As I was ready to face the world backed by more than a successful academic career and armed by a powerful professional certificate I started mulling about what might I take with me in my uncharted journey into the real world out there.
There were a number of things I decided at that moment in life. My last graduation exam was over on 30th Aug 1980. On the morning of 31st Aug 1980 I landed with my first job with a more than handsome pay packet and on 1st Sept 1980 I was thinking of the resources I needed most to cross the Sahara desert of life remembering that I would have to travel light on this long and arduous journey.
Apart from my personal courage and professional skill to earn my bread there were three more things I needed, which were a) Knowledge b) Philosopher’s Stone and c) Elixir of life
First was — what books I would take with me? I selected three books.
First book was the ‘Book of Life‘. I would read the book of life every moment as it unfolded before me in my journey. I was ready to accept everything that came my way – men, women, co-workers, friends, enemies, jobs, events, organisations, family, children, ….. everything that I can be attentive to.
Second book was the ‘Book of Nature‘. I was ready to read it when she would allow me to have a glimpse of her great sacred book. Or I would patiently await her invitation to have a dialog with her. Incidentally, I learned a lot from such long dialogs even from machines which to me was Nature herself in another form.
The third book was ‘The Artist in Me‘. I knew that this was the book that lay deep inside me and I would have to dive deep inside like a deep-sea diver to discover and recreate myself till I get to learn the ‘universal language of the universe’ and transcend my educated state of dualism based on judgment and educated discrimination.
Second was my choice of attitude and the profession I would take in life. There were three choices to pick from — the camel, the tiger, the child.
I did not like the camel. To me, camels were peculiar. They would keep carrying loads and not complain one bit or show their tiredness. And suddenly out of nowhere they would just drop dead. They were so sacrificial work alcoholic. On the other hand they were so moody. Even a straw could break their backs. Perceptions ruled in their world. I would have none of that.
I did not like the idea of being a tiger either. They were ruthless, unkind, greedy, ambitious type of creatures. They would kill even when they aren’t hungry. They would not spare anyone. They simply would like to have their own way by force. They would unnecessarily lord over things. They spread terror and ruin families. It simply did not resonate with my psyche.
So, being a child was a natural choice. It brought up the image of spontaneity, fun, creativity, joy to self and others without the usual air of predictability — always new; always adventurous. That was the way to be, I thought. However to stay a grown up child would be a challenge too. I would have to keep the sense of awe, wonder, curiosity but at the same time be full of simplicity, patience and kindness with a type of attentive silence encompassing the whole. This I thought would be my philosopher’s stone with which I could turn even lead into gold. This would be my hobby and my profession.
The next thing to choose was my ‘elixir’ of life. I chose three things for that.
First was yoga — a way to connect my consciousness to my unconscious — way to penetrate the grey region formed by the ‘known’ and the ‘unknown’ – way to steady and relax myself when caught between seemingly opposite things in life — ‘tension’ and ‘compression’; ‘expansion’ and ‘contraction’; ‘high’ and ‘low’….
Second was meditation — a way to reach the inner most circle of silence where I can move with ‘effortless effort’. Where ‘non-action’ becomes the strongest action. Where I get what I like and like what I get. And do good to others even without them knowing….
Third was a loving wife who is full of feelings. I knew quite early in life that I was a child who loved sharp thinking, precise logic, symbols, metaphors, thinking and knowledge. I knew that ‘feelings’ and ’emotions’ took a back seat always overruled by my logic and innate love for precision and perfection. But that was a type of heavy imbalance to go through life. I would have to somehow learn a lot about ‘feelings’. I would have to learn a lot about being perfect in seemingly imperfect situations. I would have to learn a lot about empathy. And what might be a better way to learn than learn it from one’s life’s partner.
So that is all I carried with me to cross the Sahara desert called life. The journey was far from smooth. The journey was fraught with dangers. Danger lay under every other smooth pebble I cared to tread upon. But these three things kept me awake, alert, attentive and agile to survive the journey.
I am glad that I completed the journey. It was the most rewarding journey I have ever undertaken. And the best thing is a pot of gold was really there at the end of the rainbow.
And that pot of gold glittered ever time I could light joy in the hearts of others.
Looking back, I see that I really found my purpose in life. What a joy it gives – to live with effortless effort from my being — the inner empty circle of silence – the source of all creation….
- Alchemy and the Journey of Transformation (jeanraffa.wordpress.com)
- ‘Elixir of life’ could be real according to British experts (sott.net)
- Alchemy as a philosophical and spiritual discipline (fractaldesignbydee.wordpress.com)