Baba says, ‘the basis of self transformation is realization with an honest heart‘.
If I look back on my life with honesty, pretty much all the mistakes I made, big or small, were driven by a need for identity and belonging. Without identity and belonging, the soul is lost. I feel like an orphan in a large world where I have to ‘be someone’ to ‘belong to someone’ or something. In fact the very first question someone asks me is who are you and what do you do. Then, the mental evaluation follows as to whether I am worth spending more time on. Rejection, feeling sidelined by society is one of the most violent sanskars that a soul experiences and one it is extremely afraid of. I don’t like feeling like a nobody, unworthy of a second glance, of respect. I have to fit in, I have to belong….at any cost. And yes, I am not crazy about the world as it is, it doesn’t feel like a group worth belonging to but if that’s what we’ve got, then that’s where I need to belong. The rule is ‘survival of the fittest’ and so the hustle starts.
Then, my choices and life decisions are about one thing and one thing only – the need to be and belong. I become ready to essentially prostitute my values and my integrity to ensure I ‘win’ and then to ‘protect and guard’ that which I won.
- I grow up with elevated dreams that I have been passionate about but I sacrifice them for comforts, for financial gain because that’s what you got to have to show to the world.
- I ignore my values for social approval.
- I sell out to be with the popular crowd rather than be true to my inner values, to my uniqueness.
- I am willing to stay in toxic, abusive relationships because I am too afraid to be alone, of the unknown. I’d rather suffer in exchange for company.
- I am willing to smile and pretend to be ‘nice’ to someone solely because I need their help to get something or somewhere. I routinely manipulate others to gain an advantage.
- I fight tooth and nail over what is ‘mine’. For a beggar, every little scrap is precious. When someone with certain skills that I perceive to be superior to mine comes along, I feel threatened. I have a relationship with someone, a third person comes along and is friendly and I feel my territory was encroached upon.
- I am also willing to do something unethical thinking: if I don’t do it, someone else will. So why not me! Sure, I might not rob a bank but I am okay to break confidentiality.
And each time, each and every time I was thinking the thoughts, about to take action, my intellect warned me- first, gently and then loudly. But I silenced it, I killed it…..I killed myself. I went further and further away from my truth until I could no longer recognize myself. I had no self-respect left, I hit rock bottom.
Baba comes and pulls the soul out of the abyss by giving me the two things I need- identity and belonging. Except, this time, it is true, it is eternal. ‘Remember‘, He says. The rest of the journey is one of self-realization and recognition. Only when I realize can there be transformation. The first transformation on day one, moment one: I am a soul and the Father is mine. The remainder is to realize what kind of soul. For this, The Father is my only reference point. Only when I can accurately discern i.e. realize Him can I become like Him which is to say, become myself. He is extremely subtle, I cannot see Him with these eyes. But that’s not the point. In bhakti, people put themselves through all kinds of hardships for a glimpse, for a vision of God. But what good is that, asks Baba. I don’t have to see, I simply have to realize and recognize. I have to know and experience.
Along the way Baba teaches me so much about myself, about Him and the Drama. ‘You already belong to the Drama’, He says. I don’t have to prove myself to be here on this earth. I have a role in this unlimited drama. As it turns out, it is the most elevated role as the helper of God Himself in the greatest task carried out in history – one of world transformation. ‘When you forgot who you are, when you walked away from yourself, when you fell, the world fell with you’, He explains. When I realize myself once again, the world will rise once again.
‘I cannot bear to see my children in so much sorrow, I cannot bear to see them labor‘, He says. Follow Shrimat and you will always remain safe, He says. My Shrimat is the canopy of protection under which no one can attack you. Throughout the journey, Maya will try various ways to tempt me back into the world of hustling for identity and belonging. She will try to convince me that respect is out there, that identity has to be earned. She will try to pull me away from myself and the Father again and make me belong to her by dangling flashy, but hollow and short-lived worldly attainments in front of me. And when that fails, she resorts to the lowest of all tricks- she tries to convince me that I have made way too many mistakes, that I am dirty, that I am not good enough for God.
But now, I know better. I have realized and recognized – myself, the Father and yes, Maya too. And with the power of this realization, I now make the right choice each time. I transform.