November 2017 The inner space is permeated with calm when one can stay with what is, saysSuma Varughese For someone who has long pursued the ideal of being free of resistance, any small glimpse of it is a cause for celebration. Of late, it has been possible to stay with what is, even when what is, is disturbing or unpleasant. And that, I realise, can only happen when one is no longer resisting what is. For the longest time, I have been chanting a little mantra to myself that helps me to get in touch with the contours of the present, no matter what it is. This only is, I tell myself. Thoughts and resistance to thoughts. Feelings and resistance to feelings. Physical sensations and resistance to physical sensations. Oddly enough, chanting this always pulls me back from the commentary in my mind of what I am going through, to actually feeling what I am going through. When resistance wanes In the gradual way evolution happens, perhaps this is leading me to moments where the resistance is gradually waning. This means the little irritants that always bob up somewhere in your consciousness, are muting. Walking along a Mumbai road, where screeching brakes compete with shrill horns and where the belch of petrol fumes hang thick in the air, is no longer an occasion for cringing or withdrawing. I can walk along with poise, focussing on picking my way carefully through the uneven and broken paver blocks, while dodging pedestrians crossing my path or the many stalls that ply their wares there. Last night, I experienced a lot of pain in my abdomen as I tried going to sleep. Where earlier, I would have tossed and turned restlessly and gotten increasingly alarmed by the pain, this time, something in me stayed uncannily present. I remembered an ayurvedic pill I had recently bought, had some of it and peacefully went to sleep. This newfound calm has helped me to be with other uncomfortable physical sensations such as a bloated stomach or chest congestion, enabling me to breathe into the sensation rather than resist it. Taking back my power This morning, I went through a major upheaval in my usually peaceful life. As my thoughts raged furiously, I was able to pull myself to experiencing the disturbance behind the thoughts, and in a relatively short time, I could put the incident behind me and take back my grip on the day. I think one of the causes for this also could be a gradual reduction of fear. I have been, and still am, a very fearful person, but the magnitude of fear is on the wane, while a few fears have gone completely. This is causing me to gradually move from a general state of panic when untoward events occur, to a greater capacity to experiencing them calmly and moving towards resolving them. When one is no longer resisting what is, one is free to look for creative solutions to the problem on hand instead of being locked into it. After leading a life full of turbulence, it is delightful to be floating in what seems to be a placid sea. Of course, I have a long way to go before I get established in equanimity, but even these precious little glimpses are deeply satisfying, and tell me that evolution is quietly plying from within. Suma Varughese is a thinker, writer, and former Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive. She also holds writers' workshops. Write to her at email@example.com
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