The vital power of self-work
Life Positive|June 2020
The vital power of self-work
Suma Varughese asserts that there are no shortcuts to enlightenment. Working diligently on yourself is the only way.
Suma Varughese

While we all have varying ideas about spirituality, at its core, it is only this one thing: self-transformation; or the end of suffering, as the Buddha called it. That’s it.

It is not about having visions, astral travel, clairvoyance, opening your third eye, or raising your kundalini (latent energy, in yoga). It is much more than that. It is to heal ourselves fully. To realise our full potential. To transcend the ego. To come to terms with our past. To be immune to the pulls and pressures of the body and mind. And above all, to feel no pain. No hurt. No matter what anyone does or says, we will be unfaltering in our composure. Krishnamurti once told his audience. Do you want to know my secret? The audience was agog. And this is what he said, “I don’t mind what happens.” So simple, and yet so tremendous.

Spend a minute thinking about how your life would be if you did not mind what happens. Coronavirus. Broken relationships. Environment crisis. Financial difficulties. Health problems. Conflict within. Still not minding what happens. Can you be in allowance of all that happens? Resting peaceful and easy like a dewdrop on a lotus leaf?

You might ask, is it even possible to live like this? Indeed yes. Others have done it. Why can’t we? All the great prophets and sages are testimony to this possibility.

So how do we get there? Through self-work. It is very tempting to imagine, while on the path, that we only have to look deep into a guru’s eyes and we will be healed of all our mind-stuff. Or that we will simply and automatically get to that stage without much effort on our part. It is true that Life will heal us of some wounds, but if we want to wrest the most precious gift of Existence, which is liberation through self-transformation, we will have to put our all into it. Nothing less will do.

Take responsibility

It all begins with the realisation that we alone are responsible for our lives; that we create our own reality. The thoughts we think, the feelings we feel, the physical sensations that assail us— in other words, the components of our inner world—determine our outer world. This truth is also called the Law of Attraction. We attract whatever we vibrate with. If our vibrations are on the level of anger, hurt, fear, and shame, we will attract events, circumstances, and people that give us more of that. The more elevated our vibrations, the better will our circumstances become. So, it is our inner world that we need to set in order.

There are, thankfully, innumerable paths we can choose as our vehicle of self-transformation. The path you choose must resonate with your disposition and inclination. A doer would be most comfortable on the path of Karma, where one serves humanity unselfishly. A feeler would be irresistibly drawn to the path of Bhakti, where love for God is the magnet that pulls one ever closer to transformation. A thinker would be most at home with the Jnana Path, for it enables one to think and ponder over the insights and truths of life until they become a part of their experiential knowledge. Then there are other more nuanced paths that club together many elements that enable the seeker to fine-tune and change every facet of their being. The best of these are the eight steps of yoga (ashtanga yoga)and the Buddha’s eight-fold path. Whatever the path, self-work is an essential auxiliary tool.

Focus on your inner world


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June 2020