I wrote a while ago about patterns in life. This year is still young, but already I think I’m seeing a pattern forming for 2014. Renunciation is a value built into all of Hinduism, although the emphasis of what should be renounced often varies.
I mentioned in another post a little about the stress I’ve been under. If I can be honest this has been a very telling test regarding where I am with renunciation, or at least the “letting go” part of it. Self-assessment is a huge part of progressing as a human and a soul. Most people don’t like that aspect of their journey. At times I don’t either, but looking back I’ve never been sorry to have first reflected on some trait I possess(ed) and then adjusted accordingly. I think this “letting go” might be another instance of this.
A few weeks ago I spent most of my Sunday at an abhyasi’s (abhyasi = godbrother / godsister) house in an all-day / extended satsangh. Usually when this occurs (about once a month, next Sunday being March’s long satsangh), we start with an hour-long meditation, followed by an hour of discussion/study, followed by an hour or so of eating and “relaxing,” followed by another hour of discussion/study, and then wrap up with another hour of meditation. During the extended day the topic of stress came up in relation to our discussion on attachment and renunciation. One person, a local prefect, shared something he’d heard from a friend who had visited a shrink of some sort. He shared that the definition of stress is “when reality and expectation don’t match.” (I think that could also be a definition of what a surprise is.) He then also shared three things that can help a person be less affected by stress when their expectation doesn’t meet reality. I don’t plan to include those here.
This simple definition couldn’t be truer for me, much of the time. I often have an idea of how things should or might go, and not always – not often really – when reality doesn’t mirror what I thought I’m like, “WTF?” With work this is particularly true. I expect to be trained on the responsibilities placed on my shoulders. When that training is really – very – muchly deficient, my expectation is no longer matching (or able to match) reality and my mind automatically begins whirling a bit, considering so many things. The natural result of that kind of nonsense is stress.
I say this is natural because it really is a natural part of life – not the crummy training, but stress in general. Life probably wouldn’t be possible without it. Still, the human mind can be a real bitch and one of it’s favorite egoic tricks is misery. Stress comes to us, in a bajillion different forms, so that we respond in a way that keeps things moving. This is where stress is good for life in general. But the human mind will grab onto something related to our challenges and recycle it. It won’t let go unless you’re entirely apathetic or have trained your mind well. I might be making excuses (I’m not), but I have to wonder if this has anything to do with me being drawn to Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga – both deal much with the mind and learning to master it and consequently everything it touches, which is nearly everything.
As this year ages, and I do also, I’m sure I’ll find ample opportunity to test and develop the renunciation and detachment (mental, emotional, …personal) needed to meet my own challenges and keep moving. Certainly, my wish is the same for you.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha