Baba says, ‘When you pay greater attention to others, you create tension in yourself‘. Serve yourself first.
This is the family path, God reminds me. I am a bead of the rosary around His neck. And the rosary looks beautiful when the beads are strung close together, not far apart. Sanyasis believe others are the problem, that the world is the problem and so they leave. They go looking for God in the mountains while having taken themselves out of His rosary!
God has the largest family and He loves every single child – He can because He knows how to be detached. It sounds like opposing thoughts but really, unless one knows how to be a detached observer, they cannot be loving.
At the end of the cycle, it is Ravan’s world. Souls are tired having been down on this physical plane a long time. We are all a little irritable, a little on the edge. Not to mention we’ve all been on different journeys and have picked up different personality traits. We are going to say and do things that hurt each other, offend each other. This will happen till the end, it’s not what’s important. What’s important is how I respond.
Am I going to allow the offense to get inside me or do I have the power to push it away from me? To allow things inside me is easy- I really don’t have to do anything, it simply enters me and finds a nice, cushiony place in my heart. But if I am invested in my destiny, if I care about living a full life, a joyful life, I will ensure there are guard-rails put in place to deflect these offenses.
My happiness is my birthright, am I going to let someone take it? My heart is not for anyone to take a seat in! My heart-throne belongs to my Beloved, to God. Will I allow rubbish on that same throne and then expect God to come in?
Sometimes, offenses don’t come to us, we go looking for them! We read the news, we read someone’s opinion about something, we dwell on it, analyze it, disagree with it. Then, we go tell our friends about it, discuss it: ‘can you believe he thinks that way!’ What could be so important, matter so much that it takes space in my heart and mind that belongs to my peace and happiness? what could be so important that it takes up time that I could spend with my Beloved? Let me pay attention to what I take in.
Offenses in any form – be it an insult, a hurt, someone cheating, a betrayal, a false accusation, a bad behavior, a rude comment…whatever, is like bait. If I take it, I will fall from my high stage that I worked so hard on, instantly. I start my day well, I am smiling, I am being my best and just then, someone does or says something that I perceive as wrong. At that moment, I have a decision to make: am I going to allow that action or word or betrayal to take root in me or let it go? If I don’t pay attention and allow it in, it becomes that one drop of poison that destroys the whole meal. All it takes is one drop to cause stress, anger, irritation, resentment, bitterness and all the rest. And when I feel these feelings, there is no room for Baba.
Often we think letting go is like accepting defeat. In fact, it’s the opposite- taking offense is accepting defeat. It shows powerlessness, that anything can enter my heart. It’s when I let go that I show power. It is when I reject that offense as unimportant, as rubbish that I declare who and what is important. It is when I decide that my joy, my happiness, my destiny are way too important to be compromised by the comment, insult or action…whatever it might be. Doesn’t mean the hurt wasn’t real, this isn’t denying what was done….rather, it is deciding to let it go anyway.
The letting go becomes easier when I am situated in my truth of who I am – when I am soul conscious. It is when I am egotistic that I accept praise and offense easily. I am easily flattered and easily hurt. This is when I have thoughts such as: ‘I knew it, her motive was really that…’, ‘can you believe what some people can do!?’, ‘it takes all kinds…’, ‘who does he think he is!?’ etc. I become almost dogmatic in my beliefs about what’s right vs wrong and I look at life through this lens of ‘being right’. This is one of the biggest traps in spiritual life because it allows me to justify the way I feel – you did wrong and therefore, I feel this way.
When I operate from my truth, as a soul, I realize that it isn’t about who is right, it isn’t about ‘being right’, it is about love, it is about being a family. I am quick to separate the sanskar or the offense from the soul. I reject the offense, the sanskar and accept the soul. This is what God does! He sees what I did, He knows how I behaved and yet, He doesn’t let it sit in His heart. He continues to hold on to my original, perfect form in His vision. This is being detached and loving. I find the strength and grace to look and rise beyond. I feel compassion, not anger. I reconcile, not debate. Sometimes, we think it is our duty to set things right, it isn’t. When we complain or judge or try to set others straight, it only makes the situation worse, the relationship weakens and hearts grow distant. The beads in the rosary become distant.
When I hold a grudge, when I can’t let an offense go, it colors my perspective, it colors my very attitude. I see someone do something wrong a couple times and I subconsciously label them: ‘this person is always like this, they never change’. Then, no matter what they do, how well they do, even if they change, I still look at them through my colored lens. It has become my attitude. This is the danger of holding on. Baba teaches me that my attitude creates the atmosphere. Let me pay attention to protecting my attitude.
When I am situated in my truth as a soul, as a child of God, I fill myself with His love – this gives me power. When the heart is full of this pure, unconditional love from God, it cannot be shaken. Then, when there is a wrong word or a bad action or some other offense, I am able to dissolve it in that love. Without His love, I cannot be detached. I am the Ocean of Love, the Ocean of Peace, He tells me. There is more love there than I can use up. I just have to know and be willing to take. Let me give the offenses, the hurt, the bitterness to God, He doesn’t mind. He is the Ocean! what I give simply washes away and comes back clean – as love, as acceptance, as compassion.
Let me serve myself in this way- by being situated in who I am, by remaining close and connected to the Father. When I pay attention to doing this, my attitude is protected, my heart is protected from external irritants. I keep my peace and contentment and experience super-sensuous joy. This is the praise of this time, of the children of God.