by K Gitanjali
Being spiritual does not mean that one ceases to be human, K. Geetanjali discovers.
I sat at my desk, flushed. Flushed, because I had just blown my top in the staff room. It had been a hectic day at school. After a morning of invigilation and aching legs, I had been called to complete the school magazine, which had to go to the press that evening. Just as I had reconciled myself to a tiring morning, I heard that I also had to get my corrections ready and marks calculated. Different people were pulling me in different directions. “Here is where I have to say no,” I thought. My aching knees took over, and I forgot that I needed to be calmly assertive. The aggressive part of me surfaced and there was anger in my voice, as I explained how unfair it was to expect me to do three or four things at a time. The coordinator listened to me in silence, and then calmly showed me how to delegate the work to someone else, so that all I needed to do was supervise, and how I could get help for completing my calculations. It was a simple solution, where I could complete both jobs. It had only needed some clear thinking.
I was shamefaced. Here I was, a meditator, supposed to be calm and poised all the time, and I had just messed it up by blowing my top. Just then, my friends entered, who were also my colleagues at the workplace.
“We are planning to go for a movie now,” one of my friends said. It was a Saturday and we could leave early. “Hey,” I squeaked indignantly, “Then why didn’t you call me too? I would have loved to join you all.” The answer my friend gave me surprised me, “I know you enjoy get-togethers, because it is all about unity, but we really did not think you would enjoy a good comedy.” “That’s why I avoid meditations,” another friend who was part of the movie team quipped. “I like my laughs and jokes. I like movies and madness in my life. I do not want to have to be serious, prim, and proper. Spirituality is so boring.”
“Excuse me.” I did a doubletake, “Do I give an impression about being a goody two shoes, who is serious and sober all the time?”
This was just not my day. A sense of ill use overcame me. Who are they to create images of me? Who are they to assume that I will not enjoy a movie? Who are they to decide or assume what I am supposed to enjoy and reject? Okay perhaps I am not much into movies, but that does not mean I am a frog in the well, who never enjoys a good one occasionally.
I stopped. I had just been doing that – I too had been building an image of being poised and calm, when that was not really the case. Now I had to accept that I was upset when I was upset, laughed when I wanted to, or gossiped a little to express my feelings. Perhaps in the future, I would be a stable, centred person, expressing the finer aspects of her humanity, but now I was who I was, and I did not need to build an image of perfection. Life was fluid, but I was tying it down to a solid image. That was only further blocking the flow of life’s perfection.
Another friend was speaking, “We really are sorry. I remember we had a teacher here who was deep into spirituality. She was always so prim and proper. Almost frozen, she used to smile a lot, and got along well with others, but she never joined us for an outing, unless it was to a temple or pilgrim centre.
|If a person has become too serious about herself, it only means that she has not balanced her spiritual and human self|
She always preached about the evils of being caught in the world of maya. Sometimes it was informative, but on days when we just wanted to have fun, her wise sayings would irritate us. That is when I decided that spirituality was not my cup of tea. I love being human, I love the warmth and joy of expressing myself as a human, laughing, crying, without thinking that I am a piece of God who cannot be hurt and thus should not cry. I like my ice-creams and the gooiest chocolates. Meditation may make me peaceful, but I still want my fun.”
This was my day of doing doubletakes. Suddenly it was okay to be human. What was not okay was hanging on to human emotions, after they had been through you. I could enjoy a movie to the hilt, but once it was done, I would not go overboard, and long for another such experience. At the same time if life brought me such an experience again, I would not bypass it, but drink it to the last, and enjoy every drop of it.
“Hey,” I said, “Meditation does not mean that you become a boring preachy goody two shoes. It only helps you enjoy your life to the maximum. When you meditate, you access your inner stillness. As you progress, this stays with you. Then you do laugh. When you need to cry, love, and lose, you don’t suffer because you aren’t stuck in those emotions. You go through them, but there is something playful at the base, which brings you back to the centre by telling you, ‘Hey come on, don’t take yourself so seriously!’ Remember all this is just a game.
‘When you experience things with joy, and let go, you flow with the creative force. Maya means being stuck with emotions or situations. My inner silence helps me to let go more easily. Maybe I will reach a place, where I am able to detach from an emotion the minute it surfaces, but I do know I will never suppress my emotions, and become a cold block of ice. If a person has become too serious, it only means she has focussed only on her spiritual part, ignoring the human. It is about going through all of life as a human, while at the same time going through it with an ease and playfulness. However, this playfulness will arise when you honour your humanity and your divinity, at the same time. I was upset just now, but my higher self brought me out of it, saying, “Hey, enjoy it all as a game. So the next time you go for a movie count me in!”
“Yeah,” said my friend, “And after that what about a meditation workshop?” As we laughed, I knew that we had stumbled on an important secret of life. Life was all about being human, and divine simultaneously.Enjoying it to the hilt, while at the same time being stable, knowing that you are the one who is orchestrating it all, being human, and being divine. As Deepak Chopra says, we need to be in two states of consciousness at the same time, the human creative Shakti consciousness, and the static Divine Shiva consciousness. Balancing both and carrying them along at the same time, is what life on earth is all about. Then life will not only be peaceful, it can also be fun!
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