A great way to face any challenge in your Life is to find your center and drop anchor!
Last evening we had yet another edition of our popular by-invitation-only public event, The Bliss Catchers. I curate and lead this event series, which is hosted by the Odyssey Bookstore in Adyar, where I am in conversation with people who have gone on to do what they love doing in Life. Minutes before the event began, I discovered, I was not “feeling good about myself”. The past couple of weeks have been difficult for us as a family. We are huddling together to deal with a cathartic situation – which is, well, apart from, and in addition to, our enduring bankruptcy. Just before the event began, even as the guests arrived, my mind wandered into the ‘catharsis zone’. I suddenly felt overpowered with thoughts of what was going on in our Life. I even told a friend, who enquired why I had not called him as promised, that “behind the strong sense of positivity that Vaani and I genuinely experience and exude, a tsunami rages on.” As we closed in on 7 pm, I stepped aside from the crowd that had gathered for the event, and dropped anchor – practicing mouna. Quickly, in a matter of minutes (given that I practise mouna daily), I found my ‘center’. Metaphorically, and in reality, a storm raged outside of me. But deep within, I felt good, at peace with myself, and engaged in the moment. To be sure, in the moment, in the now, there is no fear, no anxiety, no worry and no guilt or grief. Once anchored, I went on to lead the event and had a lot of fun doing it. The 90 minutes of the event had a therapeutic effect on me. This is the learning that I would like to share here: when you are engaged in the present moment, you can face – and survive – any storm.
The storms that ravage our lives – a debilitating health condition, a torturous relationship break-up, a business going bust, losing a reputation that’s painstakingly built, the sudden death of someone you love deeply – fill us with worry, grief, frustration and make us miserable. It may seem almost impossible not to worry or to grieve or to suffer. But there lies the best kept secret about intelligent living. In the now, when you are present, and engaged in the moment, there can be no worry. There is no cause for grief. And there isn’t any suffering.
You may wonder how this works. And if this really is true. Let me explain.
The way Life operates is that none of us can control what is happening to us. Life goes on happening. And all we can do is to respond to Life as it happens. Some of the happenings in your Life may shock you and sock you. You can find a million people to blame for your situation or you can even berate yourself for your plight. You can argue with reality – asking why things have happened to you! But be sure that all your fighting, all your resisting, will be completely futile. What I have learned is that Life’s crises are there only to help us find strength from within. That is the only place which is untouched by what goes on outside and that’s where you will be in total peace and feel infinitely secure!
The human mind is like a large ship in the ocean of Life. When a storm hits the high seas, an ordinary vessel will be tossed around and may even drown. But modern day ships have stabilizers. They help the ship navigate deftly through rough waters. Similarly, the human mind too can be stabilized by training it to be present in the moment. When it is present in the now, the mind is powerless. The mind works and thrives only in a yet-to-be-born future or in a dead-and-gone past! That’s why worry, grief and suffering don’t affect you in the present moment! And that’s how you, your true Self, can be peaceful, despite the circumstances that you are placed in and despite the storms that will often rip apart your material Life! Finding strength in a crisis situation in Life really means letting go of the past and not worrying about the future – while being aware that everything in Life is impermanent – including Life’s storms!