my ears: ‘It is and it isn’t. Things are and yet they are not.’ I was confounded. What did he mean? He smiled mischievously and something entered my DNA. From then on my gaze became more inward, and diffused. And in every situation this concept became my gospel truth. I observed that to the extent that I centred myself in the space between ‘is’ and ‘isn’t’, the more objective and peaceful I became. Seen from this context was the world unreal as suggested by the mystics? Yes it was, but at the same time it wasn’t. It was a projection of God’s thought, was manipulatable, temporary, and a game of light and projections. Yet the material manifestation could not be taken for granted and its laws cannot be played with. Therefore, one must abide by its laws and codes. Still, it was unreal enough to not take its pains and joys, failures and successes too seriously. Know that it is a self-created game and be ready to change it or exit it whenever you choose. Was that mean, selfish, insensitive person in front of me really like that? The answer was both yes and no. To the extent I had to safeguard myself from being tricked, yes, the person was. But mostly he was a product of his circumstances and likely to respond differently under different and improved situations. This realisation thawed my negative reactions. I observed that to the extent that I centred myself in the space between ‘is’ and ‘isn’t’, the more objective and peaceful I became Regarding social issues, I have realised that instead of taking sides and considering one party as fully wrong and another as fully right, it is better to see that the truth exists somewhere in between. For example vegetarianism may be my preferred way of eating and I endorse it fully. Yet I know that even in the best of times there will be a few non-vegetarians, helping prevent forests from converting into farms. Every time the nation is caught up in a mad frenzy over a sensitive issue, crossing swords in favour or against it, I take deep breaths and relax. Instead of getting agitated, I focus on the underdog, and speak up for them. I realise that truth is made up of both or all angles in a particular issue and the best way is to view it in totality including all the voices in a debate. And the more we do it, the more we inch closer to gaining consensus and harmony. And if I do get disturbed by something, I know the time has come for change. At such times I send deep prayers. I know that they help and heal. About the author: Deputy Editor with Life Positive, Shivi Verma is a devotee who found all her answers in loving God passionately.
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