Recently, I read a trilogy, ‘Conversations with God’ by Neale Donald Walsh. These also came to me in answer to my prayers. I always relate to God as a presence in front of me and I call him my father, grandfather or friend or brother or whatever I feel like. I sometimes felt I got his advice in the form of thought waves. This was explained in these three books, much to my astonishment.
My experience with these books was incredible. The author seemed to ask every single question I had been asking God and more and pat came the answers from God himself. Yeah, I could believe it. I felt I had reached a rosy world where everything was beautiful, there was no right or wrong, and whatever you do, you finally reach God. For many years now, I have been against the concept of a punishing God, and the concept of hell. It was all there, in black and white. I was thrilled.
In the meanwhile, my study of the self continued. For the past one and a half years, I have been religiously training myself not to pass judgements. I don’t like to say it was difficult but it was. Every moment of our staying awake, we pass judgements. It is never, ‘I don’t like something,’ but that, ‘something is ugly.’
I hope you see the difference. There are different things in the world. You have total right to choose what you want and also to choose what you don’t want. You are welcome to say that you don’t like something. It’s absolutely normal. You are not required to like everything because it is created by God and is co-existing with you. But the difference lies in just letting go of it because you don’t like it and not passing stringent comments on it. Why not? The answer again is quite logical. When you keep expecting people to live up to certain expectations of yours [by what right, I don’t know], the chances are you are bound to be disappointed. Because that other person is a different entity with a mind of his/her own. He need not agree with you. You do the expecting and blame him for disappointing you. This happens especially when parents try to live their dreams through their children.
The next thing that happens is, we keep the same yardstick for ourselves and when we are unable to meet the standard, we are bogged down with guilt, fear and a lack of self-esteem. Then what happens to your self-value? It is either zero or in the minus.
This is what I realized when I went for my second yagna sometime in September last. I realized that I had no love for myself at all. I constantly felt guilty about something or other and always fell short of my own expectations. My habit of passing judgement on others had become a problem for myself. I was doing the same to myself. Now that I was on the quest for becoming non-judgmental, I realized my lack of love for myself. Believe me when I say I was shocked. I thought, how was it possible, I have such a high opinion about myself. The reply was that while that may be so, still loving myself was something different. I had a high opinion, which had a number of conditions coming along with it. Loving unconditionally was a totally different story.
But the classes helped and I was on the next step of my Quest.
The result was that I was at constant war with my husband. Please don’t laugh or be shocked. He is a typical Indian male. Quite pampered, used to being waited on hand and foot and not showing any kind of appreciation. Recently, he also had been facing a lot of tensions and hence, he had taken to telling me off every time he was irritated. I was something in the lines of a scapegoat. This used to happen very often. I used to never object [even though I felt extremely hurt] since I thought that he had to get his suffering out in some way.
Now after the classes, I really understood the muhawara, ‘do thaali baja tho hi awaaz nikalthi hai’ (Sound is heard only when both the hands clap). Up till now, he had been doing the shouting and I, just the listening. Now this new love for myself would just not allow anyone to abuse me. I rose like a tigress defending myself, much to the shock of my husband. He did not know what had come over me. He asked me whether this was what they had taught at the yagna. I watched myself dispassionately as usual and wondered at the change. But I was very clear that he should not abuse me. He stopped saying much after that but his thoughts were obvious and they still had the power to hurt me. My first instinct was to blame him but deep down I was very clear about one thing. If I was suffering, then in some way I was to take responsibility for it and not shift the blame on to him. Like for eg. If I thought he was wrong, I can just declare that he is wrong and I should be able to let go of it. But I was not able to do that. I was very upset about the whole thing. So the Quest continued.