Saturday, 4 February 2017

Obstacles and Their Cures: Part-3

People and relatives: are often the biggest and most difficult obstacles for many. They are unpredictable, dynamic and active obstacles, which makes it a bit difficult to deal with them. Parents may oppose your every move, criticize you, shame you and may try to pull you back into a dogma they prefer, however outdated or moronic theirs is. Sometimes they will threaten you, especially if you are still young and a dependent. Parents also try to emotionally blackmail to have their own way, to “fix” you, just like your partner/spouse may. You may find that parents and partner will erect all kinds of hurdles on your path, may try to overpower you giving you a reason that they “love” you. Children become an obstacle if they are young and are dependent on you, because your responsibility makes you less free to devote time for your practice, to switch jobs or to travel and stay in solitude if required.

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Friends, if they are just shallow friends, not deep ones, will ridicule you, some may leave. Some friends will get worried, and may insist you see a doctor or psychiatric. Other relatives and acquaintances may start disrespecting you and may start preaching - how you are spoiling your life and causing suffering to your parents and family. Neighbours, co-workers and other unrelated, non-dependent people will suddenly find you strange, they may or may not express it, but they start talking behind your back about how you behave like a weirdo. The only people who react normally to you will be total strangers, because they don’t know what you are up to, however in certain extraordinary cases, even strangers would show their dislike for you. Out of all these people, anyone, anytime may become extremely fearful, angry, jealous and even violent. Now that’s something to worry about, do not underestimate the power of ignorance.

Why people turn into crazies? They don’t, they already are, most of them. Majority are driven by Egoic tendencies, they do behave in a “civilized” way because they were trained that way, but in unexpected situation, all signs of civilization and culture disappear, they show their primitive animalistic face. We perceive this as their craziness. The unexpected situation for parents and partner is your ever deviating nature. You are progressing and discarding anything that is old and rotten, you are getting more self-centered, if not totally selfish. You stop caring for petty stuff, like shopping, mindless festivals, noisy get-togethers, movie shows, drinking or partying etc.

You are detaching, but this is taken as signs of either hatred or indifference towards themselves. In other words, knowing nothing, they assume your behaviour is directed against them. Their Ego reacts by generating fear, they feel you don’t respect them anymore, you are getting rowdy, you are getting irresponsible, and the biggest fear – you may leave them anytime. The last one is the main culprit, because parents and spouse are financially dependent on you (at least in India) and also emotionally dependent, for spouse and children you are also their source of security and safety. They employ all kinds of nasty tricks to keep you providing them what they need. Its not that you don’t provide sufficient anymore, just that they fear so, and actually believe it. Some relatives may not like to see you getting free, when till now you were dedicated to them. You still love them, but unconditionally, but the idea of unconditional love is alien for Egoic persons and terrorizes them like nothing else.

Others start hating you for various reasons. First, you no longer are of their “type” now. Some will avoid you, if you are fortunate, if you are not so fortunate, they will try to “fix” you to make you behave the old way again. Its human nature, people do not easily tolerate differences. Some may suddenly feel that you no longer respect their religion/diet type/fashion style/language/any random stuff they feel is “their culture”. This can happen in countries where dogmatic religions and societies are a norm. You get a label of “rebel” and become a target of ridicule. Well, ridicule won’t affect you much, but some stupid people when they get an opportunity may try to harm you, they see you as a threat, as an enemy of their “culture”. Its wastes times and effort, plus destroys your peace of mind. The obstacle becomes a survival issue for you, killing your practice effectively.

Your superiors or boss may suddenly change their tune, they get threatened by your freedom and tendency to not obey all idiotic orders, especially they are terrified when you point out their mistakes. This will happen as a fruit of your practice, you no longer have a mind that is dull and makes mistakes. This situations makes you their competitor and also of your co-workers. And so they react abnormally. About others, who do not feel comfortable with you, your talks, your views etc. , they get angry for a few reasons – mostly they get threatened by your straightforwardness, your intolerance for stupidity and bondage, your resistance to manipulation and your rebellious and extremely free nature. Nobody likes a person who is superior to them to stay among them, everyone feels comfortable with people of their own status or lower, which can make them feel secure and superior.

What is the solution? Its very tricky situation. You can’t simply kill them or run away and hide. Running away is an option, but its very extreme, especially if you are already deeply entangled in family, marriage, children, job and social life. In modern world, you need stuff, food, medicines, doctors, transport etc. and living away in a cave can be counterproductive, especially in early days of the practice. You’d die within a month, if you are not trained for a solitary lifestyle. Anyhow, if you could stay away from society and relatives, the above obstacles won’t arise. So, the ideal solution is to stay away, although it may not be practical for everyone. Moreover, you don't grow as much if you don't face difficult situations. When you come out of the cave after 20 years, you will be as vulnerable, irritable and intolerant of people as you are now. So face it head on and learn.

A more practical approach is to be highly diplomatic in social situations. First of all, practice and cultivation, your seeking and search for truth and answers to important questions, your path, is your private affair. It need not become public, you need not tell it to everyone, except people you trust, and who are also on some kind of path. Your self-improvement and betterment has nothing to do with others, its your personal and confidential thing. You must walk in society like a river, taking the path of least resistance. It may need to twist and turn, but it reaches the ocean sooner or later. There is no point trying to fix others, you will simply waste your time.

Behave in family as if nothing new is happening. Your practice should look like just another hobby to your family. Joke about it, be very light and show as if you are not serious about it. This will soothe them. In rare cases, some of your relatives may not be that stupid to be fooled easily, in that case you must explain that it is for betterment of everyone, and they all are your first priority. You do not need to pretend or lie, just be diplomatic, behave like others do, you can either genuinely do so, or just act like you have a normal Ego. Get angry, show fear, eat junk occasionally, sip a glass of beer. Do anything that is suitable and does not kill you or does not become an obstacle bigger than your relatives. You don’t need to pretend forever, ultimately an advanced seeker returns to the “marketplace”, ordinary life is also extraordinary. And then, situations change, people change, parents die, partners leave and children grow up and fly away. You see, nothing lasts, not even obstacles.

In workplace, if you are employed, again, be diplomatic. You don’t need to show off your smartness, trying to improve the employer or bosses is of no use for you, it backfires. Trying to improve output will simply make someone else rich, who is perhaps already filthy rich. It wastes your time and energy. Remember that this advice is for a seeker, not for someone who is trying to make a successful career. I take no responsibility if you do not use your discretion here, these tricks are not magic, they do not convert you into a superyogi or something, who need not eat or sleep and can fly around like superman. Ensure your survival, if it depends on a job. Again, nothing is permanent, jobs change, co-workers change and you change.

Anyhow, I do recommend getting self-employed if you have skills and talent. Not only you will be on the top of the food chain, you will earn more and that will leave an ample amount of time to pursue your own path. No one will usually bother you, since you are the owner, and you are free to dump it all anytime and start something else. You no longer remain a slave of the employer. This is something that is more in line with the path, its pure freedom, you see. Be free, do not depend on others for your survival. I must say that this is the most valuable advice I can offer, which is – be independent of the system, stand on your own feet. If you are a woman, read that sentence again, this will be the most important task in your material life, women tend to depend on relatives, partner, employer, children etc. much more, because of the current social situations and poor conditions for women in general. Whether its men or women, I can understand that not all can do that, so even if you can’t be your own boss, you can still continue on the path, just be flexible and diplomatic, do not invite trouble when its not needed.

Those who are not vibrating at your level will leave you, or you will leave them, it becomes painful to be with them, it is ok. The good news is you will get new friends, who resonate more with you. The old must go. Be kind to those who cannot understand you, because if you are not, it will simply destroy your own peace of mind. Again, be diplomatic with others, and also with strangers. You do not need to show off your knowledge, you do not need to constantly bitch about how Egoic and lowly others are, you should not point out their flaws. You were exactly like them not so long ago. People don’t like it, you see. They will react badly, and may end up creating huge obstacles. Just like I said, you are responsible for all the obstacles yourself. Others are just a reflection of your own acts. Your acts have consequences, some consequences turn into obstacles. Be very careful how you act, keep in mind the consequences.

Situations: are events that are beyond your capability to control, and emerge as obstacles on the path. Natural disasters, man-made disasters, accidents, sickness, loss in business, socio-political situations etc. are some examples. We have encountered some strange events that are a creation of your own Mind, those are resistances, but here we are talking about purely random events. What to do if there is a prolonged break in your practice because of such events? It should be obvious that you cannot cure them like any other obstacle we have seen so far. Its stupidity to try to change external situations that are beyond your control. Instead, do what needs to be done. Escape, avoid, run, fight, kill, defend, heal, earn – do whatever works. This is human experience, and not everything is picture perfect here. It becomes an obstacle if you just sit and do nothing or if you resist the situation, deny it, pretend that its not happening. Such attitude is not a mark of a seeker, it’s a mark of a loser. We had discussed opportunities, and such events are opportunities for learning, a test of your sadhana, a practical exam of the skills you have learnt as a result of your fine practice. Impermanence ensures that you will return to the peaceful practice very soon.

Expectations and stupidity: turn into obstacles for obvious reason. You plant a coconut seed and expect a tree full of mangoes. This old metaphor is a good summary of it all. Stupidity affects seekers too in varying degree and yours truly is also an example of it. I expected that my practices will magically convert me into a superyogi within months, and then I can show them who is the boss here. Surely, that didn’t happen, it cannot happen and should not happen. It is just Ego talk. Ego will mess with your practice and path most. Its your arch enemy, unless you ride on it. Check the old pictures of yogis riding on a bull, or tiger or sitting on a tiger skin, or goddesses representing various energies killing ugly demons. You will understand the symbology of them if you understand Ego and what it does to you and your path.

Some seekers waste decades expecting magical results, and when they realize that they are getting nothing, they drop out of the path. Only a handful pick themselves up and continue in the right direction. Some hanker for magical experiences, and completely forget that its the experiencer who they are looking for. You will not gain anything from experiences, except entertainment. This is one of the major obstacle.

How to cure it? Life experiences are a natural cure for stupidity. You fall many-many times and eventually learn the lesson. Check the article on stupidity for some tips. Expectations are cured by a good teacher, who will drive them out of your head in a single blow. A good teacher shows you the plain truth and destroys all your rainbow coloured fluffy dreamy expectations. If you are not fortunate enough to have such a tough teacher, just remember that your practice will give you nothing, it only takes away everything that is superfluous and unclean, unwholesome. Your practice is not there to make you rich, healthy and sexy. These are Egoic expectations. Ego turns any practice into its own agenda, which is survival, sustenance and mating. You will not gain any of that. Of course, these can be offered as fruits of your practice, but you must discard them, throw them away (why? see the section on powers in next part) and continue on the path empty handed, with no worldly burdens on your back to slow you down.

Discussion on obstacles will continue in the next part. If you are a die-hard and survive these puny obstacles, the supernatural awaits you with its own flavours of obstacles, be ready.

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