Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ups and Downs

Life comes with its ups and downs. This is common knowledge and there is hardly any adult who does not have a first hand account of this truth. 

However, we are surprised every time life throws up something new. This is an outcome of ignorance. But since our minds are conditioned for information, they register surprises positively. We even feel good about some of them as long as they don't diminish our state of survival. What is a surprise but information that was not expected due to prior ignorance.

When things go good for us, we cultivate a positive image about ourselves. We feel confident about our abilities - "I can do this, I can do that, I should be good". A lot of our expertise comes from what our bodies and minds are by nature and how they get nurtured in a set of circumstances. Nearly all of this is beyond our control. Yet, we find justification in feeling proud about ourselves. The mind feels bored even when things are going well, and tries to invent some drama to spice things up. It feels good to get into a contest even it is not necessary, and even better to come on top of the duel.

When things go bad, we fall sullen, depressed, upset. Sometimes, the loss channels into anger or a false sense of morality. One may feel that one is a victim of something and dedicate one's whole life to fighting for some cause. Sometimes, we lose confidence. We do not know who we are anymore.

If we take a step back and analyse the situation, it would be very clear what the truth is. We may want different things out of our lives, but the truth remains what it is.

Most of our good times and bad times are not really that in reality. Yes, you may argue that this was really good  and that was really painful. We are not talking about that context. That context is of goals which are expected to be achieved. If the events do not add to the outcome desired, we are sad. Otherwise, we feel happy.

The deeper truth concerns who we really are. We are knowledge entities, sentient beings. The mind, the breath, and the body are all borne by us and are not us. We may identify with the body, the mind, etc. and place expectations on how they should turn out. But they are not us; they can be taken away or changed. We see people telling one another, "You are not the person I knew a few years ago." This remark is usually accompanied with disappointment. But, what is to be surprised? Of course he is not the same person! The body and mind change all the time. The mistake was getting attached to something that keeps changing.

Reality has a way of teaching us that. Our bodies fail, our minds change. What we thought was ours once is no longer ours. We may have dreamed that we are set for life. But, things go bad. The reverse also happens, and somehow we happily accept such events without consideration.

Events that we describe as bad can be seen as opportunities to see for ourselves who we truly are. Each loss shows us what we are not and is a moment for waking up, for self-realization. The directness of these events is a call to truth. Likewise, favorable outcomes must be treated carefully.

All this is certainly easier said than practised. Years of conditioning will not fall away easily.  It is actually easy to accept everyone for who they truly are: instantiations of sentience in various garbs.

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