Saturday, September 27, 2008

Clarity. The Absence Of It

I pride myself in knowing my mind well. No matter what the subject, I usually have opinions. Sometimes, they are based on facts. Even when I know no facts, I still manage to have an opinion based on a gut feeling! It has always been like this, even when I was too young and knew too little to have opinions.

But there are some areas, where there is a clear absence of clarity!

When someone asks “Are you spiritual?” or “Are you religious?” or “Are you orthodox?” there is that long pause in place of the usual quick reply. It becomes very difficult for me to answer. Actually I am not sure.

Having been born in a traditional family where most people know Sanskrit, most people read good, rich literature, most people listen to classical music and some, including yours truly, can even identify a few ragas, I know for sure I am culturally inclined. I have studied (am studying) Sanskrit, read the great Indian epics and learnt classical music. I read a lot of essay type writings and I think a lot. But spiritual (am I)? Not sure…

I have never been perturbed by question like “Who am I?”, “Why am I here?”, “What is my purpose in this world?”…etc…

After having traveled all over the country (thanks to my father’s zeal and of course his transferable job) and thereby having visited every important temple in India I must admit that I loved these temples for their architectural splendour more than a love for God. I never particularly felt any divine calling. Even my favourite God, Krishna is dear to me more because of the character he represents than because of his reputation for being supernatural.

Being a not so well read person and being not so spiritually inclined, I don’t really need to and am not capable of making a clear distinction between the subjects of philosophy, religion, spiritualism, mythology, theology, theosophy and culture etc…

To me they intersect too very often, overlap with one another and are therefore just one subject or at least, they all come under the same umbrella.
Only when you delve deeper, you would need to make a distinction.

My Himalaya trip, everyone exclaimed must have been a truly spiritual experience!
I was inspired enough to have written four poems, two of which are better than the other two. A bell of solemnity resounded within me as I stood alone in the valley surrounded by vast spaces and towering mountains. But I do not know if that is what they call a spiritual experience!

Perhaps I am not too keen to find out. Also there is an uneasy feeling inside at the thought or mention of spiritualism. Read on.

I am an emotional personal – to the extreme, as in all other respects :-)
I am attached to people. There are a few chosen ones, but I am attached to them. I still have old chocolate papers, greeting cards and letters from friends, carefully preserved.
I am attached to myself. I am actually smitten by an excess of self love – which is obvious from the title of my blog. I am possessive of my material belongings. I don’t lend books to anyone. I safeguard my belongings like no one else does. Even if it is a sheet of paper I have lost or misplaced, I am miserable.

Now the pursuit of spiritual success calls for detachment. They also call for denunciation and self denial but that doesn’t disturb me so much. But detachment! The word has such a dry, arid sound to it.

Firstly, I am not capable of detachment.
I am a firm believer – no – an advocate of the principle – no a custodian of the theory, that true happiness in life can be realized only through people and relationships. That being the case, where is the room for detachment?
Was it not attachment that brought out the poetry in me?
Disappointment brought out some more poetry. Was not disappointment a consequence of attachment?

Secondly, if there is some gain, some merit, some benefit in this world or beyond, that entails detachment, then I don’t want that merit, that benefit. I want to be attached. I want to love and be loved immensely.
There has always been a dearth of love and consequently a search for love in life. There has been no other search really.

I am, for sure aware of my heart. My heart rules my mind and my life. It is the cause of (any) suffering in my life but I feel gifted to have such a heart. I am aware of the existence of “my heart” apart from “my mind”. I am aware of its depths. I am aware of its stimuli. I am aware of its language. It speaks to me. I am in touch with it. When I am suffering, I can tell without any doubt if it’s my mind or my heart that’s causing the suffering.
But I am not (yet) aware of a separate existence of a “soul” in me apart from my mind and my heart. Sometimes, I feel that heart and soul are one and the same thing.

To all my spiritually inclined friends, this post perhaps communicates an immaturity on my part as far as my understanding of spiritualism goes. But so be it.

For all you know, may be I am spiritual, may be religious, may be both… it’s just that I have not discovered yet.


Satish said...

the key to happiness is inner peace. Gaining inner peace either through attachment or detachment is just a means......

Many books says detachment is the road to nirvana.....but then even if i am seeking nirvana, am i not attached to it

Still lost in these pondering thoughts....As i am trying to reconcile these thoughts,the phone rings( can we be ever detached from this) and life moves on.....

Drong Wat Pa said...

One can dicide people on Religion and Spirituality into 3 categories: those who are for it, those against it and those who are uncommitted. Most of us fall into the third category.

Sowmya said...

Well said Satish.

Drong Wat Pa, I believe that culture, religion and spiritualism are the foundation of every society and every civilisation. All other learning, whether physics, maths, astronomy or biology must reveolve around metaphysical awareness for a society not to decay.