After reading the last essay some of you may be wondering: “Is life really simple? If it is so, why do we have so much commotion and perturbations in life? Don’t we see that upheaval every where and with every one?” Trust me, you are not alone. We are all in the same boat! Let us take a few questions along these lines and look at each in some detail.
First of all let us clarify “who we are?” Each of us is part and parcel of the universe. Do you see it that way? If not, then take the time to reflect and come to terms with it. All of us are created with materials on earth and return back to the same at the end! We are governed by the laws of nature, which merely exist (in us, inside of us, outside, everywhere). This is true for the rock, plants, animals and the human species. But as a human – thinking, rational, analyzing species – one needs to be at comfort with the basic truth of who we are! This single thought – that I and the universe are one and the same (Thath Thwam Asi) – alone is sufficient to make all our lives far simpler than they seem to be.
“Am I just another object of nature? Am I not special?”
We are indeed special as long as we exercise the “special” quality (i.e.) our ability to think, analyze and thus make choices on what we want to do! Each moment one exercises this special quality, the person shines like a star in the galaxy of life. When one lives in this manner, life is indeed simple. When we don’t exercise our special qualities, in all those times life seems complicated and chaotic.
“Descartes said ‘I think, therefore I am’.
Indeed I am thinking and isn’t that why I have all the problems?” Not really.
You can exercise your mind – an object of nature – to do what it naturally does (i.e.) think. This does not automatically imply that you are using your special qualities as a human being! Are your thoughts on random items or are they focused on the connectors? Are you aware of the connectors (Knowledge (of the laws of nature pertinent to the situation), Bias (Partial knowledge as a result of our attachments and preferences) and Ignorance (absence of Knowledge)) at work at that moment? When you are unable to make your choices, do you place your full faith in the larger order of the universe and then proceed forward with the choice that appears most appropriate. In all your thinking you have only one process and one goal for all your thinking – comprehend and understand the connectors at work!
We are the product of our “experiences” as long as they occur by chance, on their own and arbitrarily. In this life of experiences we are twisted and torn, merely because our special quality wants to know the “Why?” But, if we start with “Why?” and its understanding through the connectors, then we are indeed involved in all those events and activities but the perturbations or upheaval are minimized. Then we are the rider and the events are our horses. Otherwise the horses go for a ride on our back!
“All right, I give up, but I can only admit this much: life can be simple when ever my mind is focused on the connectors at play and their roles. But, isn’t that too much of a strain? Does it not make life difficult”?
That depends on your evolution in your journey of life. You were a little baby once. You could hardly crawl, even though you wished that you could walk. Now you can run, jump, swim, hop, skip and anything you like to do. Certainly the little baby next to you now must be wondering with awe on all your skills and talents. Haven’t you seen the two-year old chasing the five-year old, wanting to do everything that the older child does? What do you tell the two-year old: “Slow down, be careful, eat the spinach and get strong! You can run like your elder brother very soon!” Now repeat the same for yourself as you work on your skills to study the connectors and their role, as a normal aspect of living!
“But we are not all the same. I come from the East, some one from West. We are not from the same generation. Does it not make life complicated?”
There are habits that have evolved over time in our own life. Some habits may have evolved in our family through the generations. Life in the urban area is generally rushed, trying to fit more things in a day than one can handle, like filling twenty pounds of potatoes in a ten pound bag! Life in a rural area or country side, is generally more relaxed, but they may not be as rich – financially – or affluent. Then there are qualities that have evolved for a society as a whole. We are amazed at the order and composure of the Japanese, despite the recent triple disasters of earth quake, tsunami and the nuclear plant crisis! The whole world is amazed at the Japanese society for their “Gambaro” spirit. “Gambare” — go for it, go for it, be positive, be positive“. http://www.npr.org/2011/03/25/134821398/grief-stricken-japanese-reluctant-to-open-up
All these variations are the facts. But, awareness of these details of our personal background, how they are impacted by our family, its tradition, our place of living and the cultural aspects of our society at large are all merely parts of the evidences. We need to use them in our analysis of the connectors and their role. As one takes the time to expand and explore such larger range of inputs, life indeed becomes simpler – since there is an increasing clarity of who we are – I am consciousness – and who we are not – I am the product of my experiences!
The “Family Tree” of a person has its roots extending through the ancestors. Its branches extend through the future generations. Such a family tree is nourished by certain long-term tendencies, traits, attitudes and value systems. Its buds are experiences gained through daily activities. . B.G. 15.2.
It is possible to attain total separation from all such long and short-term traits of the family tree. This happens through self-control when we observe all experiences as influenced by the connectors, without exception. Having cast aside the firm rooted inter-relationships – the view that “I am the product of my experiences” – with the strong axe of non-attachment (through reflection, analysis and reasoning) it is conceivable to live a life as an observer of the connectors and their roles. Whenever one reaches such a state of mind, for those moments there is no return to the life of constant stress and upheaval. B.G. 15.3,4.
Having thus separated from long-term traits (such as pride, prejudices, etc.) and short-term feelings (such as pleasure/pain, etc.), constantly dwelling in the permanence of reflection on the laws of nature at play, one reaches the goal: unification with the change-less state of existence . B.G. 15.5.
Such an enlightened person with a conscious and total control over the instruments of body, mind and intellect, participates actively in the use of all these instruments and fully enjoys the life of tranquility and contentment B.G. 15.9.
Life may not be simple. But, we know a pathway to get there. Now, we need a willingness to give it a try!