Beauty in Resilience

Hard labor for a Living - a Local -0898

Photo Credit: Atanu Chakraborty “Ladakh Old Lady – Hard Labor for Living”

Note: This is a narration of a true personal experience of a profound mental shift, I went through. This was originally posted on Infinite Living on December 2, 2015.

I was standing at the busiest intersection of Mumbai, India, just arrived from US, couple of days ago. It was the end of June and rains were expected anytime, unannounced. I was there waiting for my friend to pick me up, to take me shopping for some rain shoes.

I was much immersed in the experience of being there, soaking in life moving at a fast pace around me. There was a sense of impatience in the atmosphere as there were too many vehicles on the road, to be able to move fast enough. Mixed in, was the sun, moist heat, dust, pollution and the blaring horns from drivers.

I was going to be waiting there for 15 mins, my friend called.

My eyes lingered and then my gaze dropped down on a sight, about a foot by my side. Just inches away from traffic, on the footpath/sidewalk, on a tattered mat, was a mother tending to her newborn …maybe a month or so old. She had the baby on her legs outstretched, no clothes on the baby.

My mind drifted very briefly to some memories of how I had lovingly purchased multiple things to keep my babies in perfect health and comfort. I was again drawn back to the sight in front of me. Words came to my mind-  hygiene, safety, nutrition, sickness – but I was again drawn into the scene.

The cars and people zapped by. But the only thing real for me was the mother taking care of that baby. Perhaps just like the only thing real for the mother was her baby and what she could do for the baby.

Flies were hovering over the baby. The baby was clean. The woman had a rag in her hand and a half filled bottle of water by her. She would sprinkle a few drops of water on the baby and then wipe it off with the rag, every few minutes. It was her way of keeping the baby cool and the flies away. The mother and the baby looked content, and for what it takes, doing ok with each other.

I was filled with love and inspiration for the duo. What endurance and strength they have been born with! What beauty in that the mother making the best use of all that was available to her, to be able to give her baby all that she could!

This experience opened me up to a different reality altogether. The reality of our human arrogance that equates a good life and happiness with wealth and all that it brings.

I remember only 3 years ago when I previously visited Mumbai, I had a very different perception. I used to feel sad and have tears in my eyes as I walked past poverty and people living in tiny made up houses with their kids roaming around naked. I felt happy and also guilty about having a beautiful house and a bountiful life. I assumed they were suffering from poverty. I assumed I was happy and was supposed to be happy because I had all these material comforts.

In the 3 years in between, I went through a profound journey of self-discovery, transformation and renewal. I could now see the world through the eyes of people who have felt like their body has betrayed them completely.

People who have to show up for themselves, each day with tremendous courage to survive, what feels like their own death, day after day.

The ones that go through pain so intense that they have to continually keep tapping into the pulse of life itself to find faith, surrender and the means to help them inch towards the ability to thrive.  

Having a house, the food, the comforts, all become part of gratitude. Body and mind become the primary dwelling and the immediate place of turmoil and suffering.

There is tremendous beauty in the strength and resilience that people show, in showing up each day of their life, to make the best of what they have available to them.

To me this day, there was no difference between this mother and anyone else doing just that. Having a house is not enough. What you choose while living in any kind of house or under the sun is what makes you what you are.

In that baby I saw a beautiful being born with a purpose. One purpose was to open my eyes to this beauty. In the mother I saw a face of pure nurture and love. I felt a renewed faith that we are all very well equipped for where we are placed.

In that mother and baby, and all other contrasts around me, I see no suffering, only beauty, grace and strength!

 

P.S. This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays on ForgvingConnects. It is in the forgiving non-judgmental perspective of our circumstances is where we find our strength and happiness.

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So close to home

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Photo Credit : Manish Doshi, Editing : Vikram Phale

So close to home
And as if trying to find my way
Just around the corner
And feeling as if lost on the way

Oh so puzzled
Mind all muddled
Oh usually that’s the way
It is, they say

It’s human, regular human
Easy to relate
Better than to create
And to reach home solemn

Relate to everyone around
Than create your path abound
Former may seem easy
Latter a thrill to foresee

So close to home
In there is it very lone?
Just around the corner
Seems fun to linger

There’s plenty of company
And also sometimes misery
Should I just go home
And see how it is to be lone?

All puzzled and muddled
I enter my home
To be cuddled
In my own heart and soul

Wish someone would accompany
There is a threshold though
Beyond which only I can go
It really doesn’t help to have anybody

Take the step, take the plunge and dive
Take your puzzles and the muddles
Rest them there and watch them live
Don’t solve the riddles
Don’t push nor let them cling really
Give them a place
And they will go away actually
Ah! this home is a peaceful space

Back out in the world
And around the corner again
Still trying to find my way
New found faith to help stay

The puzzles and the muddles
Don’t bother now
A light flickers every step of the way
Just follow the instinct I say

So close to home now I know
While always trying to find my way
I do often revisit home
Now that I also love to be lone …

A home with no walls

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Image created by Josiah Harry of Skylarity

Have you ever been in a home like this?
There are close to 50 people in there.
Yet the experience is such that all there is, is space.
Like there are no walls to that home.
The whole universe seems to have opened up …or maybe the home has opened to the space of the Universe.
I was there with a friend who took me to that home. I didn’t know anyone else.
Everyone was so silent and just spacious within …they were just being their pure being.
If eyes met, the most heartful smiles came.
Regulars just melted into purest, warmest hugs …as if knowing what is to be received and/or given.
I venture into the ‘speaking’ area (the living room). You come here if you wish to converse.
Everyone just pure divine energy.
No name, no game, no status, no apparatus, no conclusion, no exclusion.
Isn’t this why we visit temples?
Here each person I spoke to was a temple visited.
I was immersed in the most precious ways of being and conveying and receiving and giving.
Without giving or receiving a thing that I can hold on to.
Yet what was given and received is part of me for this lifetime.
The food served, to be eaten in silence, was just one of the ingredients of nourishment.

We walk around with so many walls …of our name, profession, our beliefs, concepts.
These walls are so much a necessity to bang on, as we keep living.
But what felt like life itself was the perception of no walls.
We walk around striving to be normal …or striving to be extra ordinary.
But what we are, are pure miraculous specks of being.
I am in awe of how these experiences become possible for me …as I keep waking up to a new day of wonder …of what I know are pure soul interactions on a daily basis, just so perfectly waiting to happen.
I began writing on this blog platform with the concept called Infinite Living,
Not knowing it is actually being lived so profoundly …
I left knowing that I will always be supported in my strive to embody Infinite Living.

P.S. This post is dedicated with gratitude to Awakin Circles of ServiceSpace. I am grateful to my friend with whom I spent one evening here.

Feeling small, a yearning call

Feeling small for any reason
So much suffering in which you imprison

Feeling small, also a comfort zone, to protect yourself from your own brightness
Until you learn to receive it
Until you learn to Be where you are, who you are, what you are, in the true sense

Feeling small, a protective cocoon, in which you can hide in that dark corner
Of not being too much or be anything that could matter

Feeling small, one of the options
Until you decide to smile your radiance

Feeling small takes care of the fear
Which is sometimes more the fear of the success
Than that of failure

Greater seems unfamiliar grounds to claim
Until more you step in your own brilliance
More it feels like you are arriving home

Nothing Greater will tinker with your feeling
Unless in you it has a dwelling

Feeling small is just another
Yearning call to something Greater

Looking through the rain

As I sit in my patio now, looking through the rain …

Rain pouring, pouring love
Earth soaking, soaking heart
Winds blowing, blowing directions
Rainlines crossing, crossing thoughts
Waterbaskets weaving, weaving emotions
Branches brushing, brushing chill
Puddles float bubbles, bubbles burst in mind
Winds stand still, stands still mind

Birds picking under tree, tree is bare
Few dry leaves hanging wet, wet desires few soaked in faith
Feel at home, home that is within me
Wide open spacious, spacious yet so full
Look through the rain more, more I get the inward pull
It keeps pouring, pouring love
Each grain of sand soaking, soaking each cell, body and soul …

So close to home

So close to home
And as if trying to find my way
Just around the corner
And feeling as if lost on the way

Oh so puzzled
Mind all muddled
Oh usually that’s the way
It is they say

It’s human, regular human
Easy to relate
Better than to create
And to reach home solemn

Relate to everyone around
Than create your path abound
Former may seem easy
Latter a thrill to foresee

So close to home
In there is it very lone?
Just around the corner
Seems fun to linger

There’s plenty of company
And also sometimes misery
Should I just go home
And see how it is to be lone?

All puzzled and muddled
I enter my home
To be cuddled
In my own heart and soul

Wish someone would accompany
There is a threshold though
Beyond which only I can go
It really doesn’t help to have anybody

Take the step, take the plunge and dive
Take your puzzles and the muddles
Rest them there and watch them live
Don’t solve the riddles
Don’t push nor let them cling really
Give them a place
And they will go away actually
Ah! this home is a peaceful space

Back out in the world
And around the corner again
Still trying to find my way
New found faith to help stay

The puzzles and the muddles
Don’t bother now
A light flickers every step of the way
Just follow the instinct I say

So close to home now I know
While always trying to find my way
I do often revisit home
Now that I also love to be lone …