Never operate from fear – simply do whatever gives you joy!

Don’t be God-fearing. Be God-loving. That too, love the God, within you. Heed your inner voice. And do only what gives you joy.
My friend bought me a drink the other day. In fact, he bought me a few! But he did not drink. I knew he had had a problem with alcohol some years back. He had struggled to quit it for several years. In vain. Until, as he told me, “Sai Baba appeared in my dream and ordered me to quit.” So, he has been off alcohol all these years. I asked him if he was enjoying abstinence. He confessed that he hated it. But he said he was “scared of Baba’s wrath” if he violated the “order” and so he motivated himself each time to stay away. Which is why, he claimed, he often entertained friends so that he could have the “joy of being in a bar”. I told him, at the cost of sounding rude, that he may have got off alcohol, but he was still “alcoholic in attitude”. I said, “Don’t do anything out of fear. Baba may have given you the right direction – because you indeed had a drinking problem. But there’s no point fearing him. By doing that, you are only suppressing your desire out of fear that you will be otherwise reprimanded. Act freely. Drink responsibly, drink with awareness, and you will never overdrink. By abstaining, and craving, you are only creating a context for you to slip back, one day, when your resolve will break, let’s say when you are angry with yourself or the world or even with Baba, your suppressed desire will explode and you will hit the bottle again!”
My friend politely refused to take my advice. And I appreciate it. To each one their own.
I strongly believe that the human mind tries to trick itself by bringing the fear factor into play in most situations where individual actions require justification in a social context. The mind revels being gripped by fear – of someone or something. Fear of God, especially, is a convenient way to justify decisions relating to personal choice. In fact the whole issue of morality is debatable and is governed by this kind of fear. For instance, many believe that to have an extra-marital affair is a “sin” that “God will never forgive”. Some see eating non-vegetarian as sinful. Others think that drinking alcohol will tantamount to being disrespectful to their religion. And some think of women in their menstrual cycle going into the kitchen or prayer room as sacrilegious. My humble view is that morality is like body odor. It’s intensely personal. And if it is not dealt with properly, honestly, by the individual concerned, it stinks. Period. I don’t see any role for (an external) God to play in any of our human choices – especially those that are driven by our very human, sensory cravings! Therefore, if we drop this fear of an external God that’s in us, we will be free.
The only person you are answerable to is the one you see in the mirror. The only voice you must heed is the one you hear from within. When you operate from the core of loving whatever you do – be it drinking, be it eating meat, be it having an active sex Life with multiple partners, be it choosing to pray to a Higher Energy the way you want to and when you want to – you will experience a great inner peace. Because in doing all of that, and more, you are going with the flow of energy from within you, from your individual Godhead. It is only when you run scared that you run confused. Where there’s confusion, how can peace prevail?

Let your divinity flow

The divine Godhead is in each of us. So, intrinsically, we all have this ability to be loving, be human and be compassionate. But all our conditioning, over the years, has suppressed this ability. We have become, driven by logic, and the what’s-in-it-for-me question in every transaction, cold, self-centered and so full of ourselves. Our self-obsession leaves us with no time or opportunity to love and care. However, a time will come, when all that conditioning will vanish, all the walls that we have built around us will be torn down, and what will remain is our true self – that which is capable of limitless love and compassion.
One of Aesop’s fables teaches us this lesson beautifully.
At a riverside, a scorpion requested of a turtle, “Please carry me to the other shore on your back.” The turtle says, “Do not be foolish. Do not think me to be stupid. You may sting me in the middle of the stream, and I will drown and die.” The scorpion said, “I am not foolish; rather, you are foolish because you do not know simple logic. I belong to the Aristotelian school. I am a logician. So I will teach you a simple lesson in logic, a simple solution. If I sting you and if you are drowned and dead, I will also die with you. So be sensible, be logical. I will not sting you. I cannot sting you.”
The turtle thought for a moment and then said, “Okay! It seems sensible. Hop on to me and off we go.” And exactly in the middle of their journey, midstream, the sting comes. They both are sinking now. Before the turtle dies it asks, “Where has your logic gone? You have done a very illogical thing, and you yourself said that this is simple logic, you will never do it, and now you have done it. Tell me before I die. Let me learn another lesson from your logic.”
The scorpion says, “It is not a question of logic at all. This is just my character, just my nature. I cannot be without it. I can talk about it. I cannot be without it. I am incapable, really.”

In pretty much the same way, all our coldness, all of our self-centeredness are all mere masks. Each of us, truly, is created to be loving, caring and human. As Jalaluddin Rumi, the 13th Century Persian poet has said, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

So, go on, seek those barriers within you – and remove them. Let your divinity flow – unfettered and freely!