Starting something new, without effort

I am trying to start a project – studying for a course, the exam for which is scheduled a week away. Every time I put my hand to paper, my mind feels blocked. Everything seems easier than studying for the exam.

I ask myself why? And I realize there are so many things blocking me. The exam is interesting, but I feel burnt out. Yet, when I ask myself what I need, watching a movie, eating (again and again), going for a walk to ‘clear my head’, sleeping…. all of these seem more interesting than just putting my pen to paper, and opening my study material.

Why is this? It is because I am trying to jump from a state of zero to one, from doing nothing to diving into exam prep. It is simply too steep a fall. I hate the feeling of forcing myself to do anything. So, I decide, I shall not force myself to do anything. It is okay if I fail, it is okay if I don’t take the exam, it is okay if I forfeit the fees.

Now, there still exists a block. Why should I do anything at all? Why should I eat? Do I really enjoy eating or sleeping all day? Not really, after a while, the fun wears off. It is just…easier…to sink into food or sleep. Is it thus easier to sink into studying? No, studying is not something that I can ‘sink’ into – it seems to be a ‘step up’, it feels like I am building something, it feels like a burden. I do not want to do anything that is not natural, that is not aligned to emotions that naturally arise within me.

Why is studying or starting anything new a step up? Is it the first time I am doing this? I have already done some reading earlier. Yet, this is a new iteration of reading and it is new for me, from sleeping to waking up to studying.

The problem is that it feels steep, like a cliff. I need a gradual slope. But again, I don’t want to put any effort into climbing, even a slope. So, I decide, if I don’t want to put in any effort, I won’t. No success is worth effort. Effort is suffering. Hard work is suffering.

So, I go deeper. Where does work start from? To read a page, I have to read a paragraph. To read a paragraph, I have to read a word. To read a word, I have to choose a chapter. Choosing is hard – it is irritating, and hence requires effort. Let me not choose.

I will start with any word then. But to start with a word, I have to open the book. That is effort.

Let us deep dive further – opening a book is in the mind a task. Every task has steps- thinking of the book, then opening it.

Thinking arose from a set of thoughts, which arose from a single thought, which arose from an emotion. Just like a cell that forms an egg, then a zygote and then a foetus, every action has come from smaller and smaller pieces.

If I start small… really, really, small, there is no effort. It is no longer building, no longer a step up. I am merely allowing that very, very small piece to attract more pieces becoming bigger and bigger like a snowball.

I realize that I can break things down further and further, but even nothingness can be broken down into more nothingness. Molecules comprise atoms which comprise electrons which comprise things we don’t know about, but they comprise something. Infinity is infinitely divisible.

So, let me start with my deepest nothing.

Then I will allow it to just attract more thoughts.

And then it will attract my hand.

Which will attract a pen.

Which will attract the book.

Which will attract a word.

I look up the meaning of the word, which leads me to another chapter.

I read the next word naturally, which leads me to a sentence, which I cross-reference to another.

I then read portions of chapters in random order – organized reading is my enemy, so throw out organization and structure – let the nothingness inside me guide me in its gentle way. No more force, no more straining. No more outside-in forcing things, let things grow from the smallest nothingness inside me, inside-out, gently, slowly, without effort.

Every thought attaches itself to more thoughts and forms one layer.

Every layer attracts more layers, slowly and gently. But you realize it is happening exponentially now. Things are no longer linear, but yes, they are still slow. The world will be there before the exam and long after the exam. The world is infinite, and so am I. let my infinite nothingness create a ‘something’ out of itself. I am no longer the creator of my education, ‘nothingness’ is.

Let me surrender control of my education and mind to the infinite wisdom within me.

Let the infinite wisdom inside me guide my hand, my pen, my book, my memory. Let it educate me, for I can never educate my mind, only the universe can.

I begin, at the lowest of the lowest nothingness. But then, I realize, I can never ‘begin’ in a sense, for to begin, there has to be initially nothing (zero). But the universe doesn’t actually have a zero state. Even its zero state has a further zero state within it.

So, I realize, I can never actually begin studying, I have already started. Long, long ago. My actions have been merely too small for my Self (ego/ Atman/ Jesus nature) to notice.

I realize that I can only ever continue doing things, for there is nothing called start or finish. There is only continuing. There is only attraction and separation- I may do something, and then allow it to gently break away and form a new shape. My body may break away and form carbon under the earth tomorrow. My education may leave me and go to someone else. My memory is merely attraction of nothingness into something larger, and forgetting is merely separation of nothingness into more nothingness.

Let it come together. I no longer try to force my mind. I merely watch as it accomplishes what it wants to. I merely watch as my mind tries to learn, I watch to see if it succeeds or fails. I watch to see if it forgets what it has learnt and watch to see if it wants to refresh itself.

I continue to stop writing this article, for I had begun to stop many sentences ago. I continue to study for my exam, for I had already started many years ago.

…continued from before, and to be continued in the same or another form… Peace

Reflections on Change

Change is good, for without change there can be no progress,

Yet at no point should we get attached to changing.

Change because you need to move towards something,

Never because you are running away from something.

In time, you will realize you are changing towards realizing the changeless nature of your self.

When you are no longer changing, when you have achieved your deepest self,

You have true choice- for a person who changes is compelled, a person who is changeless…chooses what he needs to be for that day.

When you achieve changelessness, you choose the food you need,

And thereby no longer need to escape from food by dieting.

When you are changeless, you choose the relationships you need,

And therefore, you no longer need to run from toxic ones.

Choose your focus,

Rather than eliminating waste.

The changeless person, once having his deepest self, chooses.

A superficial person needs to add or cut away, causing him to suffer.

Change towards your deepest self,

Till you have nothing more to change into.

Desires and compulsions then become replaced by choices.

A need for satisfaction (or release) gets replaced by a need to merely express.

Life then becomes a mere light rental, instead of being a heavy burden.

A Woman’s Guide to Enlightenment

Before going ahead, this is not an article that takes a feminist point of view or argues about biological vs. moral constructs. This article is for those of us who accept and love our sexuality the way it is. Genders as we know them are different but equal. Equal does not mean same, and as men and women, we experience life differently, and those differences are what make the world beautiful. This article is one version of the truth and may not resonate with you. There are many truths out there – as always, I encourage everyone to find his/ her own truth and thereby inner peace.

Every woman has inside her a man, and every man has inside him a woman. These two parts play together to create externally what we call men and women. Meditation, self-realization and doing meaningful work are but a few ways to realize the truth of who we are. But there is no more deeply-felt experience than childbirth, which is realized differently by men and women. Parents, male and female, find meaning through their children, through an outpouring of love or by using their children to achieve their dreams, whether rightfully or wrongfully so.

Man and woman come together to find companionship, attracted by what they do not perceive within themselves. Men who have found the truth within their feminine (or anima) will cease to need women to fulfil their needs. Women who have found the truth within their masculine natures will cease to need men to fulfil their needs.

All of us are on different points of maturity in our life paths and cycles. Consequently, many men and women find attraction a natural route to finding meaning and fulfilment. As men and women come together, they make love. Man releases his sperm into Woman, where it is received by the egg and forms into a zygote.

Men who procreate thus, define themselves by their giving energy. They give away a part of themselves in the hope of creating something new. And yet, that very sperm is generated by the food he eats, which is produced by the soil, which is in turn fertilized by cattle manure, which in turn was produced by cattle eating plants that grew from the soil. Thus, man partakes of the world, to not produce something new, but to re-produce what was already existent in a new form (sperm).

Similarly, women create eggs through their food, which in turn came from the soil, which was fertilized through cattle manure, which in turn was produced by cattle eating plants that grew from the soil. Thus, woman partakes of the world to not produce something new, but re-produce, what was already existent, in a new form (egg).

Thus, sperm and egg are not part of Man or Woman, but actually the external world re-manifesting itself within Man and Woman. This external world then further interacts through sex, where the sperm fertilizes the egg and creates a zygote and thereafter a foetus. As can be seen, given that both sperm and egg do not belong to the parents, neither can the foetus. And thus, a separate manifestation of the universe is created within the womb.

Woman experiences this more personally, given her uterus is the crucible for this transformation. Her body is for a time inseparable from the foetus, and thus Woman can often mistake the foetus for being a part of herself. But while the foetus is bodily part of Woman, it eventually separates creating its own body and sustaining itself. When Woman sees this separation, she remembers only the earlier fusion of her body with the foetus, and this creates the illusion (Maya) that her child is a part of her, just as there was the illusion that her egg was part of her. When Woman’s body is created through ingesting food from the outside, and when her body’s cells die and regenerate many times across her life (including skin, bones, red cells, white cells), it follows that Woman’s body itself is also not her own, but is merely a different form of energies from the external world.

Thus, by meditating (this is not thinking, but by relaxed observation), Woman realizes her body is not hers, and never was. Her eggs were not hers and never were. And thus, her child is also not hers, and never will be. Then, one can ask, what DOES belong to Woman? In a nutshell, nothing. But then we have used the phrase, “her” body- which implies there is still an owner inside Woman- we call this the soul.

When Woman realizes thus that the only part of her existence that is stable is her soul, and that every part of her body is constantly being washed and refreshed anew, she realizes her body is merely a river (or channel) that is collecting “water” from the outside world in the form of food or sperm, which is being washed away into the “sea” in the form of skin cells, menstrual blood, and even children. Thus, Woman becomes a mere observer – she realizes stillness in the stability of her soul and quietly observes the attachment of matter to her soul (in the form of body, sperm, foetus) and detachment of matter from her soul (in the forms mentioned above).

Man, too goes through a similar process, but is more detached as he does not experience the bodily attachment and detachment of menses or children from the womb. Thus, there are a lot more articles out there advising solitude and meditation for Man, for he realizes himself through independence and detachment.

For Woman, detachment is harder to realize, given the bodily attachments created through the cycle of life. And thus, Woman realizes her truest deepest self through going deeper into her Attachments. Just as the world attaches itself to Woman, people too have historically placed expectations on Woman, in one form or the other. Women who receive easily, who wish to please and be peaceful, find it difficult to realize their true selves in the flood of such societal expectations.

But then, we see that just as the body, and children themselves are not the truest parts of Woman, external expectations and thoughts are also not part of Woman. Just as food attaches itself to Woman’s body to create matter and lets go of Woman as cells, menses and children; societal thoughts attach themselves to Woman’s mind and can easily be let go – all that Woman needs to do is to meditate and observe the external nature of these thoughts and expectations, and allow them to flow back (wash away) into the world in the form of a river.

By understanding the many parts of her outer self and its creation, Woman thus comes to realize that she is not responsible for whether she is beautiful or not (she has no control over the formation of her body- the world attributes beauty to her if it wants to). Woman comes to realize she is not responsible for whether she is competent or not (the world attaches expectations to her, whenever they want to). Woman comes to realize she is not her children (they attached themselves to her, and left her when the time was right).

The above Detachment does not remove compassion, but the realization of truth frees Woman to not take life’s events personally, and love her children for who they truly are as independent souls (and not out of biological obligation because they are part of her). Detachment frees Woman to adopt if she wishes to, for her body is no different from any child on the street (for both were created by the same Universe). If her body is no different from any child on the street, then Woman realizes that her body is no different from any child on the planet, irrespective of gender or race (for all were created by the same Universe).

Both male and female children are created within Woman’s womb, and thus male and female are both part of Woman. Thus, Woman realizes that gender is merely a form that the Universe has taken to make things easy for reproducing itself (Universe). Thus, Woman stops worrying about whether her gender is right or wrong, treated fairly or unfairly, or whether she should do something or not. Woman realizes she creates children whose potential is as yet undefined and needs to be discovered through play, exploration, teaching and compassion. Thus, she realizes her potential (due to her body linked to her children) is also undefined and is open to discovery and exploration.

Are there limits to what Woman can do? Yes. But those limits are not something that need to be defined by external factors, but are to be discovered by Woman herself. Some women may find their talents lie in education, while some other women may find learning difficult. Limits are not wrong; limits define the shape and boundaries of your body and mind. The important thing is to discover those limitations by exploring the most of yourself and trying out as many things as you can, rather than letting anyone else define them for you.

Woman realizes that however competent or incompetent she is in this world, that competence is just a form taken by the universe to attach itself to her soul. But her soul itself has neither capability nor limitation.

Thus, Woman by experiencing her deepest fears, pains, flaws, experiences and attachments, comes to realize her true self independent of her body, thoughts and mind. She comes to connect to the soul within. In realizing her soul, she comes to realize Truth and thereby Enlightenment (Moksha, Nirvana or Heaven).

Handling Trauma through Non-creation

We all go through life as a series of events. Sometimes, events hurt us, some bless us in unforeseeable ways. Some of these events stay with us forever, as ‘inflection points’, points we realize changed our life, points at which we went through great emotional upheavals- positive or negative.

When we look at such powerful positive events, we begin to realize that if that event had not occurred, we would not be the people we are today. We feel over-blessed.

When we look back at powerful negative events, we realize those events shaped our belief systems for years to come, perhaps for our entire lives.

Positive events can be the birth of a child, a marriage, divorce (from an unhappy marriage), the entrance of new friendships, the loss of bad friendships, good advice, failures that guided you to eventually make the right decision, anything.

The above very same events – the birth of an (unwanted) child, an (unhappy) marriage, divorce (from an otherwise happy marriage), the entrance of new friendships (of poor quality), the loss of (apparently) bad friendships, good advice (that was never followed), failures that guided you (too late) to eventually make the right decision, can be highly negative too.

Trauma occurs when such powerful events impact our lives. Positive trauma is when we start living in “what if it had never happened” mode and negative trauma occurs when we start living in “if we had only listened to life better” mode. Both heat and cold can cause burns. Both positive and negative events can cause trauma.

So, when does trauma occur? It never occurs during the event, but always after the event, in our recollections. It is our recollections that make an event (positive or negative) unduly special in retrospect. We make those events momentous in our interpretation. And thus, trauma is how we see our past – the events themselves have little to do with it.

How, then, do we move on? How do we heal? We move on by realizing that had those events never occurred, we would never have known they were special, and we would never have attributed undue importance to them. Our attribution of importance causes trauma. When we start treating every event in life as …” normal”, we move on, we begin living in the present.

So, are no events special? Not really. Many events are special. But our mistake is not in considering some events special, but in ignoring all of the other events that built up to that “special” event.

The car accident that left you a cripple was bound to happen, building up from your parents ignoring your poor driving skills in the name of freedom, your friends encouraging you to drink on every small occasion to ward off the dumps, your exhilaration at your first salary making you splurge it on a car, your insecurities driving your eagerness to show off your driving to your girlfriend to get her approval, your inability to take care of yourself and be selfish enough to not drink and drive….all of these threads of space and time combine into a single knot at a strategic moment of time and space – we call this knot an event. The more threads that are involved in the knot, the more powerful the event becomes.

A small event having two threads- such as you missing your school bus, and you getting a lift from your neighbour give a you a positive glow, but are not powerful enough to have an impact.

Combine multiple threads such as, you missing your school bus, your neighbour giving you a lift, your neighbour stopping to buy something at the store, your school bus continuing on and arriving at school, your janitor having forgotten to wipe the floors, an illegal cigarette falling from the bus driver’s hand on the floor, the school section catching fire due to a chemical blaze and students perishing in the terrible event, and you arriving late to be among the few who escaped – that causes trauma.

When you have failed a few exams and get a job without any major issues, it barely makes an impact.

But when you have failed a few exams, are having domestic difficulties, health issues, a tough market, a competitive friends’ circle and get a job through struggle- the multi-threaded knot formed leaves an impact. We can consider even such a positive impact as trauma- a cold burn if you will.

So how indeed do we handle trauma? We handle it by realizing that every moment in our lives is building up to something bigger; every few years, many such threads are going to get stuck in a knot; realizing that after every knot, the threads separate again to form new separate knots, new traumas, new inflection points. If you live long enough, you will suffer many scars. But our scars come from rubbing our wounds. When you pick your scabs, you leave scars behind. Allow your wounds to heal, your acne to naturally go away, and your face and your life will emerge unspoiled, unscathed.

Let there be wounds, let there be events, but assign no special importance to any of them, for there are going to be a lot more just like them, and there have already been many such events before you were even born. Your birth could have been in a moving van in the middle of a cyclone, but you are not traumatized as you were never bothered about the event, just about being born.

Focus on every event in your life equally, assign no great importance to complexity, and you will learn from life, rather than being scarred by it. Our life is mirrored in our bodies. Our body and face structure mature as we advance beyond teenage, precisely because we allow life to shape our body. Our minds will also mature when we allow life to shape it. And when we stop resisting life’s expert scalpel, when we stop wriggling on life’s work-table and stay internally still, we allow life to do its best work and sculpt us into a thing of beauty that is free of inner scars.

Thus, by creating no trauma through our resistance, misinterpretations or attaching over-significance to events, we will live life untraumatized.

Helpful Books & Reading

The following books are available either free or as paid versions online, and have been invaluable companions in my search for the truth, hidden within myself. Some of these books deal with the psychology of the self and relationships, helping you free your mind of inhibitions, while others deal with the spiritual side of our selves, building upon your open-mindedness.

From a personal subjective perspective, I find that Zen/ Buddhist books and books by Eckhart Tolle are a great starting point. Christian publications, that interpret the Bible, are somewhere in the middle, focusing more on using compassion and encouraging you to find your own path. Hinduism, Upanishads and Vedas take a deeper philosophical approach, but are not easily understood by beginners (can be misinterpreted as nonsensical or having unclear applications, unless you are fully independent-minded and ready for their lessons in the first place). Once Hinduism has been understood, circling back to Sufism, Islam, Christianity, Zen etc. helps, as the teachings of these religions assume greater depth, since your own understanding would have deepened in the process of your growth.

As always, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. The deeper your own spiritual growth, the easier it becomes to understand what you read – not the other way round. Books are mirrors- they can guide you only when you are ready for them, sometimes guiding you only when you read them a second time. May you find peace as you realize your truth.

  • The Power of Now- Eckhart Tolle
  • Stillness Speaks – Eckhart Tolle
  • Tao-te-Ching- Lao Tzu
  • Invisible Partners – John Sanford
  • He – Robert Johnson
  • She- Robert Johnson
  • We- Robert Johnson
  • The Fisher King – Robert Johnson
  • When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box – John Ortberg
  • Faith and Doubt – John Ortberg
  • Soul Keeping- John Ortberg
  • All the Ways you Go- John Ortberg
  • 121 Zen Koans (a collection of Buddhist parables)
  • Poems by Kahlil Gibran (especially those on Children and Marriage)
  • Mahabharata – Veda Vyas (suggest the Amar Chitra Katha version / unabridged version)
  • Bhagwad Gita – Veda Vyas (a part of the Mahabharata, as a separate book)
  • Tales from Upanishads – Amar Chitra Katha publications
  • Story of Nachiketa – Amar Chitra Katha publications
  • Ramayana – Valmiki (suggest the Amar Chitra Katha version/ unabridged version)
  • Lagu Yoga Vasishta – Valmiki (a part of the Ramayana, as a separate book)
  • Any good books on soul astrology, such as those by Jan Spiller

The above is not a comprehensive list, and there are many other materials out there that you may find better guide you, based on your background, family upbringing and culture. This is to help you get started on making your own private library that can help you today and in times to come.

A Conversation with my Soul – On Rebellion, Truth and Freedom

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?

M: Yes

Wanting, Choosing and Getting – The Freedom Conundrum

All of us want freedom. But when something happens to us- good or bad, we can feel out of control. When we think thoughts – good or bad, they are largely out of our control. Our desires come from seemingly nowhere – totally out of our control.

So, who are we then? At the center of us is a space, a silent space that simply watches observes and learns. Go into yourself and you can find this stillness deep inside you.

Now, we want this ‘still’ part of ourselves, the truest part of ourselves to direct our lives, for is that not true freedom? How dare life or circumstances control us? How dare God control us, or indeed tell us how to think, feel or act? We desire freedom.

But what is freedom?

Is freedom about getting whatever we want?

Perhaps we think, if we defeat all our enemies, rise above our humble family backgrounds, show our friends and peers how great we really are, then we are totally free. For only a free man / woman could ever conquer his / her circumstances.

But there are so many events we will never be able to conquer. We will never be able to become the President of Country XYZ (especially if you are born in another country from XYZ). But that barrier has been broken too, and say you become President of XYZ, then you will never be able to simultaneously lead the IMF or the Treasury or any number of institutions that control the President. It is only when you attain a position of power and leadership that you realize how helpless you actually are. You can’t force people to listen to you – you can’t fire everyone under you (for then, you won’t have any supporters left, and we have seen where that has led in the past in the case of certain leaders).

Say you accomplish all of this; you still can’t become President of the World. Even if you accomplish this, you can’t travel and be in 100 places at once – at most you will have to cool your heels in the HQ, issuing commands and doing paperwork, assuming that people live in awe of you. But you will NEVER know. Why? You can’t control people’s thoughts and the way they feel about you, even if you suppress their expression.

You can influence your circumstances, but there is always someone else above, below, or beside you with free will. You can guide the system from one position but not control every point of the system. So, you can’t conquer all your circumstances.

But then, are circumstances merely events? Not all of us are athletes or karate masters who can break down walls. Those are things you really can’t do much about. You can’t control your skin color or race or parents – those are circumstances too. How do you conquer your parents anyway? Replacing them? But if you replaced your parents, you (as you know yourself) would never have been born, and if you hadn’t been born, you would never have felt like deleting your parents and family. Circular logic.

Thus, we are barely capable of getting some of what we want. A lot of what we want goes unfulfilled. Even the richest person in the world has unfulfilled needs – he might want to just enjoy a stroll in the bazaar without getting mugged or kidnapped or photographed, which becomes impossible once people know he is rich and powerful. Getting what you want can destroy your freedom.

Is freedom wanting what you get?

Sometimes we get handed hard lessons – we are forced to go to school and study. We go to school crying and screaming, but ten years later, we are thankful for the experience. We learnt to want what we got. But does that mean if someone abuses us, beats us up, we should want it? Should we go and tell a gangster who is messing around with us to ‘give us more, for that is what I want’? Sure, if you are masochist, but in most cases, wanting what you get is good for some things, and not so good for many other things.

Is freedom following your emotions and choosing things?

Sometimes, we are frustrated and want to give up on learning something new or trying out a new way of life. Sometimes we get too caught up (obsessed) with an activity or person or thing to the exclusion of all else. A parent who is obsessed with a child can end up harming the child’s independence. A husband who is obsessed with his wife can end up driving her to madness and blocking all self-expression (and vice versa for an obsessed wife). A person who is obsessed with doing a job right gets over-attached to the extent he never grows beyond that narrow skillset. Perfection can harm spiritual growth. Choice is good when it helps us try new things, choice is good when it helps us give up things we have grown out of. But choice is not always enough – we do not know when to stop trying or indeed, when to start trying something new.

Triangulating the three forces – True freedom

Who created our choices based on our needs and emotions? Who created our circumstances? Who gets to decide what gifts we receive (talents, body, material possessions) and what we don’t?

Choice Focus: If we think that we only have control over choice, we will suffer by feeling frustrated with our limited gifts and circumstances.

Getting Focus: If we count on life giving us everything (getting), we will suffer because we will stop listening to our emotions and making any kind of choice. We will effectively die inside.

Wanting Focus: If we count on life giving us whatever we want, we may have choice and gifts but no contentment (the getting part). We keep wanting, but the joy of getting comes only when some of our wants are fulfilled. If all our wants are automatically fulfilled, we lose the focus and direction of life – we become too spread out. It is our limitations in getting what we want that give us direction, a compass and at a deeper level, fulfillment. Getting very little of what we want gives us a sense of identity, it helps us define ourselves. Our limitations both shape our lives and give us peace.

If neither wanting, getting or choosing is going to leave us fulfilled, how do we balance the three? The solution is realizing they are three sides of the same triangle:

Once you realize that your freedom has been created by you, through your choices (created by your emotions, which have also been created by you before being born), though your wants (based on your emotions, created by you before you were born) and your luck in getting things (decided before this life began), you achieve true peace. You see others and the world as part of yourself just as you see your emotions as part of yourself.

In this oneness of being, you celebrate your aloneness, for in aloneness, there is no comparison, no competition, no good or bad, just peace and contentment.

Handling my Writer’s Ego – A Deep Introspection to the Truth

Why am I writing this? Does this make me superior, because of my readers?

Are my readers therefore ‘inferior’ because they choose to read?

What gave me the power to write? My education.

What gave me good education? My parents and a supportive environment.

Does this mean I am ‘deserving’ of rewards such as education and a good family? Does this mean that others who are uneducated or don’t come from good families are undeserving, because of the very nature of their birth and early life?

If I start classifying people into ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ based on their education and fortune, do I not become a bigot of sorts? Being a bigot is hard, for it causes division of the soul.

The moment I become a bigot, I will feel happy only as long as my readers read what I write, only as long as I seek out friends who are less educated than I am. The moment I meet someone who is more educated, my ego will become extremely insecure and cause incredible pain. To hide my pain, if I am insecure and also immature, I may lash out at others and make others feel small to hide my own feeling of inferiority.

As long as I am a bigot, I am dependent on feeling superior to my inferiors; and causing pain to those I consider superior to me (to bring them down). Is this a true sign of my education?

Thus, the question should be- how do I not become a bigot? How do I not classify anyone in the world as lower or higher than me, be it on the basis of education, race, caste, creed, color? For being a bigot traps me in a pleasure – pain cycle and I don’t want to feel that pain.

How did I become a bigot? I classified people into categories.

Why did I classify? Because I asked questions about why I was educated, why I am able to write, why I am fortunate, why I have people reading what I write.

So, being happy leads to bigotry? Yes. But feeling sad with what you have also leads to bigotry? Yes – starting the other way round – from feeling inferior to trying to act superior.

So, feeling happy or feeling sad about your life and your position in society can cause suffering? Yes.

But how do I resolve this? Is it so wrong to have emotions? No – emotions are natural. It is okay to like or not like things.

If it is okay to like or not like things, how do I prevent my preferences from blooming into a bigotry and suffering? By coming out of the world itself- the world is a pool – as long as you are immersed, there will always be people floating on your left or right, above or below. Your immersion in the world causes you to know where you are. Because you know where you are, you can choose where to go – your direction. Because you choose a direction, you automatically classify people ahead of you as superior and behind you as inferior.

So, I classify because I want to move? Yes. As long as you want to move, you need to know where you are relative to others. And the moment you think about where you are, you experience emotions of liking or not liking your situation. Your emotions help you move, take action, make changes in your life.

So, if emotions are so necessary, if action is necessary (or I won’t educate myself, eat or have a job), then is bigotry / division/ pain impossible to eliminate? No, it’s not. You can eliminate it by asking a much larger question – why ARE you in the swimming pool of the world? Who put you there?

Who put me here? God? If you start thinking it is God, you will start fearing God, and start praying to him/ her for blessings and salvation. Prayer cannot be driven by fear, for fear itself is suffering.

So, if the truth is something that will not make me fear, what is the truth? You put yourself here. You created yourself, you created the world. You created the people around you. You chose your strengths; you also chose your weaknesses. You chose how rich you want to be, and how much a failure you are. After creating the world, you had to place yourself somewhere. The moment you placed yourself anywhere in the world, even if at the top, you created division and suffering.

So, do you mean I created suffering? Yes.

Am I mad to create my own suffering? Not really. You created suffering accidentally because after creating the world, you forgot that you yourself had created it. Realize this and you will neither fear nor over-idolize anyone. You will realize that everything in the world is equal. The thing that made things unequal is your own presence. By entering the world, you classified people based on the kind of life you manifested.

So, there are two things I created? Yes. The world and your life. The container and the contents.

Why would I choose to forget I created my own world? You can’t remember everything in the limited mind of the human form you have taken. The world can’t be contained in a single human mind, but you can be contained in the world. It is like going to sleep- you pull the blanket up and go to sleep and forget that you are sleeping, until you wake up and find a blanket on top of you.

Why would I do something this silly? Perhaps it is a game. Or as the Hindu scriptures call it, a Leela (game or play).

Why would I want to play such a game by putting myself into a world and forgetting that I created it, and on top of that creating unnecessary suffering for myself? Perhaps you were bored. Perhaps this was the only way you knew how to grow further. Perhaps you are sleeping and when you die, you will realize this entire life was just a dream.

If I am dreaming, where am I sleeping? I surely can’t be sleeping in this world- the real world always exists outside the dream. Yes. You will know the real world only when you wake up, or perhaps when you die.

So, if I commit suicide, will I end this dream? Maybe. Maybe not. If you created this world, you won’t wake up until you are ready. Trust your reasons for creating this world – you can’t remember why you created this world but trust you had a reason.

How can I trust myself when I don’t even know who I am? Well, trust is a bad word I guess, a better word would be faith. Have faith in the reasons behind you creating this world, behind you creating your parents, behind you creating your wife/ husband, behind you creating your friends, behind you creating your college, behind you creating your enemies – yes, you created them all.

So, I should have faith in myself? Yes, faith is trusting in the absence of evidence.

This is blind and stupid – I want evidence before I have faith! That is of course your choice. You see, faith is not a mandate by some fancy religion (by the way you created all of the religions of the world – you created Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism etc.). Faith is a choice – you can choose to have faith or you are perfectly at liberty not to have faith.

What will happen if I do not have faith? Absolutely nothing. You will simply continue suffering because you refuse to see the truth. But apart from that, there is no great damage that is going to happen. Rebel all you want – the world you created is free, you see, you created the concept of freedom too. You created enslavement, you created evil and you also created ethics and morality. You are free to pursue any path and of course face the consequences.

You mean, I am free to rob someone? Sure, if you are okay going to jail – you yourself created the rules of this world before you entered it.

How do you know I created this world? Because the only part of the world you can experience is what you see, hear, smell, feel and touch, not to forget what you experience through your sixth sense/ gut feel. You can only see the world when you are awake, conscious, not sleeping. This blog is being created because you can type, which in turn is because you can see. Close your eyes and the blog will cease to exist, except in your memory.

So, everything exists only when I am seeing, or hearing it? Essentially yes, they exist in your present. But they move into your past the moment you close your eyes. Close your eyes and this blog will become your past, by a few minutes. But the words you are typing now are your present and your present exists.

So, being in the present is proof of me creating the world? In a very twisted way yes.

Will I continue to suffer? If you want to, yes. Suffering is not bad, you know – classifying suffering as bad is also a form of discrimination. Classifying suffering as suffering only creates suffering again due to you dividing/ classifying things again.

So how do I find peace? By remembering you are the creator, whenever you want to.

Why alcohol and drugs hold back spiritual growth?

We have heard of one or more faiths or religions banning alcohol or drugs or smoking in one way or the other. Of course, there are many of us who contravene these guidelines, as we do not adhere rigidly to any specific rules that are thrust upon us. That is perfectly normal – spirituality without ‘modern thinking’ cannot be true spirituality.

And there we arrive at the crux – do we drink and do drugs because they are modern pleasures? Sure. Do they actually help solve our problems in any way? Not really.

Drugs (alcohol, nicotine, heroin, cocaine, etc.) are merely the carpet under which you sweep your dirt. True spirituality is about cleaning your ‘room’ so that you live a clean life inside. By clean, I do not mean blessing every animal and creature on the street- cleanliness simply means being honest with yourself and living your truest purpose.

To realize your truest feelings, to analyze your deepest self, you need to introspect. You need to fight your egoistic impulses – I say ‘fight’, but what actually happens is that you realize you have egoistic impulses and CHOOSE not to follow them. Choosing NOT to listen to your mind’s endless attachments, that destroy your freedom, requires energy.

Why do you require energy to fight your mind’s impulses? Let me give you a simple example – imagine you are driving when you are drunk or ‘high’. You are driving at high, or even a moderate speed. A car comes suddenly towards you in the middle of the road. Had you not been drunk; your instincts would have taken over and slammed on the brakes. But, being high (or down based on your choice of drugs), you react either way too fast or way too slow. Now, let’s zoom into that scene –

  • You see the car coming towards you
  • Your body doesn’t react, your mind seems sluggish or over excited
  • Another part of you takes over trying to either speed you up (if you are feeling down), or calm you down (if you are feeling too high)
  • This ‘other part’ literally struggles to get you to act at the right speed, at the right time. This new part of you uses extensive amounts of energy trying to overcome your drugged state and take charge.
  • You finally manage the situation (with blood pounding in your ears with adrenalin), but find yourself sinking back into your previous ‘dissociated’ state

So, now we have two parts of ourselves – one part, the ‘egoistic pleasure-seeking side’ that likes to drink or do drugs. Another part that actually takes the decisions in times of crisis, which is independent of your drugs. Drugs prevent your ‘decision making’ side from acting properly which makes your ‘decision making’ side to use extensive amounts of physical energy (adrenalin) to gain control, leaving you exhausted.

Now, a spiritual path requires you to analyze your ego and confront your deepest fears, your darkest insecurities and accept all of them as part of yourself. You are seeking long-term lasting happiness as compared to a temporary high – that is the essence of spirituality. Before starting your spiritual journey, you are essentially divided, seeing the world and your fears as separate. This is the reason people do drugs, to keep out the darkest parts of themselves because they are afraid of them.

Spirituality is about integrating all of your different parts into a single whole – the good, bad and ugly and accepting them all as part of your soul’s or God’s creation. Integrating your darkest parts doesn’t mean you will become a murderer overnight – it means you realize you CAN be a murderer, but you DON’T want to. All of us are capable of lashing out in fear or anger, and hurting others – and sometimes, we do it because we lose control. Spirituality is about integrating your anger into yourself, so that you can CHOOSE whether to be angry or not. Spiritual consciousness gives you an internal choice, unconsciousness leaves you at the mercy of random external events. Thus, spirituality is true freedom, and with true freedom to ‘not choose’ anger, you achieve compassion. And thus, spirituality, freedom and compassion go together.

Do you become a saint? Not really, you merely become a very ordinary practical man/ woman in control of your senses, body and mind. Spirituality is about discovering extraordinary things about yourself so that you can live a completely free and possibly, very ordinary life, but based on your values, not others’. Spirituality is the extreme version of ‘live and let live’.

All of this takes mental energy, as your soul goes against your mind’s natural ego (which likes to divide things into good and bad, superior and inferior). This ‘spiritual integration’ energy has to come from somewhere, and your soul draws this energy from your body (hormones, adrenaline etc.), making your spiritual journey physically exhausting.

When you are already using up all this energy, and you start drinking or doing drugs, it blocks your soul’s access to your mind. Your soul tries to see into your mind, and apply the accelerator or brakes on your mind, and realizes all the brake (and hydraulic) fluid has been replaced with crap- the accelerator and brake signals simply stop going to your mind.

If you haven’t realized already, the car is your body (with engine and wheels), your soul is the driver, and hydraulics and transmission are your mind. Drinking is effectively equivalent to you freezing your brake and accelerator hydraulic fluids and wondering why your car is not going in the right direction. You may even feel yourself pressing the pedals, the pedals no longer seem to be flexible- they seem clogged.

Is the car still moving? Sure. It has fuel and hydraulic fluids, and the engine is running. But what you don’t realize is that the fuel is being used by the car to plan its own random route (straight into an accident), not by you as the driver to control the route.

So, we have to decide. What kind of fuel and fluids do you want to intake (aka food)? How does the food make you feel? Does your food make you feel intoxicated and detached from your thoughts, or more in control, in touch with your thoughts? The thing is, the more you ingest food and drink that intoxicates, your body becomes addicted and weaker. When you need energy for a new stage of spiritual transformation, you will find yourself too exhausted to continue. Your body is not the same as your soul, but it is an essential physical vehicle that we all need in our pursuit of the truth.

In trying to become a better driver, don’t damage or destroy your vehicle – you don’t get a replacement, at least not in this life. Eat well, in moderation, not so you can achieve a supreme goal, but so you can go as far as you can in your journey with the body you have been given, before your body inevitably breaks down in old age. Your body has a limited time before old age overtakes it (with problems of poor functioning and low energy). Use it well when you are young, in the right ways, for the right reasons. That way, when you are older and have lower energy, you will no longer need your body’s energy that much – you will have completed the most difficult parts of your spiritual journey, and will be ready to move on to the next phase post physical death.

Suffering vs. Consciousness – Which came first?

Imagine the following:

Scenario 1: You are starting out on a road. It is a straight road and there are no obstacles ahead of you. You go straight ahead and reach your goal, or destination. There are no twists or turns in the road, in fact, you can’t see anything except mountains on either side. This road is a straight path between you and your destination. You travel this road at top speed.

Scenario 2: Now, imagine you are in a desert. You are a nomad walking the sands. You need to reach your destination and you plot a path through the desert. Sometimes, you find large sand dunes blocking your path, and you walk around them. Sometimes, you find hills and oases blocking your way- you walk around them. You are following a new road, that you yourself have made in the desert. The desert has no path by itself, and yet you carved a path for yourself to make your journey convenient. Your path is not a straight one, but takes you to your destination.

Scenario 3: You are walking in a long corridor that twists and turns (like in a videogame). The only rule is that you need to walk through all the open doors in front of you. Only one door is open at the end of each turn of the corridor and you walk through those open doors. You pass by many closed doors, and as instructed you ignore them, choosing only the open ones ahead of you. You reach your destination.

Scenario 4: You walk the same corridor through the building and this time, you have been given a list of doors that you need to open. The doors are not automatically open this time, but need to be opened. You are okay, because there is only one door at the end of each corridor and it is easy for you to just walk a few feet and open doors one after the other. You reach your destination.

Scenario 5: You walk the same corridor through the building, from your starting point. This time too, you have been given a list of doors you need to open, but with a difference. Your map has door numbers on it and clearly outlines which door numbers you need to open. You are fine with this – you walk down corridor 1, and there is only one door marked Door 22 (door numbers are random for some reason); then you walk down corridor 2 and there is only one door marked Door 56, and you open that; and so on and so forth. You follow all the doors blindly (there is only one route available), not bothering to check if the map door numbers match your doors (they do), and you reach your destination.

Scenario 6: You walk the same corridor through the building, from your starting point. This time too, you have been given a list of doors you need to open, with a map comprising door numbers on it. There is one small difference – as you walk down each corridor, you find new doors that have been added. You know as per your map (as in Scenario 5) you need to open Door 22 (which was the only door last time), but this time you find your path down corridor 1 having 21 extra doors from Door 1 to Door 21. You open Door 22 as per the map and exit to corridor 2, where you find Door numbers 51-59. But your map says open Door 56 (just like last time) and you do that, and you reach your destination.

Scenario 7: You walk the same corridor through the building, from your starting point. The map is exactly the same, the corridor is exactly the same as in Scenario 6 and all you need to do is open Door 22 and Door 56. But this time, you wonder what is behind all the other doors. Do they lead to an easier path? A better life? What if your map is wrong?

Scenario 8: You walk the same corridor through the building, from your starting point. You are filled with worries from Scenario 7 about all the other doors you are missing to open. You try opening a door and you find another corridor and more doors, making you even more confused – maybe this IS a great path that you are missing out on? You stop looking at your map and you try to ‘decide’ which door to follow – your previous Door 22 + 56 or New Door 15.

Scenario 9: You walk the same corridor through the building, from your starting point. You are filled with worries from Scenario 8 about ‘making a decision’ about which doors to open. The map has been long forgotten, but is safe deep in your pocket. You walk straight ahead and open Door 15 this time, then you walk straight ahead and find a dead end, you walk back and try Door 17, and this leads you to Door 25 which leads you to another Door 43 which leads you to another Door 62 which leads you to your destination. You started out by taking a straight path, but ended up on an unnecessarily long journey.

You begin wondering, “Why does the map keep advising Door 22 + 56 as the shortest route? How does the map know? More importantly, why do I even need a map? Why are there so many doors if they are not supposed to be used? Why are there so many corridors if they are not supposed to be used? Why does the map exist? Who drew this map?” This is consciousness.

And then you wonder further…” Why can’t I just follow any door and follow any path as long as I reach my destination anyway? Why should I be subservient to a silly map, even if it gives me the answer? When I am clearly able to think about what doors to choose, why should I not choose which door to follow?” This is the beginning of our need for ‘freedom’.

And then you wonder, “I hate this silly map, which tells me there is only one way to do things. I will decide for myself which doors to follow. In fact, the door that I follow is bound to be the right one. I have seen other people walking past me, following the map. Many others have walked past me, and opened doors different from mine (not following the map). It is clear that my way of opening doors works and all others are just wasting their time, irrespective of whether they are following the map or not”. This is the birth of our Ego.

And then you wonder, after going through many, many doors and finally reaching your destination tired and hungry – “Why do I have to make all these decisions? Why am I forced to choose doors? Why am I forced to face dead ends and walls that block my every path? Surely there has to be an easier way?” This is called the loss of consciousness and the beginning of suffering.

And then you wonder, “I need to find an easier way to manage these corridors (somehow I find myself at the starting point after reaching my destination each time). I need to stop for a bit and just…stop randomly opening doors. Perhaps there is a way for me to decide what is the best door to open.” And suddenly, something comes back to you – a distant memory asking you to go through Door 22. You ignore this, and go through a complicated path again to reach your destination. To help you mute this ‘voice’ asking you to open Door 22, you turn to drugs and alcohol. You get lost part of the way, but stumble with difficulty to your destination.

You are back at the starting point. This time, your mental and spiritual agony is too much to bear. You are fed up of exploring doors and you just want to get it over with. You kill yourself at the starting point, but you end up reborn exactly where you were, at the starting point. Death doesn’t seem to be a solution.

You find yourself back at the starting point. This time, you choose to listen to your inner ‘voice’ that guides you through ancient memories to Door 22. As you pass through each of the other doors…Doors 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…, you feel regret, sadness, and fear. You fear following a strange voice that keeps guiding you away from all these doors when so many others are going through them. You feel isolated and alone, for no one else seems to understand why you are ignoring all these other doors, without any ‘reason’. You are unable to explain, except by saying you are following your own path. This voice is called the voice of the soul, or sometimes ‘the call of God’. You follow this voice and you question it all the way, “Why are you asking me to open Door 22? Why do you want me to open Door 56? Why are these doors working? This doesn’t make sense at all.” This is called questioning and getting angry with God.

You find yourself back at the starting line. Your frustration has reached new peaks. You just want to get the journey done with. You blindly follow the voice, even when others laugh at you, and sometimes attack you. This is called “spiritual surrender”.

That ends the story. To summarize it all in another way:

  • All of us start out by following a map (pure and innocent)
  • At some point, we decide to ignore the map (known as losing our innocence, spiritual teenage, falling into Sin, eating the apple, birth of the ego etc.)
  • We keep go through a period of questioning everything – the map, our path, our purpose (birth of consciousness, need for freedom)
  • We reach a state of extreme tiredness and frustration, and want our repeating journey to be simple (we call this reincarnation and associated suffering. The learning from one journey transfers to the beginning of the next journey – we call this Karma)
  • We exhaust all our physical energy and decide to follow our soul’s guidance, our deepest instincts (we call this surrendering to God)
  • Our path ceases to restart after our ‘surrendered’ journey (we call this freedom from the cycle of birth and death)
  • We finally find peace (we call this Enlightenment, Mukti, Nirvana or Heaven)