Be like the winds; move with the winds; go wherever they take you. And don’t choose.
~ Lao Tzu
Welcome to my blog. It is a great feeling to talk with you. Before entering into the topic, I’d like to thank you all for your love and support towards me. It was really a thrilling experience to receive a bunch of emails enquiring my well being, requesting for new posts and seeking personal advices.
For those who are concerned about my health and well being, I’d like to inform them that I am perfectly alright. For last few days, I was just busy in my other jobs; so, couldn’t write here. And for those who were seeking advice, I hope that I replied to them on time. In future, I’ll try to respond within 2-3 days.
Today, I’m gonna share with you the Path to Blissful Life. The message is beautifully summarized in the enlightening verse of Kokila Gupta. She is Pioneer of Hindi Haiku. She is a personality with many facets. She is a teacher, reader, writer, illustrator, traveller, amateur photographer, gardener and many more. She writes at sunshineandblueclouds.blogspot.in and bikhremotimanke.wordpress.com. The depth of her understanding on life and spirituality could be felt from the following verse:
How to Live a Blissful Life?
Before knowing the way to blissful life, we should understand the meaning of life.
What is life?
What is life? How do you know that you are alive?
The simplest answer is by seeing others dying. Shocking! But truth. Do you know any other way of knowing that you are alive?
Death is the reference point of life. And, what is death? It is the absence of life. How do we know that someone is dead? By seeing ourselves alive. Life and death are complementary to each other. In fact, they are two different states of ourselves. If we introspect the characteristics of these two states – life and death, we find that life is like a stream while death is stagnant; life is motion while death is stationary.
Are motion and stationary absolute reality? Are they complete in itself?
No, they are relative concepts. They are complementary to each other. Motions are defined in respect of stationary objects and stationary objects are defined in respect of objects in motion. And, they are interchangeable, i.e. what appears in motion to you may appear stationary to others or vice versa. The best example to illustrate the idea is a train journey. When you are inside a train, it appears to you that trees are travelling, anything outside the train is travelling and you are static. And for others, who are outside, you are travelling inside a train and they are static. You also feel the same when you are standing outside and watch the passing train.
Motion and stillness are two states of object which are observer dependent. They depend on the way of observation; so is life and death. When we are in living state, death appears as motionless. May be when we are on the other side, opposite appears! Who knows?
Also read : Death – A Beginning or an End
Life is a journey not destination
Kokila has beautifully phrased “Jeevan Path” meaning “Path of Life” or “Alive State of Ourselves.” Life is just like a train journey where we board into it at our birth and depart from it at our death. This life is, in fact, not the entire journey but a part of it – a journey of only one train. It doesn’t tell anything about our previous travels or journeys yet to come.
The problem or misery begins when we misinterpret life as destination instead of journey; when we start to think it in terms of permanent state instead of temporary state.
To avoid misery in life, we should behave with others as if we are travelling in a train. We make friends as well as enemies during our train journey. Sometimes we play and some other times we quarrel but when we get down of the train, these friendship or foeship do not affect us. The reason is: because we don’t form strong bond with them. It doesn’t mean that we form hollow relationship with our fellow passengers. No, they are as genuine as we form in our daily life. The only difference is that we don’t expect anything from them; we just enjoy the journey with them. We just follow our natural instinct without any prejudices or hidden agenda.
What is your identity
What is your identity? Who are you? Are you the zygote who was once conceived inside a female body? Or the one who came out after delivery? Or the toddler? Or the child? Or the adolescent? Or the adult? Who are you?
Most probably, you will say “all of these.” Now I challenge you, how could you be all of these if you are only one? It isn’t logical, is it? I further challenge you to take out the photograph of your childhood and stand before a mirror and prove that the person in the mirror and the person in the photograph are same and it is you in both of them. How you gonna prove it?
There is no way to prove it. You only know because someone has told you. In most of the cases, we are informed by our parents regarding our identity and we believe it to be true. It is better to say that what we know as our identity is actually the identity labelled by our parents to us.
Let it understand by a story. An eagle’s egg was placed in the nest of a chicken. The egg hatched and the little eagle grew up thinking it was a chicken. The eagle did what the chickens did. It scratched in the dirt for seeds. It clucked and cackled. It never flew more than a few feet because that is what the chickens did. One day he saw an eagle flying gracefully and majestically in the open sky. He asked the chickens: “What is that beautiful bird?” The chickens replied, “That is an eagle. He is an outstanding bird, but you cannot fly like him because you are just a chicken.” So the eagle never gave it a second thought, believing that to be the truth. He lived the life of a chicken and died as a chicken, depriving himself of his heritage because of the false identity labelled on him.
We, too, are living like this. Being an eagle, we are living a life of a chicken. Clouds are not boundary of sky. Sky is beyond clouds. Let the clouds part away. Try to see the sky through the gaps between the clouds. If dust settles on the glass of a mirror and nothing is seen but only dust and we think we are dust then it is nothing more than a sheer stupidity. Wipe the dust off the glass then you see your real self— true identity.
As you have noticed earlier that for a change or motion to occur, something unchangeable – something stationary is needed as reference. You are constantly changing from infant to child, child to adolescent, adolescent to adult and so on. There must be something within you as unchangeable as a reference point to observe these changes. Stop taking feedbacks from others about yourself and start to look within.
Also read: Memory – A Forged Identity Of Ourselves
Advantage of mind's limitation
In the Cosmos, everything is relative; nothing is absolute. In words of Einstein “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” The meaning only lies in our way of observation as in case with motion and static state. It is the state of observer which determines whether the object is in motion or static.
The state of observer is influenced by other things in the surrounding apart from the object of observation. Our mind, in fact, does not register any absolute state but only able to detect the relative difference between the observed object and its surrounding. When we compare 7 feet rod with 10 feet rod, mind registers it as small and when we compare the same 7 feet rod with 5 feet rod, it registers it as big.
The same comparison occurs also in the situation of miseries or happiness. You can take advantage of it in enjoying your lives. At the time of problems or miseries, you can imagine of the worst things that could happen in that situation and feel happy that you didn’t hit by them.
Illusion due to prejudices
We have seen in previous section that how any observation depends more on observer than the object of observation. In this section we will see how our mind interprets the meaning differently under the influence of prejudices and sometime in entirely opposite direction.
The line “Jug me apni nijta laye kar” could be interpreted in two entirely different ways: First one would be to blend your ego into the world and look the world egoistically. And second one would be to harmonize yourself with the cosmos, acknowledging the differences as complement, and behave as unity.
The entire message from the reference point of our first interpretation of the third line conveys: “The secret of sustenance in life is to identify yourself with your ego, blend it with the world and see the world through it because that is the only world relevant for you.”
This is a very dangerous interpretation. Unfortunately, most of the time, we interpret in this manner only because of our prejudices. We are conditioned to think in terms of ego since the very childhood. Moreover, we are loaded with the ego of family, religion, nation and many more.
I’ve heard a story of a person who once went to learn the secret of blissful living from a Zen fakir. The fakir welcomed him with a cup of tea and then began pouring more from his kettle into it. The person shouted annoyingly “what are you doing? It’s already full. How could it accommodate more?” The fakir replied with a serene smile “I understand; but do you? How could I give you more if you already come overflowing?”
According to Zen saying, one who longs to be everywhere must not be anywhere. One who wants to be all cannot afford to be anything. There is no congruity between all and something; they just don't go together. You have to be nothing to become all. You have to relinquish your personal identity to gain cosmic identity.
Also read: Surrender - A Way to Freedom
Harmony is blissfulness
Harmony is the key to blissfulness not solution. Existence is paradoxical. Everything we observe in cosmos appears to us in pairs: day-night, hot-cold, light-dark, matter–antimatter, pleasure-pain, happiness-sorrow etc. It is not that they appear in pairs; it is our limitation of observation that we see them in pairs. We can only observe from some reference point and to generate that reference point, we divide the things into two. (Remember motion in reference of some static object and stationary state in reference of some motion.)
It is not only that we divide them into two but begin to believe them as a separate entity. Then the conflict arises – problem begins to upsurge. When problem surges, we try to find a solution for it. To find a solution, we start to compare between the two and choose one part against the other as solution. Then miseries begin.
One who chooses will always be incomplete, less than the whole, because the part he chooses will continue to delude him and the part he denies will continue to pursue and haunt him. He can never be rid of what he rejects and represses. That’s the cause of his misery.
You cannot find a solution of tree growth to a greater height by cutting its roots. You cannot find happiness as solution without sorrow. How would you know that you are happy without the reference of sorrow? Happiness could only be known from the reference point of sorrow.
Once, a boy was flying a kite with his father and asked him what kept the kite up. Dad replied, "The string." The boy surprised and said, "Dad, it is the string that is holding the kite down." The father then asked his son to release the kite from that holding if he thought so. The son broke the string. And then, the misery began.
A few minute earlier, he was happy. He was enjoying flying a kite. But now, he was sad. He was sad because he misunderstood the Law of Cosmos. Existence is paradoxical. The very things that are holding us down are also the things that are helping us fly. You cannot find a solution by choosing one against other.
There is a basic flaw in our understanding. We understand opposite as conflicting but, instead, they are complementary. The cosmos is a unity of contradictions and dialectics. It is composed of different and contradictory notes.
Harmony is the use of different and contradictory notes simultaneously. Harmony is a pleasing combination of elements as a whole. To be in harmony with cosmos means to be complete, to be integrated.
When you harmonize with Cosmos, you and cosmos become Unity. Then you just become synonym of cosmos. You don’t have anything of your own because there is nothing left other than you to be owned by you. Your individual identity becomes nothing. And you become whole.
Seeing the cosmos in oneself
It is just like watching programs on your television by tuning it to broadcasting frequency. You don’t need to be present at recording studio to watch the programs. You can watch them at your place on your television-set tuned in to the broadcasting frequency. In a similar fashion, you can see the cosmos within yourself when tuned in to it.
Let understand it from different perspective. A drop of water is same everywhere irrespective of its origin. It doesn’t matter where it lies: whether in ponds, lake, river, ocean or single droplet or even in ice or vapour. Its true identity i.e. its composition will always remain the same. It’s the same proportion of hydrogen and oxygen, you’ll find in every forms of water. It means if you understand one droplet of water, you understand the whole water. The same is the case with you and the cosmos. If you understand yourself, you understand the cosmos. If you are able to see your true self then you are able to see cosmos within yourself.
Surdas said “One drop of water is in the river and another is foul in the ditch by the roadside. But when they fall into the Ganga both alike become holy.” It means that it doesn’t matter what you are at present whether clean river or foul ditch; to become holy, you only need to unite with holy Ganga. When you fall in Ganga, you become Ganga. In a similar way, when you unite with cosmos, you become the cosmos.
There is a beautiful story of Vivekananda associated with this Bhajan of Surdas. Once, a party was organized by Maharaja of Khetri in his honour. In that party, when a dancer entered into the court to perform, Vivekananda rose to go out. He was prejudiced regarding the character of those dancers. Upon seeing the Vivekananda rising from his seat, another stanza of this bhajan broke out from her choked throat with tears pouring down her cheeks:
“O Lord, not look upon my evil qualities! Your name, O Lord, is Same-sightedness. Make of us both the same Brahman! One piece of iron is in the image in the temple and other is in the hand of a murderer but when touched by philosophers’ stone both alike turn into gold. So Lord, do not look upon my evil qualities! Your name, Lord, is Same-sightedness.....”
Vivekananda was completely overwhelmed. He realized his mistake. He touched the feet of that dancer and begged for pardon. This is the secret of his blissful life. He never carried his ego with himself. He never let his ego come his way or overpowered by it. He never lived for false pride and importance.
Most of our energy goes into upholding our importance. If we're capable of losing some of that importance, two extraordinary things happen. First, we would free our energy from trying to maintain the illusory idea for grandeur; and second, we would provide ourselves with enough energy to catch a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the cosmos.
Ways to feel harmony with cosmos
- Practice choicelessness
- Spend time with nature
- Listen music without words
- Include dance in your life
- Try to observe the rhythm of your breathing in leisure
- Use the time on bed before sleeping for introspection
He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the Universe.
~ Marcus Aurelius
Hope the article fans the flame of POSITIVITY within you.
Have a nice day!