I would like to kick off my post this week by saying a Happy Independence day in advance (if you reside in the States), easy on the fireworks, lol. Actually last week while we were having a beautiful Swan boat festival and the fireworks were going off, there was one particularly loud that made my heart skip a beat. It really got me thinking about how something so small could release so much sound energy. Anyways I hope you play safe with the fireworks.
That being said, this week I would love to share something that speaks in relation to what is our content. What exactly are we made up as individuals? Now I am not speaking about our real-self here but more in terms of what kind of mood and mannerism makes up our inner identity. To help us grasp this idea I have taken the liberty to share with you all a brief analogy. Let’s take a Tea bag, a Potato and an egg as our specimen and then we carry out an experiment. When these three items are subjected to intense heat and put in boiling water, they all respond differently, each according to its own constitution and capacity. The potato in its fresh state is hard on the outside and seemingly tough, one would expect it to be the strongest in this test. However this is not the case when it is subjected to high temperatures over an extended period. After sometime it softens and even splits open.
When the egg which has mainly liquid as its internal constitution is subjected to the same situation, it comes out hard and refined. Finally when the Teabag is subjected to a similar situation, it dissipates itself into the liquid and also gives off its aroma. Interestingly, Humans are also like this. Some of us fall into the Potato category, some into the Egg category and others in the Teabag category. When life gets tough and most especially our spiritual practices get difficult, some of us encounter the situation like “potatoes”. We go in strong with a lot of “resolve” but somehow or the other we fail to brace the circumstances and come out soft and weakened. We lose the battle against the forces we combat. There are others who go in like Eggs, apparently fragile and weak but then the entire situation brings out another side of them, which sometimes they never imagined they had. There has been cases of people who lost family members, went into depression but came out of it and became counselors. In spiritual circles, there are practitioners who “fell, or backslide” but comeback with a lot more vigour and become a story of inspiration for others to emulate. These people have been able to harness a lot more than just courage or positive thinking, not to say that these factors aren’t necessary but they have gone even a step further.
The final set of people are those who go in like the teabag. We all know that the teabag is the most unassuming thing we can think of. It is soft and naturally quite simple. In the real sense one would expect the teabag to undergo total destruction in such a situation of high temperature and even pray to see the remains. Nay, it surpasses all others in its glorious exit. Like a magical act, the teabag comes out unharmed and even leaves a lasting impression of itself in the situation that was supposed to be excruciating. These class of people are very rare, because they are the ones who change things in our world today be it in spirituality, economics, management etc. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna says that one who neither rejoices nor grieves….. is very dear to Him. The first two items could be said to have reacted in either grief or happiness, depending on how we see it. One comes out hard and the other soft. However the teabag goes into the same situation and is content with being “itself”. The result is that there is aroma and a change in the situation itself. When we encounter tests and setbacks as spiritual practitioners or as just regular folks, the result of the situation is mostly born from what our real internal composition is made of. If we are pseudo spiritualist then we become soft or weakened by the situation, if we are serious but attracted to the results of our actions then we come out hard. This hardness is often times seen in different forms in various people. A quick example; some spiritual practitioner’s take the vow of celibacy and in the long run become very hard hearted due the “nature of their austerity”. They seemingly have overcome a big challenge, which is total abstinence from sex life which is supposed to allow us connect to a higher sense of love, but they have created a different problem, which is lack of compassion or an unforgiving spirit, because they do not have a good sense of the austerity which they practice.
Regular folks may go through adverse situations of poverty, and struggle so hard that they eventually becomes financially successful but end up being miserly because they feel “no one helped them when they needed help”. So in one sense we may feel it is best to go into adverse situations and come out “strong” but we should also reflect on how much this so-called “strength” is actually helping our advancement. We can only give out what we have inside. When we squeeze oranges, we get orange juice and not pineapple juice. Similarly when a spiritual practitioner is subjected to various forms of trials and test, his/her response is proportional to their core values and constitution. If we have hate, anger, grief, envy, malice etc. inside of us, naturally when we are put under intense temperatures or when we get “squeezed”, all these attributes come out. On the other hand if we have love, peace, compassion, equanimity and happiness inside of us, when we get “squeezed” we will exhume these very same traits. The key to surviving these tests isn’t just being tough or hard, it isn’t about just knowing how to deal externally with a situation or knowing how to let waters slide. It is about knowing how to radiate what is truly inherent in us, to the degree that they reflect the true nature of a compassionate spiritual practitioner.
I hope this sheds some light on the subject, till next week do like, share and follow for more. Happy Independence Day celebration to my friends who live in the states too.