Ma Jaya, my guru, said, “The difference between you and me is that I know who I am.”
Her words ring true to me now more than ever; the spaces between my not-knowing and knowing who I am appear to be shrinking.
I am less willing to behave in a manner inconsistent with who I have glimpsed myself to be.
Why does doubt create such large holes of not-knowing within us? I fell out of love with psychology years back, realizing that it gave me motives for everything.
When I didn’t marry, I said it was because my father abused me. When I chose the ashram path, I again diminished my choice by saying that I was afraid of life.
What makes us perceive ourselves in such a belittling fashion?
When I worked for civil rights in the 60s and got arrested, I wondered whether I was just looking for attention. A few years later as I witnessed my joy and pride when African Americans became more empowered and the Civil Rights Bill passed, I acknowledged that I would always advocate for the underprivileged.
Our doubts are often enhanced by those close to us who think we create havoc in their lives by our choices. We need to be detached enough to separate their opinions from ours.
During bouts of loneliness, my choice to live in an ashram has often brought up doubt over the years. I would ask myself why I hadn’t chosen a more conventional route, perhaps marriage—companionship, maybe even children.
I then have to remind myself to look at the pictures of those saints and sages that adorn my walls whose emptiness, enlightenment and love illuminate and inspire me. I note that other pictures occupy a smaller space.
I must surrender to my own choiceless path. I have moved on from my childhood pictures of Einstein and Kennedy.
I hope to one day know myself as my guru knew me to be, or as my favorite verse in the New Testament says:
Now we see through a glass darkly, but then shall we know ourselves as we are also known.
~ 13 Corinthians
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Editor: Michelle Margaret
Image: elephant journal Archive
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