At first, it was a joke that did the rounds while I was in school, then in college and later when I was a white collared entity working in an upscale city slickers office, minting words for a living. We all wanted to attain nirvana; that perfect state of bliss from which nobody could shake us up. All of us world-weary, fatigued people would talk about it and take great pleasure in describing what ‘our awakening and thereby attaining nirvana’ meant to us.
Basically, we wanted to give up our current lives of slogging it out day and night and retreat to the simpler, rustic pleasures that seemed very attractive from a distance. It was a very bookish idea no doubt, but one that was borne out of our idea of what our awakening was, when it would happen and what we were going to do about it.
But in reality, it was all tom-foolery, we were just escapists looking to disappear from the rat race and take it easy; to snooze, eat, read, chill and repeat. So for us, nirvana just meant getting away from it all. Forget that bit about the ‘awakening of the consciousness.’
Today, however, as I reach my early forties, the whole understanding of this is different. It’s not a joke anymore. We’ve been ground through, pushed through life and hung out to dry and this is largely why we have started taking ourselves and our lives so seriously. For a lot of people my age, nirvana doesn’t exist; it only starts feeling like reality when its drug or alcohol induced in the company of some babas in an ashram. In that case, it seems like we’d like to ***k the world and just get out. It’s that kind of atmosphere, you know.
But coming back to real life: nirvana or even a state close to it can only be attained when we truly awaken our consciousness. And how does that happen? The awakening of the mind, the senses, and the soul-when do you really, truly know yourself and what you want from life? It can happen to you at the age I’m in or later or even earlier. And you will know it..because when you attain that state of consciousness, there is no regression… it’s just a path forward..to your happiness and a more positive frame of mind.
Awakening is when a woman stuck in a bad marriage realises it, yet doesn’t call it quits and decides to pursue other interests like getting back to a career, setting specific goals for her life, her kids and moving forth. Another person’s awakening could come in the form of cutting ties, getting divorced, making a clean break and entering a new phase of life. Another’s could be junking the traditional career path and opting for things that previously existed only in their dreams.
In the past week, two people I interacted with showed me the path. One, a physicist and another a journalist who have successfully transitioned into excellent cheese makers—something they always dreamt of doing and they followed their desires once they found their awakening. How wonderful it is to live your passion, know truly what gives you happiness and start creating the road for it. The people I mentioned above are just among the few who are choosing to do what their heart desires.
That, my dear, is awakening.
Routine, timetables, mundane jobs, can sap one’s energy and lead to a loss of potential. And in many cases, when one is confused, that is the truly tragic part. When you don’t know what life has in store for you and the possibilities that you have missed out on, and you are frightened and worried about the future; that is when you need to take a deep look within and find your true calling. Chart new routes, operate within your handicaps and break the barriers that life creates for you: you are on the path to your awakening.
One has to grow, to evolve, and to be different from what he or she was, twenty years ago and that is when an awakening is necessary. For the ones, who have no desire to embrace growth or change or evolve or become better; this whole discourse is meaningless. The difference between existing and living life is stark and what you choose defines you. If you feel unsatisfied with the way your life is going currently–get up, sit up, take stock and change your life. You’ll be the happier for it. In the end, nobody will remember to praise you for what you did or did not do; it’s you that has to be happy with yourself.
Anything that makes you feel better is worth it. As long as you don’t confuse finding your self-worth with being selfish. It’s easy to read your awakening the wrong way too… sometimes daily frustrations can make us take the wrong decisions when we are not really ready for our awakening. So, abandoning your family and everyone that gives you happiness to do your own thing and follow your sole purposes is not awakening. Its self-obsession and to be on the right path, the ability to separate the chaff from the wheat is what will lead you to your goal.
There will always be second, third or fourth chances in life, grab it at a time when you can. Open that bakery, even if you cannot participate or travel for that food competition. Get your home office set up and while the money may be peanuts, you will have that satisfaction that comes out of doing things your way. Join that special needs club, that old age volunteer service, that NGO: this is what will make your life worth it.
Recently, a fellow blogger wrote to me about how she enjoyed reading a piece I’d written on the difficulty of making new friends in a transitional phase of life. She said the article resonated with her as she had just gone through a divorce and after going through a lot of pain, she had finally found herself. Everybody’s situation and relationship dynamics are different but she got me thinking about how an awakening is so important for all of us to find, to know what we truly are, to embrace and love ourselves for who we are.
And in the process, attain a bit of that elusive nirvana. Perhaps it does exist, after all.