The Incredible Lightness of Being

[Originally written on 6-Nov-2016]

I am in Chennai, India for a wedding, and took the opportunity to spend a few hours visiting a place that has been close to my heart for several years. I first visited that place as a shy, unsure, very confused young man nearly 25 years ago, not really knowing what I wanted in life, or even know how to go about finding it. Today, being a Sunday evening, the place was quiet, not many people visiting, and the air was silent, in contrast to a typical weekday evening when the energy of folks returning from work, battling the traffic, and needing to go back homes for some rest – with a sense of restlessness in the environment that is usually very palpable.

 I walked in, removed my footwear, and entered the space specially created for one to go deep inside. I was the only one there, in a space[1] that can typically have more than a thousand people. I took a deep breath, allowing a few seconds to take in the atmosphere, gently closed my eyes, brought my mind’s attention to my heart and let it stay there gently. I sat there in that state for the next hour, my consciousness occasionally coming back to the surface attending to some noise, or an awareness of my physical self, but for the most part there was an overpowering silence and a sense of being merged in an incredible lightness. It was as if I went in just under the surface of a body of water, with the noise at the surface and total silence just a few feet underneath. During those moments of total silence in between the awareness of the self, time stood still in an eternal continuum.

 It was during those first visits many years ago – I experienced two things that changed my perspective on life. The first was when I experienced that stillness inside[2] – and experiences that inner state – Weapons cannot cut It, nor can fire burn It; water cannot wet It, nor can wind dry It., says the Gita. What this did was gave birth to a great sense of inner confidence, not just in my abilities or who I am in this world, but a subconscious feeling that what I am inside is immutable and eternal – beyond destruction or construction, never born, never perishing, infinitesimal and infinite – the indeterminate absolute! This transcendental feeling of connectedness has stayed with me since the first time I experienced it.

 The second and more important was that these visits introduced me to a person[3], whose association and guidance has served me as a beacon throughout my life. He taught me how to breathe when the air was meager, to allow to be moved to tears when touched in the heart, and to stand with courage when the trodden path was not so easy – both personally and professionally. To label this as spiritual guidance, or life-coaching, or mentoring would all be limiting.

 I have been a student of science and technology, and have been fortunate to work with a lot of amazing people, and fascinating minds, and through varying levels of material success through these ventures, the least I got from anything was to have learnt a lot! And that is a tremendous bargain. When we approach life as a lesson, our internal being becomes a learning organization!

 I have learnt that when all your being comes together in an endeavor, that is akin to creation itself, not very different from a bee soaking in the nectar, or the spurt of energy that a marathoner feels in the last mile. Building teams, solving a problem, creating value through productizing a new technology, all partake of that fragrance of the creative impulse of Nature. The times I have produced my best work have been when I have felt unburdened by my past, or the fear of future, that same inner feeling I experienced when I went deep within myself in today’s humid Chennai evening.

 I learnt that true integrity is being fully present in the moment, that courage is using the heart to overcome the fleeting fear, that manner is more important than matter, and approaches that are universal always stand the test of time! All of these and many more such lessons have guided me everyday through my professional career and my approach to life itself.

 When I woke up, I took a few deep breaths, and soaked in that atmosphere again, brooding over my condition at that time. There was an immense sense of gratitude for all that I have received over the years. I see a bird flying, albeit a bit late in the evening hurrying home, I feel that I am already home, for the Home is in my Heart!

 

The author has practiced daily meditation for several years and lives heartfully in Bangalore, India.

[1] Ashram of Shri Ram Chandra Mission, World Headquarters, Chennai, http://www.srcm.org/

[2] Heartfulness, http://en.heartfulness.org/

[3] Chariji, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthasarathi_Rajagopalachari