Years ago, as a child, I remember being herded into a Saint’s presence along with my mother, siblings and scores of strangers vying for the hallowed vision. I recall my confusion at people coming up with questions for the enlightened one and he seemed to be at ease answering them. My mother didn’t put up a question and we left, having benefitted from the ‘darshan‘ alone.
Some years on, when influenced by my immediate circle of friends, I was fascinated with astrology and palmistry, ( I am reminded of a phase when I bought and religiously read books on the two disciplines), I went to a celebrated astrologist of my city, someone who had the reputation of always ‘see’ing through to a person’s future. After an initial analysis of my lines and birth chart, he prompted me to ask questions. I was in a fix. What should one ask? One who believes in karma and one who takes all decisions of life in a precise, calculative, no-nonsense manner, how should such a person ask someone for speculative guidance to her own life?
A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then. Life, responsibilities, challenges have matured me from that moony eyed romantic to a pragmatic skeptic. I have read voraciously all these years and tried looking for answers to life in the written word.
It is true that the question of what lies in the future troubles us at times but it can be fathomed through our educated guesses. What we sow, so shall we reap!
There is a query, though, which I find unsatisfactorily attended to in most books I have read or by people I have spoken to.
Every human being has to play various roles in this life. We are sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends, lovers, husbands, wives, parents, grandparents, professionals, homemakers, neighbours, relatives, citizens; all folded into one multidimensional personality. What I fail to come to terms with is- Which identity to accept? Most of our multiple roles have a tendency of coming into conflict with each other, time and again. We find it difficult to keep all our ducks in a row. We are rarely able to provide a semblance of order to every aspect of our life. A little bit of management is all right for everyone and it doesn’t induce a lot of heartache to relinquish control over or give up on certain unimportant duties, chores or even relationships. But this choice is nearly impossible to make when two or more equally significant parts of our life are pit against each other. It becomes herculean to accomplish everything at once. If we try to put one decision in effect, we sometimes lose another. How do we strike this balance?
I have read that one should learn to put oneself first, that one cannot pour from an empty cup, that one’s happiness attracts all the positive energy and gets things done, that when we are happy we can make others smile too. But these lessons look good in print, I have never been able to really put them into practice.
So, if I have to raise just one query of a ‘holy see’, or a ‘guru’ or any life coach, I would want to know how to perceive myself, so that at least the people and situations important to me in life, won’t suffer? I would ask them when to give in and how much of me to surrender?