Updated: Jul 29, 2020
"Vitarka Badhane Pratipaksa Bhavanam"
When disturbed by disturbing thoughts, think of the opposite
~ Commentary by Shri Brahmananda Saraswati
Yoga Sutra - Chapter 2, sutra 33 (YSII33)
Lately I have been disturbed by thoughts of insecurities, doubts, mistrust and low-grade anxiety. This is nothing new as an unenlightened mind is trained to create all sorts of suffering. But this particular time it feels different. It feels auspicious.
I remember late Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama reminded us that our vasanas (impressions of past actions that were stored in our unconscious mind and induce us to repeat our actions) are like beach balls being held under water. As we embark on our spiritual path, we start to release these suppressed beach balls. The first time we release them, the top layers - which are our most recent vasanas of this life time, will erupt most violently. Just as someone whose suffering have propelled him/her to embark on the spiritual journey would know - life turns even worse as we start to let go of what we thought we knew, who we thought we were, what we thought we wanted etc. The beginning of a spiritual journey is hell of an identity crisis - the beginning of death of the ego.
And as we continue to grow on our path, we learn, we change, we adopt different tools to help us navigate through the terrain better. After the first layers of beach balls being released, we will enjoy a period of peace and harmony - until the deeper layers, more deep-seated and powerful vasanas, surface. Gladly, by now, the spiritual aspirant should have already gathered enough tools and experience to brave through the storm.
This is the state I am at now. To help myself go through and rise above the disturbing thoughts and emotions, I am grateful that I spend more time to reflect, meditate, study spiritual scriptures, remind myself of my true nature as love, keep early hours, exercise, adopt vegetarian diet, connect with people that nourish my soul, and focus on my life purpose.
Our life is our school. We all come here to learn our lessons. The higher level we get, the more challenging the tests. As much as I felt troubled by recent disturbing thoughts, I have a feeling that this is my final test to get to the next level. Therefore, like how Dr. Motoyama urged us - I must proceed with courage and self-confidence.
My lessons during this period is another layer of understanding of non-attachment and mind as the source of suffering. What about you? What have you learnt from your recent challenges?