One of the things I have heard about myself, umpteen number of times, is that I never used to cry as a child. Aai(my mother) always tells me that, even as an infant, when I woke up from sleep, I would keep playing till someone else woke up to take care of me. So much was the extent of being content or playful that, when she wanted to record my crying, (now why would she want to record that!!), she had to pinch me, to make me cry!!!
Mastikhor(Fun loving) and having a whacko sense of humour, is how I was as a child; and for a large part of my schooling years. Even today, this side of me is one of the most predominant. I had till sometime back, only understood this from a psychological perspective.
A few weeks back my psychodrama supervisor, Sue Daniel, in a discussion, used the phrase “Happy Little Soul”, for the inner child in me.The phrase just stuck in my head and I kept mulling over it.
I had always known that, not all of what we are, is something that we consciously develop and groom. But it dawned on me, that a pretty large part of our personalities has to do with our inborn temperaments and natural traits. Yet, I had almost always looked at personalities from the psychological perspective. I had, somehow, never thought too much about the temperament of the soul with which we are born.
I realised in that moment that the ‘The Happy Little Soul’ is a part of my soul legacy.
My Soul Legacy – a happy state of being
Now, why do I call it a part of my soul legacy? Well, in the past few years, time and again, I have found myself in a “Happy State of Being”; a state where a sense of happiness is experienced and oozing out from all pores of my being. It is more than a state of mind; and is experienced in every atom.
I could be sitting somewhere, doing the most serious stuff and a horrible joke would get concocted in my mind!!! Or, I get up from bed with a huge smile that radiates all over me. Or, while arranging dinner or in the middle of getting something for someone, I suddenly burst into a dance!!! Or, as I quietly do my work, I remember something funny and burst into laughter!!!
It is astonishing to notice that while this state of happiness is such a huge and integral part of me today, it wasn’t so a couple of years back. While my natural state of joy was never actively cultivated in me, it definitely was recovered by me. I never remember telling myself that ‘I want to be happy’ or ‘I choose happiness’. I have never had moments where I have said to myself “From this moment I decide to be a happy person”.
What I have done though, is ask myself, ‘Who was I originally?’
Happiness – the state in which we all are born
Every time I read philosophical lines like “Happiness is a choice” or “Happiness is a state of mind we can develop”, I wonder, isn’t the state of happiness a state in which we all are born? Then, don’t all of us have to reconnect to it within, rather than implant it or cultivate it in us, as if it is something external that we don’t naturally have? For me the journey has been inwards, of reclaiming and re-establishing who I always was.
Today, I don’t have any choice as far as happiness is concerned. It is a constant in my being; and even when I am at my worst or in the “wrongest” situation or at very formal places, humour and laughter will simply come up. As if the happiness in me now is free, with a life of its own and through me it keeps expressing itself.
How does the Soul Legacy sustain?
The next thought that comes up is that if happiness is my soul legacy, how does it get maintained like that in my body, personality and life as of now? Here are some of the answers that spontaneously come to mind.
a) Soul Homeostasis
One of the first things that occurs to me is the concept of homeostasis. Taken from biology, it means ‘the steady state of our body when everything is in balance’. Over a few hours, whenever some component in our body, for example water or energy, reduces in level, our system goes into an altered state called allostasis and starts sending out alarm signals. Based on the signals, when we drink water or have food or rest as required, the body goes back to homeostasis.
Similar to this, I believe that our soul homeostasis is of the happy state and somehow my body and my being know that now. Once I regained and connected to this default setting, without an effort, both my body and being simply began to remain in happiness. Even if there are life events that put me off balance, make me sad or create momentary confusion, I go into an altered state of psychological allostasis and feel miserable for a while. But somehow, the bounce back time is phenomenally fast.
Also, I consciously don’t allow any trouble or issue to turn into suffering. Mostly, in a few hours, I am back to my happy self. Even during times when bouncing back takes longer, I am pretty equanimous about it as I know that just like physical wounds, emotional wounds have their own organic process and time of healing. While they are taking their own time, the soul has its own reality which is happy and indestructible. This soul/life energy takes care that even the worst setbacks do not keep me in the allostatic state for too long.
b) Selective Memory
Secondly, to maintain the soul homeostasis of happiness, the main connected system in me is my memory. It is geared accordingly and flushes out all kinds of negativity. Again, here I have no memory of ever actively telling myself or deciding that I will not hold on to the past or negative events.
Instead what I remember is going back to my roots and, in some ways, becoming childlike. Since I have connected to my default setting or to a time when very less was dented within me, my memory system has simply followed through. From being a person, who had quite a bit of unprocessed bitterness, anger and fear, I have gradually turned into this person, who not only sees no value in negative memories but going one step forward, sees all people connected with positive and negative events in my life as gurus.
All of them came with a purpose but as is with life, the event happens first and then life leaves it to us, as to what all we can learn from it. Today, only concepts or important data that are necessary for teaching, therapy, work and everyday living remain in my long-term memory.
Any difference of opinion, argument, fight or someone having behaved nastily with me, blamed me or disrespected me or I having gotten upset with someone over something; all of it gets flushed out. So much so that, even when I sometimes need to remember certain things about others for self-protection, I forget them. If, after a day or two of some conflict with anyone, they ask me what it was, I may have at the most some vague memory; but all details, especially any feelings of animosity for the other person are gone. Instead, there is almost always an astonished look, which is enquiring, “Really, you and I had a friction? I can’t seem to remember what it was about!”
c) Here and Now
The third thing that automatically followed the first two is that I effortlessly started turning into a ‘here and now’ person. While that was always a characteristic in me, it had been dampened in the years in between. These days, I am often so absorbed into whatever I am doing and wherever I am, that everything else is shut out at that point in time.
If I am gardening, I am with the leaves and chatting up with the plants; if I am spending time with someone, I am fully into them and what joint experiences we could have; if I am having my evening cup of tea, I am one with the flavour and aroma of things.
It rarely happens that I am in one place or with something or someone and a part of me is somewhere else. Minimal part of my energy system is thus blocked or locked somewhere else. Due to this, my energy and involvement levels are very complete. The energy or soul circuit is not broken or skewed. Very often, because I am so totally absorbed in the here and now, I rarely miss people (which a lot of my close ones have complaints about, but that is the way I am built!!)
d) Openness and Dynamism
As a result of all of the above, I am continuously, fully, experiencing new things and allowing them to impact me. It keeps me dynamic and allows me to renew myself. I am open to face, embrace and receive everything that life has to offer, fearlessly. The deep level acceptance of my soul as an indestructible source of energy and of God’s presence in me, gives me the conviction that whatever possible physical or emotional denting might happen, my system will find its way to recover from it, as I embrace life fully.
The way I generally speak of it is ‘Everyday I am becoming ‘M+’, M, of course being the first letter of my name and the + sign meaning growth and evolution of some kind.
As long as I am alive, learning more, expanding, challenging myself and becoming a better version of myself is a given. Just as the soul energy continuously recycles itself and the atoms in our body recycle themselves, my entire being will keep recycling itself and expanding.
This article was first published at the blog From the Brewery of Life
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