By Suma Varughese
The use of these two short sharp words has helped Suma Varughese shrug off her emotional baggage and rest peacefully in the moment
Life strews clues for us everywhere, through a forward you might have received, through something a friend said, a sentence in a book, or spoken by a facilitator at a workshop. A few months back, I had attended a workshop conducted by Manoj Lekhi, head of the Mumbai branch of Siddha Samadhi Yoga, the organisation founded by the late Rishi Prabhakar.
What I carried away with me were two short, sharp words: ‘So what?’ Manoj had asked us to use these words whenever our expectations of others were belied. So what if X did not invite me to her party?
I started using the phrase at the workshop itself and to my delight I found it to be a catchall that could help me defuse any state of mind. Moment to moment I would go, “So what if I am angry with someone. And so what if I am resisting the anger?” I would also add, “All the more reason to focus on the moment, their happiness and my growth.” Or “So what if I am feeling sleepy, hungry, slow, jealous. So what if my mind is on overdrive and so what I resist it?”
Instantly, I would find myself springing back to the present moment, and the emotion would have largely dissolved. If not, a few more repetitions of this mantra would restore me back to tranquillity.
‘So what’ cuts our drama down to size. First of all it helps us acknowledge the problem instead of being in its thrall. It also reminds us that our emotions usually make much ado about nothing, and that we should lose as little time as possible in indulging them. And that the important thing is to do something about our situation instead of brooding about them. So what if I have a headache or that I resist it? So what if my stomach feels bloated or heavy or that I resist that?
I have spent the larger part of my life being in the thrall of emotions. Moreover, resistance to these emotions was so powerful that I could hardly ever break past them to the zone of doing something about them. Fear and resistance to fear. Guilt and resistance to guilt. These heavy emotions were particularly hard for me to accept, and kept me in a state of stasis. ‘So what’ has helped me cut through all that flab. Everyday, it is restoring more and more of my natural vigour and energy. I am no longer as swaddled by resistance as I used to be. And if I am, a couple of rounds of ‘So what’, settles it.
Over dint of time, the use of the phrase has worn away considerable emotional baggage and left me light and unfettered. It has also moved me closer and closer to the realisation that ultimately nothing is a big deal. The author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Richard Carlson, had concluded, “It’s all small stuff.” That is what I am
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