Are you shaping your Life or are you being shaped by Life?
In understanding this question and appreciating its import lies the key to spiritual growth. We are born without choice; this Life has been bestowed upon us. Our early upbringing, our education, the way we are engineered to receive knowledge, gain from it or let it go, are all beyond our control. Things just happen. As we grow older how we meet people, what we gain from or lose because of them is again a matter of the flow of Life, beyond our control. A great friend as your spouse or a nag, a soulmate or a cheat, a benevolent boss or a tyrant, exceptional children or vagabonds, a steady income or joblessness, nothing comes announced, nothing’s controllable.
This morning’s Hindu had the obituary announcement of Lt. Col. Venkatesan and his wife Geetha, who died on 2nd December in their home in Defence Colony, Ekkattuthangal, Chennai. That was the night of the floods. The announcement had no details on the cause of death. But a subsequent Facebook post, which has since gone viral, talked about how the couple were caught unawares by the floods and stood on top of their dining table screaming for help, unable to cope with the fury of the water that gushed into their home. It is believed both of them drowned that night, in their home, not able to even escape to their terrace!
Could the Venkatesans have controlled what happened to them?
The reality, the absolute and only Truth, is that we can’t ever control Life. And yet we have been told, conditioned, made to believe, that we shape our lives. Shed this thinking. Life simply happens. You__and I__get shaped by it. Over time, what goes up comes down. And what comes down goes up. And at some point all our lives, our stories, have to end, with death!
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, an ordinary storekeeper, who lived in Mumbai, until his death in 1981, and a spiritual thinker and teacher to thousands, says, when true awareness has come from within, we will be ‘open and willing to let Life just flow’. “Be like a cinema screen. Clear and empty. The pictures pass over it and disappear, leaving it as clear and empty as before,” he says. The ability to be ‘clear and empty’ at all times, untouched by the pictures of our lives, is the highest, most exalted state, or the final shape, that Life can give you__and me! To get to this pinnacle of spiritual evolution, we must begin first with accepting Life as it happens – instead of trying to either resist it or analyzing it beyond a point. The rest of the ride up this escalator will then be as blissful as it will be eventful!