Wisdom//

Learning to Unravel the Mysteries of the Flow

Being in touch with the breath takes one deeper within, to a calmer self.

Photo didin emelu/ Unsplash
Photo didin emelu/ Unsplash

Quantum physics tells us that every wave is actually a set of discrete packets. The packets moving fast and micro confuse us to believe that it’s a verb as against a noun. So are our thoughts. They seem to flow and interconnect and then eventually merge into some thought which is similar or different. But on closer look are still discrete and nouns. 

A verb has the ability to engage us much more than a noun. Deeper memories are considered to comprise of subtle events. Subtler the event, longer does it stick. Thoughts, feelings, knowledge and memories can be organised in the same sequence as their stickiness and remembrance. There is a part of us which values and holds on to nouns more than verbs. But there is another part which is looking for the flow and does not stop in its quest. 

My journey to find the verb in me had started after my Mansarovar visit and it was revisited at the Ashram. It reflected as a feeling of obeisance which I could not fathom. Of course it was subtler and more powerful than any other emotion which I have come across.

My trip to Ashram was path changing. It brought the feeling of Mansarovar into an action. An everyday ‘Kriya’ (yoga and pranayam) was a task which I carried home. However, being a ‘busy’ (sic) entrepreneur, I had an excuse to miss my routine initially on a few days and then the schedule started to slip past. 

Performing my ‘Karma’ on a day to day basis was defined as well. Coming to office in the morning, attending internal meetings and meeting prospective partners was a part of my job responsibility. Being at the backend of field operation, there was more of e-mail writing, reading reports as a part of my daily activity. 

Every small event was powered by the same entrepreneurial zeal which needed a result. Success or failure. Both these results generated opposite emotions but used to settle down quickly leaving behind some stress. But it was the third result, ‘Maybe’ which was most disturbing. 

I am impatient by nature and in the social space, the third answer has the most likelihood. Pushing for ‘Yes’ generally results in the opposite, ‘No’. Therefore, to wait was an inevitable but stressful option. On the other hand, the daily ‘Kriya’ was like an oasis in the desert. Each morning the mind was getting cleaned of garbage only to get filled once again by evening. The ‘flow’ which I acquired every morning was as transient as my thoughts. Each day became a struggle within me between the ‘Noun’ and the ‘Verb’ the ‘Karma’ and the ‘Kriya’ the ‘Male’ and the ‘Female’. 

I have heard as a kid that success is addictive. Once you have it, you enjoy it and revel in it for sometime and you crave for more. Pursuit of success results in both success and failure. In spite of the risk of losing peace of mind on failure, we take the gamble. There is a general sense of excitement in this pursuit which keeps us going. Actually, the excitement is addictive. It gives us a high and we continue to seek more and more of it to reach the peak. We assume the peak to be the success but soon realise that it is not so. 

So what is the peak of all of our climbs? What are we actually chasing in life. What is the ultimate success which we are craving for? 

This was the question which started to creep into my thoughts and I wanted an answer. I was lucky to find the answer without having to make another trip to Mansarovar or even the Ashram. I found the answer in my breath during meditation.

Mind has many layers and each of it has an identity. With every desire we add a layer on our mind and move further away from the centre. The further we go, the grosser we become, more thoughts, leads to more clutter, lesser clarity. When the desire takes the form of anger, we perform acts which we cannot relate with as it is committed by a layer of mind further away from our centre. 

Similarly, in meditation, at times we experience, feel or hear what we have not experienced before. As we go towards the centre we feel more clarity, lesser thoughts and more subtlety. An identity of mind lacking desire is considered to be a deep meditational layer. This journey of the mind from its deepest layer to the farthest has a common ally which remains with it through thick and thin. It is the ‘Breath’. 

Normally, we notice that when we get tensed, stressed or angry, we breathe fast. Similarly, long breaths are associated with relaxation. I have always believed that breathing pattern is the effect and our mind is the cause. I tried reversing cause and effect and realised that it works both ways. 

The easier and longer is your breath, the mind becomes more and more subtle. The difference between the two process is the time taken to move from the cause and the effect. When we get angry, there is an immediate increase in frequency of the breathing cycle. However, our long breaths do not have an immediate impact on our state of mind. One reason could be where we stand today. If we are closer to our centre, it’s shorter to reach the state of lack of desire outward layer and vice versa.

Imagine breath to be like a waterfall and mind like a log of wood. On one end, closer to the fall, there is a miniature ‘you’ who is relaxed, happy and peaceful. Let’s call this ‘you’ as Ram. On the other, it is again ‘you’ who is restless, angry and stressed. Let’s call this as Raavan. There is another ‘you’ who is carrying the log of wood, over your shoulder and walking slowly into the waterfall. Let’s call this ‘you’ as Krishna. As the log of wood carrying your restless self enters first, the waterfall hits the log, creates a flutter and Raavan vanishes. 

You feel a little relaxed. Then the log moves further and ‘you’ who is carrying the log faces the same consequence. The waterfall of breath falls on Krishna and he also vanishes. Then the portion of the log of wood which carried your relaxed self also merges into the waterfall and Ram in restful state also vanishes. What remains is the ‘You’ who is watching the entire show from outside. Let’s call this ‘Seer’ as Shiva who has only been watching the waterfall, hearing the deep breaths, throughout the walk into the fall. 

There could be a stage when out of curiosity, even Shiva decides to peek on the other side of waterfall and see what happened to its other layers. This curiosity kills the cat. When you peak inside the fall, you see nothing. There is no noun but there is no verb as well. There is no male but no female too. The Karma and the Kriya also fuse together. I don’t know what would happen if Shiva decides to venture deeper on the other side, because I have not, but what I have done is to come back only to find myself emerging from the fall as the restful, happy ‘self’, Ram. 

I believe that it is only me which has emerged and I have left behind my restless, darker Raavan self on the other side. But soon Krishna would emerge carrying the log of wood, on which I have been sitting but I would not realise that till I look back and see Raavan emerge as well. Very soon, based on the events which unfold, I might be any of the three identities, Ram, Raavan or Krishna. The struggle would continue till I go back and look at the waterfall and realise that I am breathing. Then Shiva emerges out of nowhere. It seems that it was there throughout. But I have no clue when and where Shiva vanished and Ram emerged. It could be during the peak inside or the point of coming out. Or, it was only my lack of courage which transformed me into the self which I can best achieve. A consolation prize. 

The answer to the last riddle is perhaps not on the side of the fall from where I write this blog. It’s on the side of the fall which has nothing but ‘Nothingness’.

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