“The path doesn’t save all its pleasure for the end. You can enjoy it now.” – Thanissaro Bhikku
If you try to find joy only in the result, you get robbed of the countless moments of joy that are possible along the way. You may think of the time spent on the path as something that has to be endured or suffered to reach that outcome.
The joy is in the effort.
“It is the effort which gives joy; a human being who does not know how to make an effort will never find joy. Those who are essentially lazy will never find joy — they do not have the strength to be joyful! It is effort which gives joy. Effort makes the being vibrate at a certain degree of tension which makes it possible for you to feel the joy.
It is only effort, in whatever domain it be – material effort, moral effort, intellectual effort – which creates in the being certain vibrations which enable you to get connected with universal vibrations; and it is this which gives joy. It is effort which pulls you out of inertia; it is effort which makes you receptive to the universal forces.” – The Mother
According to Thich Nhat Hanh, even a chore like dish washing can be joyful and therapeutic.
“Washing the dishes is at the same time a means and an end – that is, not only do we do the dishes in order to have clean dishes, we also do the dishes just to do the dishes and live fully each moment while washing them.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“I have known such people, who were capable of making the necessary effort (not a prudent and calculated effort but a spontaneous one) in no matter what field: material, vital, intellectual, etc., and in this effort there was always joy. For example, a man sits down to write a book, he makes an effort which sets vibrating something in his brain to attract ideas; well, suddenly, this man experiences joy. It is quite certain that, whatever you do, even the most material work, like sweeping a room or cooking, if you make the necessary effort to do this work to the maximum of your ability, you will feel joy, even if what you do is against your nature. When you want to realize something, you make quite spontaneously the necessary effort; this concentrates your energies on the thing to be realized and that gives a meaning to your life. This compels you to a sort of organisation of yourself, a sort of concentration of your energies, because it is this that you wish to do and not fifty other things which contradict it. And it is in this concentration, this intensity of the will, that lies the origin of joy. This gives you the power to receive energies in exchange for those you spend.” – The Mother
So, what appeals to you more? The pursuit of something or the achievement of the end result? What are some ways you can find joy along the way?
Fear is an emotion, a kind of an anguish, that arises out of ignorance. Ignorance about the nature of something or about its effect. Ignorance about what will happen. There is so much we do not know. And we fear what we do not know.
“It is said that before entering the sea,
a river trembles with fear.
She looks back at the path she has traveled,
from the peaks of the mountains,
the long winding road crossing forests and villages.
And in front of her,
she sees an ocean so vast,
that to enter there seems nothing more than to disappear forever.
But there is no other way.
The river cannot go back.
Nobody can go back.
To go back is impossible in existence.
The river needs to take the risk of entering the ocean,
because only then will fear disappear,
because that’s where the river will know
it’s not about disappearing into the ocean,
but of becoming the ocean.”
– Kahlil Gibran
Fear spreads in many hidden ways within and among us. In times of a pandemic (Corona virus) like this, fear can spread much faster and wider than the virus itself. It can sweep through the collective.
Why should you reject fear?
Fear tends to attract the object of fear. When you fear something or are unhappy about something, it makes you more open to the causes of that fear or unhappiness.
“We know that fear always brings what one fears. If you fear an accident, this acts like a magnet drawing the accident towards you …. Fear can give you the apparent symptoms of an illness; and it can give you the illness too” – The Mother
You cannot make progress by living in fear.
How do we remove fear?
Since fear arises out of ignorance, the way to remove it is to shine on it consciousness, knowledge, force and light.
“That which knows has no fear. That which is perfectly awake, which is fully conscious and which knows, has no fear. It is always something dark that is afraid.” – The Mother
Here are some methods you can choose depending on what suits your nature:
Face the fear. Look it in the face. Else it will keep coming back. This is very helpful, especially for people who have a lot of courage, a strong vital power. Also, often when you take fear head on, your find that what you anticipated is not as hard as you had feared.
Use your mind to reason. Explain yourself why the fear is bad. Even if there is true danger, one has to come out of it using courage an not fear. Convince the part of you that is feeling the fear to not do so.
Do something that gives you courage. For example, you could say affirmations like “I am fine. I will overcome this” or chant a mantra.
Bring awareness within yourself and stand before the fear without shrinking. Such a deep awareness allows allows light to enter and darkness to fade away. It also helps you understand if there is a message in there that you could use for your own growth.
If you are connected to your deeper self, your psyche, invoke it and get things back in order in the psychic light.
If you believe in a higher power like nature or the Divine or in the goodness in the Universe, have faith in the same and feel your belongingness. No fear can then touch you.
Whenever we are in a crisis, it seems like we are caught in a dark tunnel. There is fear because we are in unfamiliar territory. Right now, in the times of the Corona virus pandemic, the fear is global.
Remember: The tunnel connects where you were just some time back to where you are going to be in some time. You are transitioning from the past to the future. A change is in progress. If you keep thinking about the past or about future scenarios, you are going to drive yourself crazy.
So what do you do?
Be in the present moment. There are things you can control and things you cannot. What you can control allows you to move from fear to empowerment. The key is to move from the state of fear to an empowered state. From crisis to growth.
How do you do that?
Ask what you can change in yourself and in your environment physically? Bring more awareness to your body and health. Change old, unconscious, depleting habits. De-clutter.
Find out what you can change in the way you use your senses to connect to the environment and to look within. Connect with nature. Reduce usage of gadgets and social media.
Develop courage and confidence. Pursue a hobby or something you wanted to always do but could never find the time earlier.
Feel your interconnectedness. Widen your heart. Connect with more and more people. Deepen your heart. Help someone in need in whatever way you can. Hold and express gratitude. Forgive and heal emotional hurts.
Open your mind to new directions. To new light and learning. To creative ways of manifesting.
Grow spiritually. Look within. Take courses on self-development. Invoke peace and calmness.
Amid the gloom of the present Corona virus pandemic and the resultant lock down in many parts of the world, there is also a realization of positive changes that have happened for the first time in many years. For instance, air pollution seems to have come down drastically in many cities of the world where people are now breathing cleaner air.
But for these changes to be sustainable, it is important that the changes in our habits last. That we do not go back to our old habits once the situation improves. So that we truly get to see light at the end of the tunnel!
Have you ever had moments in your life where doing something gave you a lot of calm joy? Where the sense of space and time seemed to disappear? And you seemed to be your most authentic self?
Welcome to being in the zone!
Is it possible for me to access this state very often?
To answer this, we must understand what makes us be in the zone in the first place.
“We are made up of different parts which have to be unified around the psychic being, if we are conscious of it, or at least around the central aspiration. If this unification is not done, we carry this division within us. To do this, each thought, each feeling, each sensation, each impulse, each reaction, as it manifests, must be presented in the consciousness to the central being or its aspiration. What is in accord is accepted; what is not in accord is refused, rejected or transformed. It is a long endeavor and may take years – but once it is done, the unification is achieved and the path becomes easy and swift.” – The Mother
Within us, there seem to be many forces seemingly at conflict and what we do, say, think, feel, sense etc. often seem disparate as though coming from multiple personalities within us. But behind all that we do in our life, there seems to be a central aspiration coming from deep within, from what can be termed as our core. This core is our natural state of being or our inmost presence.
Whenever we connect to this core, to the aspiration or essence that is trying to emerge, we are filled with life. Different aspects of our life get harmonized and our life becomes much more enjoyable. It seems as though we have got a direction to our life, the purpose of our existence. We are in the zone whenever we are able to do this.
Try to articulate your core, your aspiration. You can write it using words, draw it or express it in any other way that you feel comfortable with.
How to I get back if I fall out of the zone?
Firstly, you have to recognize that you have fallen out of the zone. This can be done, for example, by accessing the feelings when you go off-balance. Some people may immediately notice the lack of joy or the lack of connection. Some people may feel uneasy. Use this as the signal to find out you are moving out of your zone.
Once you spot the signal, learn to get back in. Invoke and connect to the central aspiration directly or to your articulation of the same in forms that you are comfortable with. You could do this as many number of times as possible during the day so that you continue to be in the zone!