A man was known in his community as a rebel. He was known to have always done things his way, and not followed societal norms. Since he wasn’t following the normal way of things, he was branded a rebel.
This made the man deeply introspective. He approached the greatest teacher he knew, his own soul. Speaking to his soul, he knew was the same as speaking to the world and accessing its wisdom.
Man (M): Why am I being called a rebel, just because I want to be happy? I am not preventing others from doing what they want. Is having a different opinion of what I want to do so wrong?
Soul (S): Your question asks if what you did was wrong. Who created right and wrong?
M: Did God create right and wrong? But if he did, I don’t want such a God to govern my life. If he has created happiness and sadness inside me, and then asks me to be perennially unhappy, then something is wrong with God. He is a sadist, and I do not want to have a relationship with him anymore.
S: Perhaps, but if God had created right and wrong, it would be the same all over the world. But what is right in the West is wrong in the East and vice versa. So, the very definition of right and wrong changes across the world.
M: So, who created right and wrong? It has to be man himself. Every generation has people who dominate and rule over others, and impose their values upon society. And those who follow them are forced to say they are ‘happy’ and those who oppose them are forced to say they are ‘unhappy’. Why, earning money or marriage is something you have to say makes you happy. If you say you are unhappy with these things, people start calling you mad.
S: Indeed. What do you think is happening here?
M: People want to not just control my behavior, but also decide what I should be happy about and what I should be sad about. This is a perversion of my individual right to my emotions. I am supposed to override my emotions now? I am supposed to say I am happy, just because others are happy, even if I am sad? I cannot stand this division of my soul anymore. Why can’t people just express their truth, which is the only truth?
S: Because telling the truth takes courage. People are afraid to speak the truth.
M: Why? Because they will be attacked like me? Sometimes, no, often I feel that it is better to be hurt on the outside than tolerate this pain that is caused by denying my inner truth. I can tolerate outer attack, however much it hurts, but I can’t tolerate my inner pain when I tell myself lies. Inner pain hurts so much more.
S: Why do you think inner pain hurts? Why not ignore it and wait for it to go away, like others do?
M: Because ignoring inner pain makes me lose touch with who I am, I begin to feel empty and dead inside. What is the use of being dead, an empty shell that acts happy? There is so much falseness in the world … internally dead people acting like they know what they want. No one seems to know what they want, because they have killed their inner pain by ignoring it. And when they don’t know, they rush to fill their inner emptiness with something outside, by listening to the strongest voice, by listening to churches, dictators, priests, corporate leaders, grand visions and promises. When you are no longer living inside your body, anyone else can easily make it their home. People have given up their souls and allowed others to take over. And these same false people now become agents for falseness- when people like me express my truth, because I am still connected to my soul, they attack me, trying their best to make me give up my soul. The world is insane, it is mad.
S: Indeed, it is. You have a choice to make then – your body will survive if you give up your soul, or your body may be attacked if you keep hanging on to your soul. Choose then.
M: I don’t know how I know this, but my soul is the actual part of who I am, my compass, my direction-giver, my happiness index. It is my soul that tells me if I am happy or not, that helps me act. If I give up my soul, I will end up following someone else’s definition of whether to be happy or not. I won’t even have emotions anymore; I will need to ask someone to decide whether to be happy or not. I will need to look at the calendar to decide if today is Christmas or Ramzan to be happy, or if today is a funeral to be sad. What is wrong if I get great news of a job offer on a funeral – don’t I have a right to be happy? What if I lose my money on a festival day? Don’t I have the right to be sad? I despise those who tell me what my emotions should be. My emotions are mine; they are inside me; they are private. No one can or should tell me what my emotions should be – I will decide.
S: Excellent. So, you prefer external attacks by society to dying inside?
M: Yes, I prefer to die externally (body) than die internally (lose touch with my soul). I am not saying I am suicidal, but if a mob attacks me, I prefer dying on my own terms, thank you. In fact, it is required for me to surrender the outer world, die on the outside (psychologically, not physically) to truly find my inner truth. Death is coming for me anyway, but I am going to use this body and this physical life to find and express my truth, even if I am murdered in 5 years for just being myself. And by murder, it could be just physical restrictions and not the true destruction of my body. But death is the absence of life, and I no longer care about external life and death. I only want a connection to who I am to exist and guide me, enlighten me.
S: So, you are a rebel now?
M: No, I am not a rebel because a person who is true to himself can never be a rebel. A rebel is someone who rejects others. I am not interested in rejecting others, I believe in live and let live. I just want to live my life by expressing my soul, and let others do the same. Everyone lives their own truth.
S: So, there is no universal truth?
M: Yes, there are many truths – everyone has their own individual truth, that is revealed when they listen to their soul. The moment you say there is only one truth, you create conflict, religion and division. People get branded as followers, atheists or rebels. Just be true to yourself.
S: Do you feel alive now?
M: Temporarily yes. Tomorrow, I may not feel this emotion this strongly, for my mind fluctuates. I have no control over my mind. I have no control over the outer world. I can only control my present – in space (who I am, inside my body) and in time (where I am now, without delving into the past or future).
S: So, are you not afraid that you will lose touch with your soul tomorrow, when you feel different emotions?
M: if this is my truth, it will always raise its head, knock on my inner door to tell me I am unhappy. I have to trust my soul; I have to trust my truth.
S: But how do you trust something that you can neither see, nor monitor or control. How do you trust something that you cannot check every few minutes?
M: If I don’t trust it, I will become paranoid, wondering if I will feel this way tomorrow just because I feel like this today. The moment I become paranoid, I will start living in the past or future, instead of in the present where my true power is – the power to take action. I can’t act on what my soul wants yesterday or tomorrow, but I can act now, in this moment. So, the moment I lose trust, I also lose the power to act, because I no longer live in the present.
S: So, the only way you can gain power to act on your truth, is by trusting your truth and giving up control over it?
M: Yes, I surrender to my truth, and I learn to trust my soul when I can’t know when it will talk to me again. I call this Faith.
S: So, truth is not rebellion, truth is giving up control, truth is dying on the outside to be alive inside, truth is surrender, truth requires faith.
M: Yes. It looks fancy if you put it that way. But all that is required is for you to listen, and choose to be alive inside than dead inside (while being a blind so-called alive follower on the outside). Don’t deny your soul.
S: Why are you so obsessed with your soul? Let it die.
M: I am not obsessed with my soul. I am afraid of the pain and later, meaninglessness that creeps in if you lose touch with your soul. I do not want inner pain. It is possible to face external torture if you are at peace inside, but it is impossible to enjoy outer beauty if you are suffering and dead inside. It is not outer things that make us happy or sad, but our inner soul that connects us to our happiness, makes us feel truly alive. At the end, it is a choice – do you want to act happy, or be really happy?
S: You mean, happiness, spirituality, freedom is a choice?
M: Indeed, freedom is not compulsory. You are free not to choose freedom, but you are also free to choose freedom. But if you are not internally free, someone else’s definition of happiness and freedom will be forced upon you.
S: So, what?
M: So, nothing. You are at complete freedom to be unhappy; you are at complete freedom to be sad, that is your right. You are at complete freedom to live a life of inner pain too, even if you act happy on the outside.
S: So, again, if you are free to be sad, if you are free to follow falseness, if you are free to choose an artificial life, why bother with this discussion?
M: Because I, I repeat, because I, want inner happiness even if it causes me external pain like societal rejection. This is my choice, and applies only to me. I cannot tell anyone else what to do. I cannot tell anyone else that they should follow spirituality, I cannot tell anyone else to follow my choices. If I start telling others spirituality is the only way to find happiness, I go against spirituality itself. I am alone in this world, alone in my philosophy, alone in my choices – I came into this world alone, and I will leave alone. My choices are only to affect me.
S: Ah, so to find the truth is to be alone? Is it lonely?
M: No, when there are no other people, I compare myself to, there is no loneliness. I am alone, which is a happy state. Loneliness is a false state (false to me), that occurs if I compare myself to another person’s truth.
S: So, if you are alone in your choices, what makes you make your choice?
M: I do not know, I am guided to pursue the truth, perhaps because I want to. Perhaps because I can.
S: So, choice and freedom create choice and freedom? It is a circle.
M: Yes, the world is a spiritual circle. Freedom and choice are part of a circle. Perhaps peace lies at the center.
S: So, if you are taking the decision to follow your truth as part of a deeper choice, how do you know you are right? How do you know if you are doing the right thing?
M: That’s the beauty of it – since there is no single truth, there is no right and wrong. I can follow my truth or not, that is my choice. Not because of it being right or wrong, but because I can. Choice creates choice. Freedom creates freedom. Peace creates peace.
S: Do you want to rest now?