Culture, Spirituality

Living Within

Living Within – that’s what this is really about. Yesterday I had a telephone conversation with a colleague who was clearly frustrated and at a loss as to what to do during the lock-down and to think we are only into the 7th day today…

His point was that he “couldn’t find anything to do, and he was bored” To me that appears to be the crisis that most people today are faced with.

Boredom is essentially a result of the need for us to do something, anything just to keep our minds from becoming our biggest enemies. Boredom is the asura’s playground. While too much time on your hand is a problem, too little is also a problem. Striking that fine balance is about learning to “Live Within”

Eknath Easwaran talks of the “elephant processions” in Kerala. I have seen this too during my 2-year stay there – Ezhunallathu. The elephant can walk through the busiest/narrowest street lined on both sides with eateries and stalls but she will not sway from her predetermined path – all the mahout does is to give her a little bamboo stick and she will hold it between her trunk and sashay down the narrow street without as much as glancing at the shops filled with goodies – bananas, coconuts and fruits…

Meditation is one such bamboo stick and therein lies the secret to living within… Most people have not planned for a day when they will be forced to live both within and with those they think are their “loved ones”. This period of quarantine has made that a reality and people are struggling with the challenge that has been thrown at them.

The reality is that most of us go out to get away from ourselves and from our own selves. In living without we forget what it means and takes to live within, with ourselves, and by ourselves – as long as we cannot live within we are never ever free, never ever independent…

As The Mother notes: And then, you know most people when they get bored, instead of trying to rise a step higher, descend a step lower, they become still worse then what they were, and do all the stupid things, go in for all the vulgarities, all the measures, everything, in order to amuse themselves….when there is something painful, they want to distract themselves – what they call distraction, that is, doing stupid things, that is to say, going down in their consciousness, going down a little instead of rising up… Has something extremely painful happened to you, something very grievous? Do not become stupefied, do not seek forgetfulness, do not go down into the inconscience, you must go to the end and find the light that is behind, the truth, the force and the joy; for hat you must be strong and refuse to slide down.”

Learning to “Live Within” is the beginning. This forced lock-down is an opportunity to learn to “Live Within” – Live… Within…