By Prema Sankar
All of us have our issues or disagreements with certain people or situations, which we address as our “problems”. How much so ever we try to run away from these “problems”, they eventually hit us and hit us hard depending on how far we have tried to run away from them.Earlier I used to feel sad and dejected when confronted by these issues, and get angry with myself, with God, my surroundings and everything; but now I realise that they come up so strongly, as perhaps it is really time for me to outgrow them. They come up in my face for me to emerge strongly out of them.
As a beginner on this path, it is really difficult to stay in tune with my inner self or soul when I get immersed in my so-called situation (I am consciously avoiding the use of the word “problem”). When I am in it, my ego, my vital and all those parts of my outer nature which I am trying to let go/transform, so as to become more and more aligned with my inner nature, come back strongly. I feel this happens due to past conditioning and habit. The old self, because of familiarity, is one’s comfort zone, while the new self which one is in the process of building, is still in the making and taking its form.
When confronted with a difficulty, to step back or detach oneself from the situation is a common advise given by almost all masters and guides. But how does one do it? What helps to step back or detach? In this article I have tried to compile a few points which have helped me in my practice of dealing with my outer nature.
- Acceptance: A complete acceptance of the situation, without denial, without blaming myself or others or the situation itself. It is of course difficult as the mind comes up with lot of judgements, blame game and justifications. Putting all this aside and trying to see things as they are. I also pray for strength and courage to accept the situation. When things came up, I realised I was not reacting, and I was not getting influenced by emotions. I could simply state what was happening. This, for me, was a huge measure as to how much I was able to accept things. Definitely, there is still a long way to go to get completely detached at all times. Just to be able to see the (earlier troubling) situation as an outside occurrence, and the difference in the way I was handling things before and the manner in which I am handling them now seemed a fairly good measure of my personal growth.
- Gratitude: Seeing the blessing in the situation and being grateful for it. We do not realise that it is our difficulty that makes us stronger and if we are conscious if it, the same thing helps us to progress on the path. So while being immersed in living the situation, I was also counting all the good things that were happening alongside. I noticed I could identify more and more things I felt grateful for once I started this exercise.
- Calmness and Peace: Trying to avoid worrying or thinking too much about the situation, which would lead to a whirlpool of emotions. Also, not falling prey to a fear attack, saying ‘no’ to negative thoughts etc. Instead, trying to stay calm and peaceful. If I felt that my mind was taking over, then diverting attention (from the disturbing thoughts) by enjoying beauty – of a flower, a butterfly, clouds, beauty of nature etc. These came handy in helping me get in touch with my inner self. Music, meditation etc. of course help, and sometimes just a few deep breaths help in putting me in a good space.
- Just let it be: I felt it was best to let things be for a while rather than provoke the issue or give a reaction to it or to people (who I may have felt responsible for my being in that situation). Being neutral (I would like to use the word ‘equanimous’, but I am not yet there) towards people who I do not prefer. If they were my loved ones with whom I was having trouble, then it was relatively easier to let things be as I could focus on their good side and recollect all the good things they had done and were still doing for me. Incidentally, I came across a quote today:“To heal a wound you need to stop touching it”, and it is up to us to apply medicine or herbs for its speedy recovery or let the body heal it in time.
- Stay or move forward, never backward: As part of the detachment exercise, I had overcome a particular feeling with huge difficulty and on that day I was really proud of myself. I had help, yet I had managed to deal with something which I had thought I could not handle. A few days later once again the same feeling started taking over me and I confessed this to my brother who reminded me, “Hey! you had gotten over it, now don’t go back.” When he said that it really hit me, that I must not walk back those few steps which I had already traversed. It is easier to go back as we are familiar with that space, but it is important to not go back as I would have really put myself right into the situation again and all the work done over days would have got undone in a moment.
- Faith, Goodness and Hope: “Think Positive” is one statement believers, non-believers, psychologists, laymen and each one of us is so familiar with. This is such a strong statement. Inspite of seeing no solution, or rather, not having enough courage to resolve my situation, yet I had immense hope and faith that I will get out of it in no time. This has really helped me to stay positive, not to react to things and continue to stay in a good space. From where I was feeling my situation was a big elephant in the room, now with time and also stepping back, I feel that the elephant has shrunk and it is only a matter of time before it gets fully cleared.
- Forgiveness: Forgiving oneself is the key to stepping back and also to come to a resolution. I was going through a lot of self-blame, guilt etc. Realising that this is totally unwanted and unnecessary was a huge blessing. All these lower forms of energy really put us in a bad space, energetically speaking, it is lowest of low energy vibrations. Thus forgiving oneself, others, and the situation is important to help us detach from the situation. Forgiveness does not mean that what someone or a situation has done to us is alright, but it is merely accepting, not holding a grudge, hatred, waiting to pay back etc. (Hawaiian healing process called ho’oponopono is really a handy way to help us get through a situation, if we are having a hard time forgiving someone.)
- Clarity: I believe having clarity in my own head is the way forward from stepping back to getting into action. I have realized that unclear and vague ideas make matters worse. So with faith in my heart, I am waiting for clarity to dawn on me so that I can outgrow something which is probably a pattern, that has to be resolved over lifetimes. “Ask and you shall receive” supposedly Jesus said this. Also, whenever I have asked with clarity the universe has gifted it to me with no effort of my own. Meditation has always provided me with answers, so I am relying on it to help me get to the next step.
With gratitude to the situation for all the lessons I am learning, gratitude to the people involved in different ways, and gratitude to the Higher Self and to myself, I end my musings here… with a hope that all of us are successfully able to leave a situation when required and resolve/recover the same situation when it is meant to be.