Saturday, December 24, 2011

Letting go...

I have difficulty in dealing with people who try to control my life. Who ask me to do certain things which I am not willing to do. My initial response to these requests (which I interpret as "orders") is a form of psychological reactance---I will do opposite of what is asked of me or defiantly refuse to comply. Being an Indian and raised in a conservative brahmin family, I am expected to be an obedient daughter, daughter-in-law, wife ....but I have resisted all forms of control. Fortunately for me, my husband pretty much lets me do whatever I am interested in, and has supported my pursuance of meditation--which includes long absences from home. However, I have not been comfortable with requests from my mother, and resist what I see as attempts to control my life.

My practice of meditation helps me resolve this kind of situation as well. Initially, so enamored I was with Vipassana meditation, that I totally refused to perform rituals of prayer and puja or visit temples. If I did so, I would do it with reluctance. Now, having a much better understanding of the practice as well as the traditions and rituals I was raised in, the conflict is minimized greatly.My teachers in meditation always enquired about my family and advised that I never quarrel or neglect family responsibilities in my pursuance of the path. Addressing the conflicts that sometimes seem to arise in visiting temples and the meditation practice which is devoid of rituals, the teacher in my last 30 day course in Jaipur said---Radhi, when you can give metta to all beings in this universe, small and big, visible and invisible, why can't you share that metta with with gods and goddesses in temples and the invisible beings there? That resonated very well with my thoughts as well, and erased the few traces of reluctance I might have had in visiting temples.

However, two days ago when my mother called and asked me to visit the temple on a particular day along with my entire family, my old self popped up its resistance to orders and control. Being the good, polite daughter that I was, I gave a non-committal answer. I struggled with the request for about an hour or so, and then suddenly stopped--I realised how attached I was to my ideas, my views, my opinions. I realised that I had no problems going to a temple, my resistance was what I perceieved to be my mother's attempt at control--telling me what I should do on a particular day. I decided to let go of that perception. I decided to get dis-engaged with my interpretations, my thoughts and my opinions. Ah! what freedom there is when one is willing to let go! I happily went to the temple with Raja and Pavithra and covered a few more errands before returning home.

While the above incident required some deliberate effort in order to put in practice my new awakening, in some other instances, it is relatively smooth and effortless. As when I causally ran into an ex-colleague at my university and she looked away when I greeted her. For a fraction of second, I felt insulted and my mind was about to start interpreting the incident in negative ways and I effortlessly changed it with thoughts of compassion. Maybe she has some problem? why would she ignore me otherwise? May she come out of her difficulties....The next day I happened to meet her again at a common friend's Christmas party and while she looked a trifle sheepish, I could respond with the same warmth and care as I always had in previous occasions. Liberation! liberation from the bondages of emotions and attachment.

I could see the gains of my last course at Jaipur being sustained in my life outside of the course.

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