SIMPLY BEING

Tag: knowthyself (page 1 of 1)

All me, All You

Every once in a while, I get the feeling that I may be a bit of a misfit, as far as being a woman is concerned.

For one, I don’t have a strong connection with my physical body. Not that I have a problematic relationship with it; au contraire, I share a warm, friendly bond with my body. But it has never been a defining aspect of my identity, neither has it taken up much space in my mind/life. Then there is the total lack of interest in female rituals and kinships and sisterhoods. Add to the fact that I have always seen myself as “girl,” not “woman…” you get my drift?

I have been long following the work and writing of women who talk of reclaiming the body and its fullness, women who talk about their manifest experience as being inextricably tied to their femininity/femaleness, women who are owning more and more of their physical space with their female bodies and feeling pride and joy in all that that endeavor entails.

I wear my female identity v-e-r-y l-o-o-s-e-l-y, and I have (kinda) strived to make it a “tighter” experience. It’s rather funny, honestly… and my husband has guffawed plenty at my half-hearted attempts to “be more female.” I suppose there is a part of me that envies the wholeness of these women (or the conviction of their projections, maybe?) because I have NEVER been this convinced about anything, least of all my gender identity. And you know, all that passion is powerful and compelling. I imagine it must be awesome to feel such passionate, clear knowing course through your veins and vessels and channels.

That has never been my experience, no matter how hard I have tried to understand and/or imagine it.

Ahh, well.

And then I had a teeny tiny glimmer of insight last week.

All that I have read and heard from these women is contextualized entirely by who they are. Meaning, there is nothing objective about any of it. It’s fully held and circumscribed within the boundaries of their ego identities. Small wonder that it means nothing to me! Because that experience is wholly their own… For me to expect that I must “strive” to gain a similar realization or experience is so foolish! One cannot work towards gaining these experiences. My identity is entirely separate, and it has conjured its unique set of experiences. Yes, there may be a few (or more) similarities or there may be none. But there is very little I can do about lack of resonance.

Phew, such a relief.

What this means is, I do not need to try and understand their experiences, much less recreate or imagine it for myself. I can simply regard them as personal stories.

Because if there isn’t a trace of those ideas in me, I couldn’t have had them experiences anyway.

Outer Vyavahaar

Several years ago, I was on a teacher training course. As it happens on these programs, you spend a great deal of time engaged in meditative practices, Hatha yoga, contemplation, etc. I can’t speak for others but I often found myself feeling particularly sensitive, emotional. When you begin a practice of meditation (and I am using this term in the broadest sense), you sometimes encounter experiences (mental, emotional, etc.) that can throw you off a bit… You may feel remorseful, angered, bitter, dejected, disappointed, etc. (HA, why should someone carry on with such a practice, right? Anyway, I digress.) So, it may have been that I was particularly miserable one day… I think the teacher noticed something a little off with me. He came over at the end of the session, whispered, “You cannot be like Guruji; you can only be Guruji.”

I had no idea what that meant. I remonstrated, wanting to explain myself, or wanting an explanation. He didn’t say much else, and I wondered: What was that about?

It’s 13+ years since that incident, and I think about it sometimes.

Human beings are copycats. We imitate endlessly. And so it happens that you meet someone wise and wonderful, and you want to be like them. What you see is the outer, and you begin copying. And it’s sometimes mystifying because this wise individual behaves in “unwise” ways. And because you can’t see beyond the visible, you wonder: How can such behavior be “enlightened?” Why did he do that? How can she say this? Isn’t she supposed to be kind and generous? I thought he was a wise, enlightened being.

I remember a talk by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar where he speaks about our tendency to scrutinize the behavior of a so-called enlightened being, trying to guess their motivation. “Why did he scold them? How can he say something so hurtful? Perhaps he hasn’t overcome his own cravings and aversions,” and so on. Gurudev explained that you cannot determine what lies inside such an individual. (Perhaps, nothing?) And you certainly cannot figure it out from their vyavahAr, the outward behavior. And yet it happens that the Self sometimes sparkles through the behavior, and if you are keen, you are able to discern it.

Once we let go of our desire to “become enlightened,” (as opposed to simply being), and we drop the plan of behaving LIKE the one we love and admire, we may be able to truly see through their outer behavior and commentary and actions and responses. And then we may be able to see that there is no need to be LIKE anyone else. Indeed, you can be exactly as you are.

Instead, all we see is their outer behavior AND how our own behavior is not desirable, not “enlightened” or “wise.” And yet, we are so attached to our perceived faults! If a wise person told us, “Drop all that shit; you are free and pure today,” we’d still be doubtful, unsure. Because we feel that the ONLY way to be free and pure is to OWN all that shit. Because if we disowned these so-called faults, how would we improve?

Video: Decluttering, Minimalism & Energy Bandwidth

Minimalists talk about paring life down to basics, simple essentials. But there are others who love the objects in their life, enjoy their clothes and books, etc. Where is your happy medium? And that’s where your specific physical/mental/emotional energy bandwidth comes into play.

Decluttering and minimalism are great ideas but there are custom formulae for everyone.