Last week, I talked about the first part of my three-pronged mantra focusing on other peopleís happiness, my growth and the moment. This week, weíll explore the other two.
Focussing on the otherís happiness made me grow. Each time I succeeded in overcoming my resistance to doing something for someone, or giving precedence to the otherís point of view, I expanded a tiny bit inside. This explains the second part of the mantra. The Buddha calls this kind of growth swimming upstream, for it goes against our natural inclination to put ourselves first. This growth is also synonymous to maturity. I soon found that in actuality one could live in a state of absolutely no conflict both within and without, if oneís focus were on other peopleís happiness and on growth. No matter what the other did or said or asked for, one could take it in oneís stride, for it held the opportunity for my growth and happiness.
I lived in that state for nearly a year, but then let it go, for I wanted to find a way of being naturally in that state of mind, instead of inducing it.
Believe me, I have been nine years on the task and I still have not got to that state of mind I invoked so effortlessly at one time. Today, I am wonderstruck as to how I managed to get into a state that I find so inhumanly difficult now. But it also teaches me all the intermediate states necessary to focus on the otherís happiness. The first thing is to go beyond all need, because as long as one is caught up in needs, whether mental, physical or emotional, one is not receptive to the other. We know it in our daily lives. A colleague says something and we flare up, unable to control our reaction or to see if there is any truth in what he says. We spend our whole lives resenting the demands put upon us, or resenting the way others treat us simply because we do not feel complete within ourselves or feel ourselves to be capable of handling any situation.
Only when we move into a level of unconditional acceptance of ourselves do our needs dissolve.
To reach that level of unconditional acceptance in turn, means, deconditioning ourselves of all our fears, doubts and negative experiences. It is to purge ourselves free of the past and therefore approach the present in a state of absolute newness, with no preconditioned notions.
This brings me to the third part of the mantra, being in the moment. This is a remarkably dynamic state to be in. I only manage to get there for brief fractions of time yet, but I am enthralled by the state. To be fully in the present means to focus the full range of oneís consciousness into the pinpoint range of the moment. Nothing else matters, not one thought, not one doubt, not one reaction. When one gets to that level of intense focus, one can actually feel energy flow within you. Operating in the moment means to crunch down into the here and now, not to put your focus either in the past or future. You are fully absorbed by whatever the moment offers, whether it is eating a slice of bread, looking at a sunset, reading a book or talking to a friend. Neither past nor future exist. One is simply and fully in the now. Imagine the level of intensity and efficiency available to you from such a space. It is no wonder that enlightened people are so efficient. How can they not be when their mind ware working in full capacity, instead of being hijacked hither and thither like ours is.
This then is the technique that I use. I donít actually know when I will be in that state on a full-time basis, but I am now increasingly enjoying the journey. Each moment intensifies my commitment to my mantra, and in turn takes me further towards achieving it.
BY SUMA VARUGHESE
Read Part 1