The Beginner’s Guide

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You are presumably here because you have questions. Many unanswered questions. Some questions you may have no answers to, some of the time you may have answers but you do not know which questions they answer. Your mind is filled with blanks and spaces, gaps and voids. You are functioning on a physical level, interacting with your friends, peers, family and the outer world quite ‘reasonably’ well…and yet, something deep inside you keeps nagging at you, whispering that you are missing something essential, something very important.

You perhaps have gotten the feeling more than once that your life is ‘fake’. You hide behind terms like anxiety disorder or imposter syndrome, or just “get moving on with life”; and yet you know that these are just terms that society uses to patch up a deeper truth – heck, you feel like you are Neo living inside the Matrix and waiting for Morpheus.

The fundamental question that society discourages you from asking is this : Why do you do what you do?

Society wants to you to go to school and college and study: Why?

Society wants to you to marry and have kids: Why?

Society wants to you feel happy when others get married or when it’s a festival (Diwali, Christmas, Ramzan): Why?

Society has decided that you should be unhappy at funerals – you were literally ‘taught’ to be unhappy at funerals by your family. Why?

Why has society and the larger world come to decide your emotions? Why is everyone else deciding when you should be happy or sad? Why is everyone else deciding that you should prioritize work or family, based on how everyone else feels at that moment? If everyone else has decided how you should think, feel, see, hear or taste; if everyone else has decided how you should react – then what is left inside you?

You are no longer satisfied with the answers that society gives you. You want more, you want deeper answers. You have higher standards, you want to uncover things below the surface- explore the deepest of your subconscious. You want greater freedom. You want you to dictate not just your choices, but your thoughts, emotions and reactions as well. You want you to be driving your life, not others. You are no longer happy being a passenger in a mindless society, being swept along in a pointless tide. And so you ask:

Who. Are. You?

Who gave everyone else the power to make your decisions, to decide your emotions and indeed your every action or reaction?

If everyone controls you, then who should you control? People older than you, the same age as you, or those younger than you? Should you spend time looking for your inferiors to control, since your superiors control you? Who decided they were superior and you inferior? How do you get to decide who is inferior to you so you can control them?

If you end up controlling others who are inferior to you, aren’t you repeating this vicious cycle? Aren’t you creating suffering in others just because you yourself are suffering? Isn’t breaking this cycle the only way to stop you from torturing others? Accepting suffering meted out to you only transmits this suffering downwards.

And indeed, what is suffering – this word that suddenly came to my mind? Is suffering death, or is it living an emotionally confused life? Society says you should hide beneath a rock and deny your emotions – don’t focus too much on it, they say and you will be happy. And yet, an emptiness grows within you – the emptiness of all your unanswered questions. It grows and grows, never ceasing, never imploding, never exploding; but taking over your life like a silent watcher. It says nothing, but simply asks that you acknowledge it. And yet, if you acknowledge this emptiness, this silent emptiness within you and speak of it, people call you crazy.

You wonder – is it crazier to ignore something real inside me, or crazier to acknowledge it? What is real? What is important? Which is false – the inner or the outer world?

And thus you ask the question – what is the truth? You don’t know what truth means – is it the truth about your emotions? The truth about your body? The truth about relationships? The truth about your suffering? The truth about this emptiness within you?

And thus, you decide- even if you don’t know what truth is, it is okay. All you know is that ‘truth’, whatever it is, will reduce your pain? Is what you feel ‘pain’? Surely, you feel nothing physically. You are not depressed or lethargic, but sure, sometimes you are. Life has its ups and downs – that’s pretty normal.

Why is asking questions so wrong?

Why is finding the truth so feared by society?

Why do people prefer living a life of untruth? Maybe not false, but what people live around you is definitely not the truth.

You know this much- finding the truth may make you die, but not finding the truth is causing you to die anyway, somewhere deep down…the more you ignore this emptiness, the more you cease asking questions, the more something dies inside you. You begin to feel numb. But …asking these questions makes you feel…alive. You sense that truth can make you feel alive again, more alive than the shallow lives you see being led around you.

It is better to die in your attempt to find this truth, than die a pointless death because you are too afraid to answer the door inside your soul. Your soul is knocking on your door. It is time to let it in. You realize that facing the truth requires courage – courage because you have no idea what the truth entails. Will truth make you a prisoner? Will truth make you mad? Will truth make you rich? You no longer care…all you know is it is better to die knowing truth as a friend, than by making friends with the shallow life that society propagates so fervently.

You know this…truth can alleviate your emptiness – you can feel it lifting the closer you go to the door. You wonder, as your body begins to shake, is this you jumping off a cliff? But then, you realize that for society, the truth is equivalent to jumping off a cliff. For you, the man or woman of courage, it simply means opening the door, letting your soul in and allowing it to guide you in its infinite wisdom.

Truth is wisdom. And yet truth means no more suffering. Ah yes, that was the word…you weren’t feeling pain, but you were…suffering.

You choose peace and happiness. But if you choose happiness, society has ideas of its own on how you should be happy. So you choose a newer path – you choose non-suffering. You choose to ask questions. You choose to make friends with your emptiness, you choose to listen to your soul.

You awaken to a life within you. You now have an inner and outer life. Not just imagination, but an inner constant unchanging truth. You still don’t know what it is, but you know this – once you discover the truth, you shall feel…free.

Is this truth some great magical secret that will help you convert iron to gold? Hardly. It is just deepening your understanding of yoruself and the world. It is no different from physicists studying nature. Galileo was criticized for speaking the truth a long time ago – yet finding the truth set him free, even if he had to lie to save his physical body from being attacked. You are no different. You are on the quest of finding something that people haven’t discovered yet.

But if you are on this quest, there must be others too. Why haven’t they spoken out?

They have. The ones that spoke out became the society that controls you. The ones that didn’t speak out became guides who are helping you as you read this. With great truth comes great wisdom. And the foremost wisdom you attain is this – everyone has his/ her own truth. By forcing another to follow your truth, you do great harm and create suffering.

And thus your quest is a lone one. It will be filled with silence, privacy and sometimes, fear. But once you reach your journey’s end, you rest. For if you do not rest, you will create suffering in the lives of others. Having suffered yourself, you let others find their own way, to their own truth. You give others space, and sometimes guidance. You give others a compass and a map, but ask them to choose their own route. For if you choose others’ routes for them, you once again create suffering.

Thus, your life now develops a purpose, one above all other – finding the truth, resting once you find it, and helping others find their own truth, and allowing them to rest too. As all of us flow as rivers do, to the sea of peace, the world experiences peace, the world rests and helps other worlds find their way to peace too. And thus the universe finds the truth within itself across planets. stars, galaxies and worm holes. And the universe rests. Until a new universe is born, when the cycle continues.

Now ask yourself this again…do you understand why you are here?