Stop worrying! Start living – better still, just get up and dance…

You are not your problems. You are not your assets, wealth or success. You are, in reality, beyond form and beyond this lifetime and this experience.  

Last evening we attended a very soulful performance by the Bangalore-based group, Sunaad. Titled Isha Rumi: Beyond Form, the production married the stellar content of the Ishavasya Upanishad, which is the last chapter (a short one but most significant nevertheless) of the Yajur Veda, with some key verses from the Masnavi, an extensive poem written by the 13th Century Persian poet Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi. Sunaad’s performance, a theatrical and musical juxtaposition really of the shlokasfrom the Ishavasya Upanishad and the verses from the Masnavi, was brilliant.  A seeker takes the audience on a spiritual journey, in search of the answers to some all-important questions that confront each of us at some point or the other in Life: Who am I? What is the purpose of this experience called Life? How do I let go? How do I find happiness? The show concludes, attempting to have decoded Life through professing an understanding of what the shlokas and the verses from two great works, from two timeless cultures, have had to say centuries ago. In the end, the takeaway from Isha Rumi is what the absolute truth is all about: you – and I – are beyond form, beyond this worldly sojourn, beyond the experience of this lifetime, beyond our relationships, wealth, memories and, most important, our bodies. So, simply let go and live in the moment knowing that all that you see is impermanent. And ultimately, the unseen, but what is felt – your breath which keeps you ‘alive’ – and that which is formless, is who you truly are!
The beauty of Sunaad’s concept, effort and inspiring delivery, lies in the fact that it shows, through a question-and-answer format, how simple Life, at the core, really is. We complicate Life by applying our academic, acquired intelligence to it. We call it science. We call it logic. And so we push away, actually reject, what is simple to hold, understand and internalize, and keep seeking, quite unnecessarily, more complex answers to what Life really means.  
In the end, to be brutally honest in a real-world sense, Life may appear pointless. Because in this journey from a choice-less birth to an inevitable end, death, you always come with nothing and you will always go with nothing. So, when you can’t take anything with you, why acquire anything? When this body will eventually perish, why this attachment to the physical form? And that’s what the scriptures, in the case of Sunaad – Isha Rumi, really say. Real happiness lies in knowing that this lifetime is just a sum of several experiences. Some that give you immense joy. And some that challenge you with pain. You cannot prevent pain, but you can choose to avoid suffering by accepting the pain, letting go of your desire to control (your) Life, and moving on. Happiness really is accepting the Life you have, living in the moment and knowing that everything is impermanent – except the energy, your breath, that powers you and keeps you ‘alive’. And energy, as science has proven, is neither created nor destroyed.

So, don’t get vexed with this Who-am-I question? Know that the real you, your true Self, is indestructible. You are not your problems. Nor are you your wealth, qualifications, your assets and your physical form. Don’t get lost in, and consumed by, the rat race to earn, save and create material wealth. Your only wealth is your breath – what some call the soul and the others call the atman. This breath is formless. And is immortal. Without it nothing matters. And with it anything’s possible. So, stop worrying. Start living. And when you feel the way I do about Life, as Rumi’s followers – the swirling dervishes – would do, just get up and dance!

Experience freedom from what possesses you

Superstition and premonition always lead to fear and worry. Or just the opposite may happen too.
These are signs of a weak person, one that is not self-aware. The ones with courage are the ones that know themselves. And if you know yourself, why do you need to lean on a crutch __ a talisman, a fear, a ring or a number? Almost all of us have a good luck charm, a lucky number, and believe in something, often absurd, that we have been conditioned to. Nobody wants to have anything to do with the number 13 for instance. Or we prefer our favorite colors or numbers. There’s a view some people hold that if you bang into a piece of furniture when you are leaving to get something important accomplished, you must treat that as an early warning sign of something terrible that’s on its way. People that champion a scientific temperament will reason against this, intensely. And which is why those who want to believe in superstitions and premonitions will resist the scientific arguments, however reasonable they may be. But here’s a simpler take. If everything is an event in this lifetime, a mere data point, including your birth and your impending death, and since the soul is imperishable, eternal, then what consequence does a furniture that comes in the way or a cat crossing your path or a mere number have?

In anyone’s Life, two aspects are absolutely not dispensable:  birth and death. Now birth is without choice and death is unavoidable. What else is important when these two dimensions of your Life are inscrutable? The people who champion superstition and acknowledge premonition are those who want to live in fear and misery. And because they feel lonely, they want to drag you with them to provide them company! Try letting go of what clutches you in its stranglehold. Experience freedom from what possesses you. Enjoy being liberated. It’s a beautiful world out there. And a stumble here, a fall there, a number here and a cat there, can make no difference to you, if you choose to feel the air in your lungs and the wind on your face; being present in this, the only certain, happening, available, magnificent, miraculous moment of your Life!