SIMPLY BEING

Tag: life (page 1 of 8)

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.

Notes to Self

Don’t try to understand your thoughts or your experience. Be one with it.

Don’t act on your thoughts or experience. Fuse with it.

Experience is arising, and all is experience. Even emptiness is an experience, no different than any other.

Experience arises in you, as you. You are intimately attached to the shape, form, color, etc. of the experience. Indeed, it derives fully from you. Imagine a balloon emerging from you, inflating, deflating, disappearing. This balloon is the shape and form of your experience, and it includes the physical world, the mental and emotional stuff, all of that… Everything constitutes the balloon, and it goes away when you fall asleep.

Because each one of us experiences the world in an entirely unique way, it follows that the world is our unique creation. Just because it seems like many of us have similar experiences of the world, it doesn’t validate the existence of the world as a separate entity. It simply means that we have internalized similar ideas, hence conjuring up “similar worlds.”

Not to believe or disbelieve experience but to simply see it, hold it in the hollow of your palm. And that requires no believing or disbelieving.

SO, fear is an experience, too, as changing and changeable as any other. Now, if you swing to either side (belief, disbelief), it gets sticky. If you simply watch, it moves through.

Similar to the experience of energy (high, middling, low, stagnant) that does not stick. It is the same phenomenon, or the rhythm/flow pattern.

What of action? That also emerges, either from past ideas, or from fresh, new space… Simply watch?

Swim into the discomfort!

Life Ganga

Had a (sorta) epiphany recently.

If I liken my life to a movie, then it has two separate “tracks.” Visual: Girl is born in Mumbai, girl goes to school, girl joins college, girl meets boy, girl and boy go to the movies, girl and boy meet up at a beach, girl marries boy, girl boards flight to ATL, and so on. Then there is the inner soundtrack. A mind that is making sense of the visuals, questioning, wondering, sifting through what-if scenarios, analyzing. And I realized early on that these two tracks were nearly 100% independent of each other, seemingly together, yet miles apart.

If I liken my life to the Ganga who unfolds merrily at her will, heeding no advice, fearing no dams or boulders, simply dancing down the mountains… no amount of rationalizing or discussing ever stopped her from following an unknown direction. And I guess that’s why I never actively directed my life, one way or another. (I often remark that the “decisions” in my life weren’t even decisions.) There is a clear recognition that the inner soundtrack can speak, consider, weigh, etc. all for its own sake. Not that it has ever been able to change Ganga’s direction. So, even as I wondered briefly, “Have a child?,” things didn’t proceed that way. (I went to grad school.) Even as I thought, “Go to MBA school?,” I turned down the admission and scholarship.

Not to imply that Ganga’s path is all roses. She travels through mucky places, ferrying dead bodies and plastic trash, along with fragrant flowers and lit lamps. I think my wisest “decision” thus far has been to not question Ganga. She knows where she is headed. So, the inner soundtrack has mostly fallen silent. Sometimes questions arise, and so do answers. They linger on for a bit, then disappear. There isn’t any kind of resolution, though.

Corona Notes: Meet the Moment

The lockdown is s-l-o-w-l-y lifting, and I have been feeling strangely untethered. I have a tenuous grip on most matters practical/realistic, and Corona has released me (somewhat) from all/any pretenses of being a “responsible adult,” thinking about the future, et al. I wasn’t much of a planner to begin with, and presently I feel absolved of whatever responsibility I may have taken on (out of guilt, or anything else) to make a plan, think ahead, figure out the future, etc.

I dreamed of a slow life where my schedule was entirely my own, and I wouldn’t be answerable to anyone ― not a boss, a manager, or a supervisor. Well, be careful what you wish for because you rarely know what it entails in its entirety. I’d say, don’t wish for a thing, and you will have no one to blame. Or be prepared for a fullness of experience that will include some (or many) uncomfortable, awkward parts. I enjoyed silence and blank spaces, and now I have them aplenty. And some evenings, they turn vaguely terrifying, ungrounding. And I am happy/relieved that there are only a few hours to go before bed.

For some of us, the lockdown has made lives busier, fuller. For some others, it has magnified the emptiness that peeks out amid events and activities. In pre-Corona times, we had figured out ways to deal with these blank spaces, and now we cannot avoid them any more. Some of us love this lockdown life where you can spend the day wearing comfortable clothing, avoid traffic and long commutes, potter around the house. Some of us would love to go back to pre-Corona times, when life was busy and there were things to do, people to meet, hugs and kisses to share.

I wonder if all that we can take from this surreal phase is that we can only meet Life wherever it chooses to meet us, and we can only meet it EXACTLY as we are. There is no real prep, or any level of action readiness to be better at any of this.

“There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? That is why life is always like a sketch. No, “sketch” is not quite a word, because a sketch is an outline of something, the groundwork for a picture, whereas the sketch that is our life is a sketch for nothing, an outline with no picture.”

― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being