Just as life we live on the surface is a journey without, in the world, though multitudinous experiences, good and bad, faith is a journey within, into the deeps, diving into soul. Majority of people, however, are not able to cling to faith while living life and find solace in it.
Expeditious life of the present day leaves people physically and emotionally drained. All of us have a fair share of challenges and bogging down moments in life. Modern life, in particular, where most people are obsessed with chasing material comforts, is characterized by growing individuality and shrinking inter- personal bonds between people. The social institutions of family and religion which used to tie people in a homogeneity few generations back, have eventually ossified in the wake of a consumerist and the West- inspired way of life. Most of our societal and extended family associations have become extremely superficial.
Dissonant with our traditional value system, we have ended up imbibing the Western values of smaller families, self- dependence, social alienation and materialism. This is especially true in corporatized metropolitans. The fallouts of this fragmented lifestyle are loneliness as well as several psychological disorders. A WHO report released in 2017 stated that one in four children in the age group of 13-15 years in India suffer from depression. This is equally true of people in the middle-age bracket. These psychological anomalies were relatively lesser a decade before as people would find emotional security in their social group.
With material accomplishments being regarded as indispensable, there is a pervasive competitive spirit among friends and relatives. Interpersonal envy drives people towards material goals relentlessly. The community sentiment which used to provide comfort and cohesion for people has yielded place to material competitiveness and isolation.
What offers one solace and emotional integrity in such a ruthless social system is faith in a higher power. Faith instills inner peace and emotional empowerment. All religious philosophies across the world cultures provide this emotional succor in some manner or another. It is almost like a wall to fall back upon in times of restlessness and insecurity. Different strokes for different folks, my rendezvous with Buddhist stream of belief has in fact proved to be a turning point in my life.
Among all other liberating and noble tenets of this philosophy, the one which I was magnetically drawn towards is the virtue of praying for those who have hurt us. Though realistically it is extremely challenging to forgive and be humane towards people who have caused us emotional agony the power that this all-forgiving sentiment- such praying for the happiness of those who wronged us-generates is invincible which cannot be crushed out of existence, no matter, how deadly the blows they deliver. Besides, it cleanses the soul, leading it towards the Ultimate in the ephemeral life.
I found it nearly impossible to follow in the beginning. However, the mental strength which I have experienced through regular chanting and meditation has enabled me to translate this thought into practice. Exculpating those who have wronged us clears our subconscious mind of toxic feelings like hurt, anger and revenge. Emotions boxed up in our subconscious are bound to trigger restlessness and anxiety at some point of time. Sometimes we are unable to comprehend the real reasons behind these bouts of anxiety. No amount of self-assurance or professional counseling can help us overcome these psychological frets unless we begin to heal from within. Inner healing and positivity can only be achieved through forgiving. Letting go of all the inter- personal grudges by restoring faith in the karmic philosophy is the only conduit to achieve this. This enables us to grow healthier, stronger, happier from within.
Mental peace is non- negotiable for a healthy and fulfilling life. This can be attained by cultivating faith in the universal natural power, which sustains life. Peace and liberation come by letting go of all feelings of envy or revenge. Ultimately, life is a transient journey where things are passing from moment to moment, inexorably. Everything we own here would one day pass into the Void of Nothingness. What would remain is the central part of our being-the soul- where the immanent Divine dwells which moves from birth to birth. We must unify all other parts of the being around this centre, harmonize the mental, vital, physical around it so that all the activities of the being turn into the correct expression of the will of the Presence Divine. One can realize that it is not the soul that suffers, it is the surface mind that does. This is because the contact of the outer with the inner is not yet firmly established. When it is established even partly one would start drowning in an ecstasy of bliss which is unfathomable, indescribable, without space/time, boundless, infinite. Life is worth living while marching towards this final destination, shedding the baser sentiments, one by one day after wonderful day.
(The writer is a former officer of Government of Uttarakhand)