Life is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Where to? What for? Discontentment can help us to explore the unknown.
Have you ever said to yourself, “This is not it!”? ‘This’ could be anything – a job, a relationship, a frame of mind. A hungry hollowness haunts the heart, an inexplicable notion that you are meant for something else.
Welcome to the path!
You may not realize it, but your discontentment is a sign that you are a seeker. A seeker of divinity, of enlightenment. The discontented husband and wife on the verge of a divorce, the hurt father and rebellious son, and the dissatisfied boss and bitter employee hardly seem to be candidates for divine discovery. They just want a simple harmonious life with the usual desires – creature comforts, workable relationships, and lots of money. It’s success (read happiness) that everyone seeks, not spirituality. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Spiritual life is inevitable if your discontent is deep and persistent.
Undoubtedly, many people live in a state of bovine complacency where ignorance is bliss. But a vast portion of humanity knows what it is to feel a clawing sadness when burning desires turn to ashes. The problem is that our desires are as half-hearted as our discontentment. So, we get the ubiquitous whiner who cribs and cribs but doesn’t do enough to change his or her situation.
Discontentment has been more maligned than understood. It is a strong kinetic force that compels you to seek, to explore the unknown. It is the wind that swells the sails that push life’s boat forward. It does not, however, guide you beyond a point. It will tell you, “This is not it”, the way it told Gautam Siddhartha, ultimately leading him to Buddhahood. However, you have to be aware at all times. Buddha’s awareness led him to realize that extreme fasting and hardships lead to the door of death rather than light. That’s when he understood the importance of balance or the middle path.
Discontentment is not a sin, but a sign that you haven’t quite reached. Use it to light the way.
Transitions are a springboard
Transitions call forth all or most of our energies. The bigger, the more powerful or significant the transition, the more our energies will be gathered and subjected to a challenge or change (often considered synonymous!). The gathering of energies is not merely at the physical level, a transition gathers parts of us that we are not conscious of. A sum total of us comes into play. Death, disease, partings, meetings, discovering, building, inventing, creating… these can call forth significant forces into play. The beginning or the ending of an intense relationship is a transition too. The outer is an indicator, a parallel event to the inner transition of the persons involved.
A transition is a huge opportunity in the soul’s journey. All transitions are opportunities for growth. They are the springboard through which we make a bigger, higher leap of consciousness. Yet they scare us… obviously, because we get to experience our total selves; we experience the selves we didn’t know were there. That is why often such events change us significantly. It is an intense affair, a transition is, and it is in this state of inner acceleration, that much depends on how and what we do. Our inner choices make a difference and guide the future course of our lives significantly. If we could love well, leave well, die well, and be born well, the soul would dance in ecstasy. That is what the journey of life is all about.
Better a spiral than the circle’s dead end
For some of us, maybe for most of us, there will never be a sense of belonging to this world. We will always have one foot in the clouds and walk a lopsided walk on the earth, our wings seldom used.
The rosy stories of finding resonance, peace, completion, and coming full circle never seem to be entirely true. One brief moment seems complete, seems like a full circle, but then, it begins to bleed like charcoal dust on smooth paper, smudging the neatness of the circle. It diffuses… almost seems to have a rebellious movement of its own. Then you realize it’s not a circle after all, it’s a spiral. And so, you move again… roll, walk, trot, fly, move till you come to another seeming circle. You don’t know where the spiral is going to lead. Each meeting point where the circle seems complete becomes a spiral, triggered by a person, place, song, skill, just an opening in time, a shade in the sky, a reflection in the water, a kiss, a poem, or a whiff of the wind, a deep breath in the jungle, a gaze into a stranger’s face… The trigger can be anything…. Sometimes a series of triggers is brought about by something you do or live on, your work, your relations, ideas, creation, sadhana, and yet it’s a spiral. You’d cease to exist perhaps if it were a circle.
Of course, you could stay at the point and not move, not experience this brief, seeming completion and the subsequent hiccup when you shudder and move a notch up or down. The circle loses itself to the spiral and there you go again one foot in the sky, one foot on the earth.