Baba says, ‘you should study with a great deal of interest‘. Have the intoxication that God, Himself, is teaching you.
If we reflect back on our own experiences, we find that the times we’ve felt the most energetic have been the times when we did something with a lot of interest. Where there is interest, there is automatically a great deal of zeal and enthusiasm. And then, even if the project I was working on didn’t turn out as expected, I look back on it fondly: ‘that was fun’, we say, ‘I learnt a lot from it’. We then carry those lessons to future endeavors.
This is also a study and our teacher is God, Himself. He is teaching me the way to become a sovereign. Do I have interest in this study? Do I have the enthusiasm?
Yes, there are some tough papers that come before me but that’s okay when I remember the reward that comes after it! With every paper I pass, I accumulate so much power, so much confidence. Yes, I’m going to come face to face with darkness within me that I didn’t even know I had…. but that’s okay! The fact that I have discovered the darkness means I have made progress…previously I didn’t even know it existed. So, great! now I know… Next, I dissolve it in Baba’s love. He, being a very hands-on Teacher, is right there with me. I have nothing to be afraid of.
Often, the mistake we make is we treat the sanskar or the darkness as an enemy. We look at it with disgust and then because I had it, I must be disgusting. That is the wrong way to make effort, says Baba. I am not fighting the sanskar as much as I am trying to understand it, observe it and then let it go. I observe myself in situations and take mental notes, then I make a change. This mentality of ‘fighting’ something is an old world sanskar where it’s all about ‘defeating’ and ‘winning’. Let me pay attention and check if this is what I am doing. When I try to fight a sanskar, it always fights back harder. This happens a few times and I feel I ‘lost’ the war and feel disheartened. Then I become afraid of this ‘opponent’ that I cannot seem to ‘defeat’. No…I work with and around the sanskars, I don’t fight them.
Then, there will be sanskars of other people, the betrayals, the insults, the disappointments that I will need to face. But through remembrance, I emerge my spiritual powers of tolerance, of accommodation, of discernment etc. that I learn to summon at the right times. If it weren’t for these situations, I’d never get to use my powers, I’d never learn. And these situations are hard only when…again….I view the other soul as an opponent. When I become soul conscious and see them as souls too, on their own journeys, as my brothers and sisters, I automatically develop love, become willing to compromise, merge their weaknesses in my heart. I am capable of being so accommodating for a blood relationship of one birth! when I shift my vision to be unlimited and look across the entire cycle, I treat every relationship the same way.
So yes, I will undoubtedly get knocked around and down more than a few times. But that’s how I know I am progressing. As they say: the only time I don’t fall is when I stop running. If we were to look at all the people in our life that we admire, we’d find that they got where they are, became who they are not because life was easy or because everything they touched simply worked out. They got there because most things they touched didn’t in fact work out as expected. They got there because they kept on learning and pushing forward. They got there because every time they got knocked down, they got back up. Stopping or quitting was not an option to them. That’s what we admire about them, that’s what we remember about them…
Contrast that with what the sanyasis did! They quit the playground and went away to the forests or the mountains. Hardly the quality of a sovereign! They said the world was full of sorrow and committed themselves to rigorous penance to obtain ‘liberation’. Well, liberation from what? If it is liberation from sorrow, then running away ain’t gonna help. It wasn’t the home or the relationships or the world that was to blame. They were not causing me sorrow anyway…it was the vices! Let me commit to a penance to let go of them. I do it while staying at home, in this world. That’s what God teaches me. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?!
‘Don’t waste your time with the wrong effort‘, He says.
I am inherently a pure, peaceful, loving and happy soul. So if I want these things, all I have to do is be myself. That is the right effort to make and the one God teaches me to do with a lot of interest. Let me learn with a lot of interest.
There is a threshold limit or breaking point to playing the victim. There is only a limit to tolerance and also being tolerating which can be endured….at one go! Continuous Negative behavior can leave a lasting imprint which is toxic and damaging. The next round could be even greater and life threatening. Would one not prefer to walk away and be sane.
Real tolerance is not victimhood, in fact, the opposite. Tolerance is our ability to remain internally unaffected when situations and people don’t operate according to our expectations- which is most of the time. Tolerance is to be open to and accepting of diversity in thoughts, feelings, behaviors. It is acknowledging that all souls are on our unique journeys and so our sanskars and perspectives are conditioned by it. We don’t waste time asking questions like: ‘why are they like this!’, we don’t control or force them to change. Rather we inspire them through our own behavior to change. It’s what God does with us- He doesn’t question our behavior or turn up His nose. He accepts and through the way He conducts Himself and relates to us, inspires change within us. I would be a victim if I allowed every disagreement or slight or insult to affect my state and take away my happiness; if I felt that I couldn’t be happy until someone else changed. Tolerance is where I take control back by becoming powerful within.
Having said that, I have to learn to discern when to tolerate and when to leave. If there is a fundamental misalignment of core values such as – a corrupt workplace or domestic abuse or extreme anger/rage or other toxic behaviors.. then, it is not the time to tolerate, it is my duty to leave and keep myself safe.