The God and the Devil, the Good and the Evil, all reside within. How easily we are shaken. How easily duped. How easily the ground beneath our feet shifts. I cannot speak for others but this holds true for me.
I am working on moving in the right direction. But it is not easy. In the two things to understand and fulfill one's purpose in life amongst a host of other things is self-evolution and doing something absolutely selflessly. Absolutely selflessly is important because we do not want to position ourselves on a high moral ground after the act. Self-evolution is a work in progress. It needs years of practice and maybe will take lifetimes for me to conquer.
Case A: This past one week I have swayed. I have had doubts. My faith has been shaken. I am guilty but not overly troubled because I think I need tests at regular intervals to make me stronger. I had family visiting last week. They were here for just 4 days. The y are loving and the best realatives one could possibly have but they are also the kind of people who love good things in life. Who doesn't? They believe that a person is defined by the things they own and the things they achieve. The appearance, lifestyle, material success as in position, pay package, awards, titles make a person. They spent hours trying to a buy a couple of jackets for themselves, sweating it out so as not to be outdone by anyone in their community. They bought thousand of dollars worth of electronics not because they really needed it but because a couple of people they knew posessed the same. Everything they did was not done for true personal pleasure. The pleasure was lost in the race of outshining, out competing everyone. Although they do not know that as of now.
By the end of their shopping spree and their advise of how we should own some 'really good/best' things in life. Best is such a relative term. I really don't know what that means. They egged us on to attain, achieve and acquire more. All in material terms. By the end of their shopping spree, I began thinking my black woollen jacket which is perfectly fine actually was lacking somehow. I was suddenly very aware of the things I own, what I wore etc etc etc. I mentioned this to my husband who immediately got peeved at my 'weak-heartedness'. Though later he sheepishly mentioned that all the gadget buying tempted him to think of buying some for himself too.
Case B: Thanks to the social networking sites I re-connected with a couple of college friends who I intend to meet sometime in the coming weeks. While talking to them, I was not sure how I felt when answering the question "what did you do or what have you been doing?" Because I guess today it does not matter if you loved and married and had children. I have a sneaking suspicion that amounts to nothing. And considering that I excelled academically makes it even more bewildering to others and sometimes to me too. Today I also found out through a social networking site yet again, that one of the classmates has been promoted and is re-locating to Geneva. Since I outperformed all of them in college, I cannot deny the seeds of self doubts sprouting within about all the decisions I have taken so far. I suddenly found myself lacking and inadequate.
So (sigh, a loud resounding sigh) both the case scenarios prove three things.
1. Regular 'Swadhyaya' is an absolute must to stay focused. Swadhyaya defined as study of true inner self and respect to others while remaining dedicated to the highest ideals and goals. Upanishads and Geeta all advise regular Swadhyaya.
2. One needs to keep the right company. Like minded individuals must be there to fall back upon when we might need to clear our heads after such incidents.
3. I have been practicing Swadhyaya for 3 plus years now. With some level of understanding only for the last one year and still I falter and am not completely sure-footed. So practice, practice, practice, I must.
The God and the Devil, the Good and the Evil reside within me. The power to choose between the two, also lies with me. So choose wisely I must. And endeavor for the right balance of knowledge, feelings and actions.