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Being Compassionate with Oneself

The current situation that we are all going through makes most of us feel anxious and uncertain. Not surprising, given that none of us has ever faced such a situation in our lives. The answer lies in being compassionate with oneself.

Wave after wave rushing in, crashes and returns to the depths

On a recent visit to the seaside, I found myself standing on the shores, marvelling at the monotonous regularity with which waves came in and receded. They made way for the next wave, and the next, each following exactly the same pattern. For a crazy moment, I wondered how I would feel being a wave?

I closed my eyes and imagined myself originating from the depths of the ocean, rising to the top in some quest, only to reach the shore and break. Crash into it, in fact, and losing my energy in the process and silently receding to the very depths that I came from. I felt a heaviness in my chest and a tightening of the stomach. What sort of a life is this? Wave after wave gets formed, only to crash into nothingness.

I thought of my own existence and became aware of how all anxieties and pains were episodes in this journey. I am born, grow up and gather speed to reach the top. However, like that wave, I rush towards the shore, only to crash and then recede into the nothingness from which I emerged. That tightening of the chest and stomach returned.

Having spent a few moments, I came back to my room, more confused. Was life so predictable? If so, what’s the point of it all? The heaviness in my chest stayed on and I allowed it to do so. Slowly I opened a book of Sufi quotes and came across one from the 13th century poet Jalaluddin Rumi:

“You’re not a drop in the ocean; You’re the entire ocean in a drop.”

I read and re-read it a few times and felt the heaviness slowly vanish and the tightness in the stomach giving way to an ease. Staying on with it, I wondered thus: Why should I see myself as a wave when my true identity is that of the ocean? For, if there is no ocean, there wouldn’t be a wave. And without the waves, there would be no ocean.

So long as I exist in my current form, there will be episodes in the journey that alternate between pleasure or pain as I go inexorably towards the shore. The impermanence of it all dawned and my feeling of ease deepened.

Advaita (non-duality) Explained

Do I really need to put pressure on myself each and every time a painful situation came up? For, these situations are so much more impermanent than my life itself.

Because I am as much the ocean as the wave.

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