In my last article, on God and Godliness, I had shared my experiences from childhood into Adult life, with learning about God and Godliness. Continuing further, I am sharing the evolution I went through in my thought process, specially post my entry into the world of Psychotherapy.
My journey into becoming a Psychotherapist started with an intense effort to know myself. The first year was about my processes, getting significant insights on what makes me tick, my behavioural patterns, my relationship struggles, my belief windows, and my unaware, subconscious decisions on what life was and my coping mechanisms.
Phew! That was the toughest part of the journey – overwhelming, scary, bewildering! While I was able to better my relationships with others with minimum effort, I had to bend backwards to get deeper in contact with myself.
I was now ready for the peeling off – layer by layer, that took me into the deep recesses of myself, slowly but steadily inching towards the core.
Delving Deeper into myself
What did ‘delving deeper’ mean to me? It meant reflections; looking at all the fragmented parts of self and being brutally honest with myself! Here is how I embarked upon the peeling off.
In one of the self-development workshops I attended, a question was asked that drove like a nail, deep into my thinking – Where is it written that life must always be fair? Where is it written that I must have answers to everything?
The penny dropped! I have had it written in my own handwriting inside my own head! Later, I read a newspaper column on low-tolerance attitude. I looked around and saw how comfortable life is for the current generation; and how, therefore, they had absolutely zero tolerance for the slightest of disappointments.
One of the values that I insist on passing on to my children is the ability to accept a ‘no’ – a simple plain ‘no, you can’t go to your friend’s house today’, or ‘I can’t give you so much money’.
I realized that when I can’t take a No, when I am uncomfortable because life is throwing a couple of challenges at me, then the child in me starts looking for magical intervention.
Knowing that it is beyond my power, I turn to God – the concept of God with which I was raised – the miracle maker who wields the wand that will poof-poof my difficulties; not to mention that
I was an avid fan of Grimm’s Fairy Tales as a child. I was praying to God to send me my own prince with the glass slippers, my own hero on a horseback, my own frog that will transform into a prince!
The Eye Opening Experience
The more I tried to find answers in books and through discourses, the farther I drifted from truth, from the core of myself. I had the ‘aha’ moment when I realized that I was using the same lens to look at questions and answers, problems and solutions, seeking and finding. I chucked the lens away!
I opened my eyes to the world around me that helped in delving deeper into myself. I learnt to look at the vast expanse all around me; and started listening to the whisperings from within me. I stopped trying hard to find a mid-path between religion and philosophy; and stopped thinking superstitiously.
Instead, I trained myself to think radically. I did not find answers and solutions, but I found the equanimity to hold myself through distress; to contain my emotions while they ebbed and flowed.
That was a new experience – mentally more grounded, emotionally more stable and spiritually more spontaneous.
- I found liberation from conditioning beliefs.
- I was able to follow traditions without being ritualistic.
- I prayed without an agenda, without an ask.
- I connected with the higher cosmic energy from within.
- I surrendered to the unknown power that is beyond my comprehension.
- I accepted that which was!
In my here and now
- I celebrate festivals and functions as a rich and interesting tradition, not as a religious ritual. This helps me stay connected to my roots and in showing my children their roots.
- They are never forced to believe or follow anything. By doing this, they get to know their roots, while they have the permission to experience life in their own, unique manner.
- I listen to the God inside me – the God that whispers to me and guides me in times of stress and conflict. When I fail as a human, the voice guides me back on track.
Finding God within
I read a beautiful anecdote somewhere: A man was in penance – God appeared – the man got a promise from God that God would always accompany the man 24/7 – God agreed. When the man walked along the beach, he turned around and saw two sets of footprints in the sands and felt pleased that God was keeping up his promise.
He came to a steep cliff with a narrow path just enough for one person to walk through; he went through with caution and reached safety. He turned back and found only one set of footprints; feeling disappointed and angry, he called God and asked him, ‘that was the most dangerous walk through, and you deserted me’?
God smiled and said, “I was there with you all along dear man, I carried you across, those are my footprints”!
Isn’t that so typical of the human nature? It wants what it wants, in the way it wants, from the source it wants at the time it wants – so much that when it is given in any other form or time, it fails to receive and acknowledge! What goes around comes around, is sacrosanct – but not from the same person in the same manner.
So, I keep myself open to receiving abundance the way it comes to me. And when God said to the man that he was carried across, I realized that we all have a God inside of us that guides us through rugged cliff paths. I allowed myself to trust that part.
Realisation and Learning by Delving Deeper
So, my learnings from delving deeper into myself are –
- I know it’s the God in me that acts when I help a fellow being; when I forgive someone who hurt me; when I show kindness to someone in anger; when I share my blessings with someone in need; when I spend time with someone who is lonely; when I live and let others live!
- I experience the God in me when I accept my mistakes, embrace my imperfections, and own my failures.
- I feel God in the arms of my beloved, in the kisses of my children and in the presence of my parents.
- I know it’s God who guides me through conflicts and lets me find options.
- I realize the God in me when I live by values; when I know there is no fear, shame or guilt in what I’m doing; when I know I’m not hurting anyone by my words or actions; and when I accept that I have indeed hurt someone and sincerely apologize.
I could go on and on! The God inside me is limitless and transcends all boundaries.
Having said so much, I ask myself, ‘why do I still write God with a capital G’? That is a tradition I like to follow; and when I follow traditions, I feel warm and glowing from within!
On a Lighter Vein:
How would I feel being the CEO of the entire world?!! Once again, I recall two schoolgirls talking. One told the other, “don’t do wrong things; my teacher told us that God is always watching you; if you did wrong things, you will be punished”!
Chithra Vijay is a Psychotherapist in Transactional Analysis and Psychodrama.She integrates spirituality and mindful living, both in her personal and professional practice. Click here to know more about her.
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