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by Ritambhara Nand ritambhara nand
Self Development

I lived in a world where people and societal affairs kept me occupied even when I dozed off to sleep. Days and days were spent in a similar manner. In between, I came across some of the moments when I was in touch with my shadow. A series of questions pushed me into a dark, unseen, unheard world.

I feel scared in that space. Simply because I am not certain of what might rise to the conscious realm. That hidden unconscious realm breaks me apart; it shatters what I used to call my “true self." My mind is threatened by this environment. Instead, it feels extremely comfortable by the environment made by beliefs, conditioning, scripts, labels, overridden by doubts, conflicts, and repeated patterns. There is a continuous thrust for resolving issues, creating problems, finding solutions. Then again, creating problems and working on its solutions.

The mere identity of the mind thrives on this very aspect! Do you see this as your “real self”? We all have this identity with the self that drives us to play subtle games with ourselves and others. We uphold a frame in our mind; put everything fancy in that picture. Our grandeur or dullness, vastness or insignificance exists in this frame we create. Look closely, we all hear of people who had all the power, money, fame to them and eventually got lost in their own darkness. They lost themselves in this very materialistic comfort they had created. Celebrities, politicians, entrepreneurs, business men…even you and me.

It is very easy to watch others and judge that pattern, but take a closer look at yourself. You may not be a celebrity or somebody with lot of money and fame, but there is this certain power that you possess at your work place or home or social circle that takes you on a similar trip. Watch those subtle ego trips in your day to day life. Who plays what role? Do you play the role of a wife for whom the power center is kitchen? For children, the power center might be the emotional bond that leads the parents to give in to any wish or demand. Each of these ego trips grabs your attention and reinforces their importance as “I.”

Psychologists speak about this part of human behavior as “Id,” which is considered the most primitive and instinctive component of personality, consisting of all inherited (i.e. biological) components. Human behavior is a result of these impulses. Let us understand this “I” or “Me” as a desire to control or possess that can be traced back in history. What we create for ourselves and others starts from a single piece of thought and eventually runs a movie in our life. Everything in life is then consummated by the “I” or “ME”. It becomes this center of focus, and we are highly attached to it. This center belongs to us.

Since we already understand that this aspect of personality has been instinctive, you might not consider it wrong or even think of it in your daily life. But here, as I write, I will bring forth a new dimension i.e. disengagement with “I” ness or “My” ness. Let me elaborate further with a very simple example that everyone can relate to. If the ownership of running life belongs to you, what brings you down to the dark valleys? The same sunshine that lit up your personality once, now hurts you. It is the same world that was created by “Me.”

In spite of being surrounded by all materialistic comfort, you choose to lock yourself up in a room that does not allow anything inside. This phase of stagnation or distress that each one of experiences at some point in life is a clear indication that we live through our comfort zone. In absence of it, we tend to disassociate ourselves with any event or environment.

Let us go a level deeper: this comfort zone is very individualistic. Our connotations of happiness, sorrow, sadness are extremely personal to us. What makes one person sad might make another happy.

So what is the whole idea of me, mine or our happiness? Sadness or Possession? Please close your eyes and recall any unpleasant event in your life. Some examples might be:

“I am extremely depressed because my boyfriend/girlfriend broke up with me.”
“I could not get into the top university.” 
“I feel uncomfortable because my best friend lost 10 kgs, but I didn’t lose any.” 
“I feel sad because I could not pursue my heart’s desire.” 
“I feel embarrassed that all my friends have more money than me.”

Now, remove all the “I” or “Me” from the statements mentioned above or examples you thought of. What is left behind are mere events in life. They may be sad or happy events, celebratory or sorrowful, but they are just a few of the billion stories shaping this world. It is your association to any event in life that gives meaning to it. 

“I feel slightly uncomfortable and jealous as all my friends because they got selected by the best companies with excellent salaries whereas I’m still at the same state as I’ve been for years.”

When one removes the “I,” the associated emotion of discomfort is automatically erased. What is left behind is the event that “A, B, C friends are doing very well in life.” This is when emotion will instantly change to feeling very happy and delighted as people around you are happy in their life. Even more, since they are my friends, I will consider them my own extension. As I admire the feelings of achievement and worthiness inside them, I instil the same achievement and merit for myself. As I see them growing, I will experience the same growth inside me. However, do not consider this a technique or defense mechanism to make you feel better. Rather, this is merely a way of life that allows you to achieve the highest credentials in terms of materialism and spirituality. The greatest gift is to realize that the goal that one desires or strives for is created by some energy or force. You cannot label this force as “I” or “Me.”

Do people hold the responsibility for bringing trauma into their lives?

You are in an extremely playful mode standing by the sea, surfing and swimming, but you never know what is coming. As a soft wave hits, you turn and fall into water. You enjoy playing this game with nature. But, what if a big wave suddenly hits you and takes you miles away into the deep ocean where you find yourself struggling for life. Who do you blame? Each day, we are hit by such waves, moving us a step closer to inspecting life in full spectrum.

Now, imagine a pendulum. See the pendulum sway back and forth from one end to another. It swings again and again; forever wandering in the hallways of monotony. When gravity pulls and hits hard, it is forced backwards as much as it moves forward. An individual moves in the similar manner, both the poles of pleasant and unpleasant event take the person to extreme ends. Immense happiness and immense sadness come along in the same realm.

What if you could see your movement slowing down? You see yourself being in a state where both extremes do not seem to affect you. When you swing, it will be from a state of ecstasy and sheer bliss.