A reader posted a comment about living a life in two parts, as follows:
It’s a beautiful post. I am just 23 and I’ve not gone through everything in life. Like they say, life is like a cardiogram. If there’s only peace and calm in your life then life is like a straight line which indicates that you are dead scientifically. When there are ridges is when you’re considered alive. Then why not just go through everything instead of searching for peace so early in life. Please enlighten us.
I’ve got to be experiencing life as it is instead of surrendering myself to peace. After all, if there aren’t any ups and downs in life, then life becomes a flat line which indicates on the cardiogram that you’re dead…
Nice simile: cardiogram! A cardiogram only gives readings; it does not control the heartbeat. Besides, the life-o-gram of most shows flat even when the cardiograph resembles a volatile stock chart.
Allow me to continue from your remark, “I have got to be…”:
Who says you have got to be doing this or that? You? What we ought to be doing is often dictated by our conditioning. Imagine you being born in a village, let’s say in a remote village in the mountains — in a village where your exposure, while growing up, was limited to forests, river streams, cattle and so forth. Just really take the time to imagine yourself in that situation. Will your definition of what you should be doing change or stay the same?
The path of self-realization is about defining your own rules. Please read The Two Spiritual Approaches, especially the part where I talk about the psychology of a bee and its modus operandi. Just because everyone around you seems to be living a certain way does not necessarily make it the best way. I am not suggesting, even for a moment, that your way is not the right way. Any path that inspires you to be a better human being, and, helps you help others, that path will automatically instill in you the desire to discover your own truth.
You talk about being twenty-three and enjoying the ups and downs. The discovery of peace does not mean that there will be no ups and downs. It does not mean that the cardiogram will run flat. It means that you will no longer puke while riding the roller coaster. Imagine being able to give peace, happiness and joy to many others.
Self-discovery is not about surrendering to peace. It is about following your own path. It is about not just living life the way it is handed down to you but analyzing it and giving it more meaning. In the DNA of Desires, I wrote, “When in youth and rolling in money, the material world seems a place worth living in…” So, at your present age, maybe you could not be bothered and are having the time of your life. Well, that’s all well and good. I am happy for you.
If you feel you are in bliss and that you are living a meaningful life, and especially if others around you are helped by your endeavors, there is not an iota of change you need to bring about in you.
Spirituality is like an insurance policy. It is not needed when all seems to be going well, but when met by an accident, its worth shows forth. No one uses margin lending when the stocks are going up, it is when they are going down, the facility is utilized. So, who wants to think about God when the days are sunny? It is when you are down in the muggy weather that you need all your inner strength to stay up on the cardiogram.
And, oh, for the record, with a mere manipulation of my energies, I can give you a flat line on the cardiogram with zero pulse anytime you so wish to see. I will continue to blink and have full consciousness during that time. A flat line, after all, may not mean that one is dead. To me, it means the path is straight! And a straight line is always the shortest distance, an engineer told me once.
While writing my thoughts on your comment, my disciple, Swami Vidyananda was sitting next to me. I read him out your comment and asked for his opinion. “Everything external is limited, the bliss inside is free of such limitations,” he said aptly. A renunciate at the age of eighteen, he is twenty-six presently. Different to mine, right or wrong, that is his path. Unlike my ridged and long answer, his statement is beautifully short and straight like an arrow. Suspiciously like the straight line on the cardiogram…