Experiences

19 August 2023
Posted in Personal
19 August 2023 nishantgathwal@gmail.com

I have been navigating through the same ups and downs for quite some time, say, the past 8-10 years. Sometimes I ponder, is life more than this? Is it okay to chase experiences or crave something unique? I think if there were something I’d wish for, regardless of my responsibilities and time, it would be to be in a different place and time—perhaps, time travel! Yes, more experiences! That helps me grow. It sounds so exciting, with the whole world full of possibilities, learning, and meeting such a broad spectrum of people.

But then, when I reflect on what Buddha did, I mean the ‘last one.’ Gautama Siddhartha did this as he traversed all his life and past lives while meditating, learning all things backward and forwards!

Doesn’t this sound insane? If it were true, just think for a sec about the 0.1% probability that someone did this! And more to that is the teaching, which is timeless and still works. The only way to find out if something is really true is to experience it oneself. So far, whatever was said by Sir S. N. Goenka in his talks has been true (experienced), while much of that stuff is yet to be experienced by me. This only reaffirms my belief that Siddhartha Gautam was a grand person who realized the ultimate truth and spread it across the subcontinent.

This makes me think about the truth. What is truth anyway? Is it what society tells us, or is it something we have experienced? Personal experience is far superior to any word coming from someone’s mouth. But that personal experience also has many levels, like experiencing with heightened awareness or with intoxication. And intoxication is not just of alcohol, smoke, or drugs; it can be of jealousy, wealth, ego, physical attributes, emotional attributes. Well, just recently, I also realized about ego of a third kind, that of a feeling of superiority of spiritual awareness, and I faced the lesson to have noted it as something to be wary of!

We keep on hearing what is right or wrong to do, but who identifies that? For the longest time, I used to believe and affirm the fact that there is no right or wrong, reminding myself of the great German philosopher Nietzsche, who said, “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” But then, Vipassana challenged a lot of value systems I had in my life and taught me through experience that all living beings are bound by a law of nature called “Dharma” (although the word Dharma and its meaning have changed throughout time) and are bound by that same system. Hence, actions can be segregated into right and wrong. It is only the inexperience to understand the complexities of cause and effect happening in our universe that we assign compartments to things, and say right and wrongs change, but it only appears to be so like an illusion (maya).

Another example is how people think that everything is just chaos or random, but in reality, it’s just too complex for us to understand right now, as the cause and effect forces work beautifully in our material world without fail. So yes, Dharma is there, Karma is there; there is thought karma, action karma, intention karma, and it all beautifully supports this manifested reality! which makes right and wrong, sinner or saint a reality. Also, all seeds have their own time to bear fruit, so it’s just a matter of time.

Having experienced all of the above to varying degrees, I have begun traveling inwards and have experienced realities that I never knew existed. In that process of traveling and observing equanimously (my definition of this word is to view everything without craving or aversion; composure will come as an effect), I have felt significant peace and realization. Although there has been a continuous flow of mistakes, and there have been times when I have been brought to my knees and have gone off track, but this path is the golden one (I had a vision) which only tells me to know myself, practice, and become better every time. So grateful for those mistakes also.

To conclude, the words of the enlightened one come to mind:

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”

Enough digression for today, take care 🙂

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