Have you ever wondered how children born in the same family grow up differently, though exposed to the same environment, identical upbringing, similar interactions and circumstances? Each soul adapts and adjusts in a manner so in contrast with the other, for the journey of a soul spans many a lifetime, having cruised through vast learning grounds over the ages, telling its own tale about how awake each soul is, to respond to the Master’s call. As and when the time is right, the Master strikes the chord that rings deep within, stirs the consciousness, serving the purpose of a wake up call.
Let us listen to a tale of two sisters…
“How do you manage, Didi, how do you manage to smile…to cope with it all…day in and day out, to be so joyful, in spite of how topsy turvy everything has been? What are you made of…? Which planet do you belong to? Your husband has had a paralytic attack…you look after him, care for your children, keep a watch on your mother-in-law’s needs…attend to household chores, as well as try to run the family business. Don’t you get tired…how come I never hear you complain? Why aren’t you ‘normal’? I get tired just looking at you…how indefatigable you are…”
Shefali was extremely perplexed as she asked her elder sister, Sharanya, these questions. She had come with her son for a vacation to her elder sister’s place and was quite taken up with her ‘Didi’s’ sense of calm and composure…her ever active spirit. Shefali enjoyed a very comfortable life, yet her patience was forever running thin, though her son Rahul was an above average, well behaved child. She had a sort of a ‘laid back’ attitude to life.
“Stop smiling that angelic smile, Didi. Tell me your secret. I never hear you grumble or complain. I see you running around even before daybreak. That’s when I groan and cover my head with a pillow. You make your own tea, breakfast for everyone…you have not one lazy little bone in your body…you even manage to do things for the domestic help who comes in to assist you…what is it with you…? Just sit for two minutes and tell me. Maybe it will help me get some focus on certain pending issues which I have been pushing back.”
“Shef, do you really want to know? I have been like this since the time I started looking after you, when our family faced a certain crisis…it didn’t matter to you then. Well, it’s about time I should say, awareness creeping in on my little sister, is it?”
Shefali grimaced, “I need to make a difference to my life, Di, and I know you can help me…for you have made a difference to your own. You even look younger than me, though you exert that much more. Tell me how do you begin your day…? Start from the beginning. Oh, oh, wait a bit, I need to take some notes…I can’t even depend upon my memory these days.”
“Nothing that complicated, Shef, I just begin the day with ‘me’…my breath. I dedicate the day to Swami, Who is my breath. Sitting silently for a few minutes I simply breathe in deep, all the time making affirmations about the day and how I would like it to be. I bless the day and ask it to bless me too. I continue to make affirmations, positive statements to myself as to who or what I am and also how I would like to shape up to be…something like this – I am Truth, I am Light, I am Joy…I am I…One with Sai…I am full of energy, vitality, goodness. I keep repeating these to myself – I am divine…I am not this body, I am the soul. I read somewhere Swami has asked us all to repeat such statements like – ‘I am God. I am not different from God. I am Satchidananda. I am the Eternal Undifferentiated Absolute. Grief and anxiety cannot affect me. I am always content fear cannot enter me.’
Shefali, when you stay with your breath, you remain ever fresh. Whatever the ups and downs that come your way, it helps you stay centered and focused on a higher reality. Through your breath, you allow – Cosmic energy to take over.
When you grumble, negativity enters in. Things of this world, qualifications, status, position – powers the outer you, giving you a sort of ‘I am’ feeling, relates to the material ‘who’ you are…but your breath enables you to evaluate the real you, the true ‘I am’…the ‘what’ you are…beyond the body…the soul…the sole you…the soul you…the awareness, the wakefulness to ‘what’ you are has a tremendous impact on you and all those that are in your environment…it empowers you and how! It is a goodbye to all things negative…for me it is a reply to the call of Mother Sai.
A tiny seed comes into the world with an amazing amount of information compacted within it from the Cosmic Source – how it will grow, what it needs for it to grow so, the branches it will have, the colour of it’s flowers, the fruit it may yield…can you, then imagine how much we have within us…?…An enormous amount of untapped wealth…moreover the Universe is ceaselessly sending so much our way…for we are the children of the Universe…
Okay, so after those silent moments, I step out for a walk with the pets…they enjoy the fresh morning air and so do I. I mentally bow to Lord Surya, for those celestial rays that have traveled miles and miles through Space, and contains so much of the Cosmos in it. Ever smiling, ever bright is the Sun, Shefali, touching one and all, making no distinction ever.
Seriously, how come you haven’t noticed the energy that we constantly receive from all that is around us…if you want and are truly receptive, you will perceive that you are forever surrounded with this life force energy.
There is certainly no dearth of things that can raise your spirits, your endurance, your verve. All the pizzazz you need is forever knocking at the very cells of your being…all the time…but you are oblivious…too much of noisy thoughts that prevent you from listening. Non stop is the jabber inside your mind about meaningless things. You simply need to be aware of this abundance, just a wee bit of understanding. And, the greatest thing of all is love…love empowers you like nothing else.
It rejuvenates your way of thinking…remember, my dear, it is easy to do what you like to do but to do what you ‘have’ to do with joy…therein lies the challenge. When I feel any negative thing coming my way, be it my thought or another’s, I simply do not identify with it and remove it by focusing on my breath and strengthen myself with my assertions…I keep reaffirming my affirmations.
I love being in Nature, I love being with children too…learning from children, animals and birds and plants…they understand your touch and respond too, where else can you find such contentment…such purity…such a complete sense of living in the ‘now’…such quiet giving…such silent suffering…that disturbs none. Children, plants, birds and animals…are receptive to messages from the Cosmos…undistracted by the five senses…the lust for power, hoarding, pride, arrogance, envy or greed that arises due to over indulgence. All that you need is already available in abundance through Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth – our origin…our source!
Hmm…I see you are all wide eyed, but it’s really so basic. This, dear sister, is the natural way of being. It is we who have strayed far away and complicated our lives. You can either ‘run’ your life or ‘ruin’ it…it is the ‘I’ that makes the difference…the e g o that needs to be told to vamoose, to scat…to be shown the door…in order for you to grow…to be in touch once again with your roots…however tall a tree may grow, can it deviate away from its roots? You know, ever since your soul takes on a body, ever since it decides to come to work out things on Earth…there is a gentle reminder call…softly ringing within…you will know it through certain things that happen once too often…this ringing within makes it happen…or should I say magnetically, intentionally tries to draw your attention back to yourself…as it is meant to one day or the other…that ‘hushed nudge’ in the right direction, is from the God within…all I am doing consciously, as much and as often as I can is responding to the call of Beloved Swami…all I do is turn in, tune in to Him and say – Swami make me respond, I want to respond…Oh! Swami, I am responding to your call…! As you believe so it will be. As you breathe in these thoughts, your breath does the rest. You, sister dear, are then homeward bound…perfectly in tune…!!!
There is a ‘all is well, all is as it should be, have no concern’ feeling…that restores confidence…gives courage…that – I have chosen to go through what I am facing…yet it reposes faith in the process of things…your breath is your personal rendezvous with Swami…your direct connection.
I think I have spoken enough, your eyes are closed…Shefali, have I bored you…have you fallen asleep…? Shef…? Good Lord, have I been talking to myself all this while…this is so typical of you…Oh, oh…when will you ever learn, Shefali…?”
“Hush, Didi…I am trying to focus. A ‘bit’ of all that you have uttered has sunk in to some extent…I am responding to your call…no, no…my call…Oh! This is my reply to my Beloved Swami…Oh! Bhagawan, my Beloved One…I too will soon be homeward bound…I am somewhat ready after all…I am finally beginning to respond…I am responding to Your call…!!!”
Well, those of you who happen to be reading these lines, let me ask of you – Are you ready to put your palm in that outstretched hand…? That knocking of fate for you which He has specially planned…are you making an attempt to understand? Are you ready for that ‘U’ turn to be homeward bound…?…Are you still ignoring that familiar sound, your own rhythm and response that’s waiting to be found…? Stop…Wake Up…Turn Around…Respond, Respond, Respond!
“You and I are One,” so often does repeat Beloved Bhagawan…”I am in you, you are in Me,” tirelessly reminds Beloved Swami…waiting and watching most eagerly…Come, hesitate no more, nor must there be any further delay…let us embark on that fulfilling journey that is literally just a breath away!