Finding God

Finding truth in bliss

(I missed writing a post this Monday. My excuse is that I was following my bliss.)

I came across this definition of ‘a calling’ by Max Weber: a task set by God. It is something that is beyond you, above you and within you, something you cannot change even if you wanted to (and you don’t want to). Something that your heart would say if it could speak. In Hinduism, we call it dharma.

Then I came upon this quote by Christian theologian Frederick Buechner: ‘The kind of work God usually calls you to do is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world most needs to have done. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.’

And this one by David Brooks: ‘You don’t ask, What do I want from life? You ask a different set of questions: What does life want from me? What are my circumstances calling me to do?’

And this one by William Damon: ‘All individuals have their own particular callings, reflecting three realities: (1) their own God-given abilities; (2) the world’s need for the services their callings provide; and (3) their enjoyment in serving society and God in their own special ways.’

It all reminded me of the ancient Hindu philosophy of Sat-Chit-Ananda, that is truth-consciousness-bliss. My truth includes my circumstances, my dharma, my soul’s purpose. My consciousness includes that special gift only humans have, that of free will, choosing their actions and taking decisions based on awareness of past and present. And my bliss is, of course, that place of ‘deep gladness’.

The point where they all meet is your destiny. What you were born to do in this life – the point where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

It’s not easy to find one’s deeper purpose in life as long as one is caught in the maya-jaal of life, the rat-race, the meaningless actions and habits, the unnecessary attachments. Sometimes, one needs a little push, a tiny trigger, to set you off on your true path. Until then you are just groping in the dark, unsure of where you are going even though a part of you knows there’s something you need to do.

That brings me to me. I’ve just walked out of my third job in five years. The reasons for them all were different but a quieter space in my heart tells me I had outgrown my lesson in each of them, and it was time to move on. (I’m just a quick learner, I guess.) And so I have begun a new phase of my life, a new journey. There has been SO MUCH grace to help me along the way, so many blessings, an environment that is ripe for inspiration, a history and a story that is the perfect starting point for my future. I am completely content and completely fearless about what is to come, because if there is one thing, okay three things, that nature has taught me, they are (1) You are protected (2) You are deeply loved (3) Everything happens for a reason.

Oh, and here’s a fourth one: There are no coincidences. They are actually signals from the universe affirming that you are on the right path. Once you start following your bliss, finding that place of deep gladness inside you, you are suddenly swamped by coincidences – yesterday I was typing out a message to my brother when he suddenly called to say hi; I was thinking of following up on an old outstanding amount when my bank account pinged a credit transaction; I was wondering if my phone plan had been updated when the inbox beeped, it was the bill, and yes, it had been updated.

And all I had to do was follow my bliss, answer my calling – in my case, writing. Yes, I have been writing a story that needs to be told, writing close to eight hours a day.

Maybe this is the point, the space where my deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

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Seeking God

Clarity despite the white noise

So it’s been ongoing, this discussion with the Voice in my head.

***

“Things have been really great around here,” I said. “All’s really quiet and calm and peaceful. Life is good.”

The best of all monopoly profits is a quiet life, the Voice replied. The economist JR Hicks said that, not me. So enjoy yourself.

“But is this the purpose of life? To quietly enjoy oneself as time goes by? To sit here reading all day, writing all day, doing a bit of laid-back work and being paid for it?” I probed.

And why not?

“Because it’s too easy,” I said. “I thought life is a struggle, that we have to fight for our happiness.”

But you’re happy, so what do you need to fight for?

“Precisely. Aren’t I supposed to be fighting for something?”

Who says so? Who made up these rules?

“I don’t know. I just thought that’s how things worked. That we are supposed to do our samsaric (worldly) karma and all that. Fulfil our social obligations, get a gruelling job, make a lot of money, take our kids on foreign holidays, all that. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?”

Think of the Gita class you attended today at the Aurobindo ashram. What did Krishna say to you in that? About your Swadharma?

“Our Swadharma (supreme duty) is to follow our Swabhava (inner calling),” I recalled. “Our purpose in being alive is to follow our nature, our calling, our inner voice. Even if it comes at a cost to our social obligations or our ‘shoulds’ and ‘supposed tos’.”‘

So what does that tell you? Are you following your Swadharma based on your Swabhava?

“I am tranquil by Swabhava. This quiet life suits me wonderfully. I can spend time with my loved ones, I can sit and read books all day, this is nirvana. But is this my real Swabhava or is this an escape? Is this my real Swabhava or sheer laziness?”

What else did Krishna say? What do you do if you don’t know your real Swabhava?

“He said that then there is only one Swadharma and that is to find our real Swabhava and thus Him,” I said, with wonder as realisation dawned on me. “The entire purpose of my life is to find my real Swabhava, to find Krishna within me. And then to dedicate the rest of my life to that.”

Will getting back in the corporate rat race or fighting for someone else’s definition of happiness take you closer or further from that mission?

“I don’t know yet. I suspect not. But I am too happy and comfortable right now to bother to find out.”

So do then what comes most naturally to your Swabhava. Don’t fight for the sake of it. Don’t expend energy for the obligation of it. Seek your Krishna, your real calling. That’s all Life wants from you. Everything else is white noise.

***

So it’s been ongoing, this discussion with the Voice in my head. I noticed today, though, that it all happens in silence.