When you step back and behave like a third party to your own Life, nothing can hold you hostage.
I delivered my ‘Fall Like A Rose Petal’ Talk to a group of entrepreneurs recently. One of them reached out later in the evening and asked me if Life as maya, an illusion, can be explained. His exact question was: “How can something that causes so much suffering be unreal and an illusion?”
The answer is simple: Anything that you identify yourself with and start getting attached to will cause your suffering. So, the solution is simpler – stay detached, be in a witness-state, as a witness of your own Life!
As a young boy when my parents took me to watch ‘Sholay’ (Ramesh Sippy, Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri and Amjad Khan) in a New Delhi cinema hall called Rachna in 1975, I remember I refused to come out of the hall when the movie got over. I was grief stricken that Jai (Amitabh Bachchan) was dead. I had come to identify with him. It was only when my dad sat me down and explained to me that the ‘real’ Amitabh Bachchan was still alive, and that this was just a movie, did I understand and agree to go home!
Many of us are in so much grief with our Life situations. This is because several of us are like how I was after watching ‘Sholay’ – we are clinging on to our made-up identities and are therefore struggling with this illusion called Life! Unless we step back, and away, as my dad advised me to, and see that our whole Life is just an illusion, like a movie, we will continue to be miserable. Two realities about Life must be understood. First, this lifetime is a limited period offer. It is impermanent. And anything that is impermanent is only an illusion! Second, Life happens. And keeps on happening. As Life happens chances are you will get what you want; chances are also that what you don’t want will come into your Life, often despite your best efforts. There were crises, there are crises and there will be crises as we go through Life. Each of those Life crises or tragedies or painful situations will leave us numb and confounded. The only way out, and the only way to find inner peace and happiness, is to stop identifying with anything or anyone that is impermanent. Don’t identify with success – getting what you want and don’t identify with failure – what you didn’t want!
You are not your problems. You are not your relationships. So don’t cling on to any identity. Identification is the root cause of all misery. When you are in the throes of a big crisis, when you don’t see a way out to end it, take a deep breath, step back and watch the situation with the eye and view of a detached third party. Be a witness. Know that whatever it is, it won’t last. Because everything is impermanent. If you get this, you have understood Life, you have understood that it is all maya, an illusion, and you have understood that it is therefore possible to be non-suffering! So, don’t participate in any Life situation by worrying and by attempting to solve it by feeling anxious, insecure or fearful about it! Just watch your Life, your place and role in a given context or situation, and let an awakening happen within you – that enlightens you! You will then realize that there is always an opportunity to be happy, despite your circumstances!