A moment of reflection

29 Nov

I don’t have words. Lately, I’ve come to realise that I prefer to keep silent even from the written word. It feels as if this is the time for me to take in, not give out. It is a time for more than just introspection, it is a time for concerted self-realisation through God-realisation. I need to find out what my purpose is in life. Not for me the question ‘who am I’. I think I know who I am: I am a child of God and the only thing I want is to feel God in my daily life, to merge with God. Of other ambitions, I have none. (If I were to read this sentence on someone else’s blog, I would immediately think that person was trying to build herself up as a martyr, create a holier-thou aura about herself. But seeing how it is for myself, I regret my tendency to judge, for I don’t want to be judged alike.)

This is troubling, not because I feel I should have more of an interest in the world I live in, but because I don’t think the path to God-realisation lies  through this washing off of one’s hands. I’m keen to not be attached, I’m keen to not leave a mark on a place or a person, I’m apprehensive of being tainted by the physicality of my presence in this world. But I only manage to do that in a shallow, meaningless way. In the ways that really matter, I am bound to my body, to my desires, to the habits that try and interrupt spiritual routine very regularly. I am fortunate that the journey of my spiritual growth lies not in my hands, but in God’s, because otherwise I wouldn’t be lovingly given chance after chance to feel his Love.

I can’t reach God through escapism, and I need to give myself in service. What that translates into in practical terms, is that I need to think about where I want to work. What style of work do I want? Do I need to think about money, a steady career, a job that stays restricted to reasonable office hours, leaving me time to work, work, work at my meditation?  I don’t have answers, I am still searching at 25. I’m aware of that for some of the options that could translate into careers I am running out of time.

I started this post, because I was suddenly excited by the possibility of applying to the Teach for India fellowship. There is a part of me that has been wondering about working with children as a more fulfilling career option. Reading some blogs, particularly this one, I realised this was yet again an escapist choice making. I had no idea of how much work goes into this, the kind of hours that have to be kept, and in the process of reading post after post on Mukaam, I came to realise two things.

The first, is that I need to change how I think about a job: I need to be not only looking at doing a decent job and going home, but I need to be driven enough to do more, create more, expand what my 100% means, every day. I have to be enthusiastic about what I do.

The second, more profound realisation for me, what that I should stop beating myself up when I read about or associate with people who put in tremendous amounts of hard work. I think I need to believe that there are many kinds of hard work, and the stone that two people chip away at need not be the same-they needn’t even be stone. The subject of hard work for some people might be their work, for others it might be their minds. If I were to translate my meaning in terms of my dissertation, it would be thus: for a colleague of mine, hard work might mean rigorous daily fieldwork and teaching at a job. Or for another, rigorous literature review even from a sick-bed. But I think they have that something in their minds, a switch or a channel, that allows for the translation of will to act, even though it might not match the scale of what is willed in the first place. There are people like me, I think, who need to put in that kind of effort into flipping that switch or creating that channel. I need to put effort into my fieldwork/literature review and getting my mind to believe that I can actually think, write produce. I need to work hard to fight the listlessness, the lack of energy, the panic and the melancholy that take hold of me without notice. I need to fight a daily battle with my mind: this, I think, is my primary spiritual training at this stage of my life. We are not given hardships that we cannot bear, for we bear through Him, and the process of learning to address adversity is what makes us GROW in discipleship.

So when I think of work, I think I need to re-orient my conception of it. Working on MYSELF is my primary job for now, because as they say on airplanes: put the mask on yourself before you help children and the elderly. I’m no good at giving myself, till this myself learns to behave and be in God at all times. This doesn’t mean that I give no thought at all to a job, that I take on any job for the sake of a livelihood (though I am tempted sometimes!). It means I pray, and apply, when the time comes, to jobs that seem to match my priorities and leave the rest to God.

It is ironic that after beginning this thought process by saying ‘I don’t have words’, and being convinced that I don’t know my mind enough to grasp my thoughts, I have ended up with almost thousand words of greater lucidity than I have seen in such attempts in the recent past. Goes to show, how little I know!:)


3 Responses to “A moment of reflection”

  1. countingducks November 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    I read this with interest. In some senses, I believe, the more you think, the less you know. Faith is all about acceptance without the need for proof. As your faith grows the purpose and centre of your life may change. As I got older I worried less about what I wanted and concentrated more on what I was. Trying to be the best and most accepting individual I could make out of my own experiences and limitations. Your ruminations do you credit. I have added you to my Blogroll so I can keep coming back here.

    • astudentinkolkata December 2, 2012 at 12:12 am #

      Wise words, countingducks 🙂 I was taken by surprise at a recent realisation that despite believing I have faith, in some difficult situations, I lose it. I think it’s faith in ‘myself’ that I’m losing, but actually it’s faith in something larger.

      You’ve just inspired me to start my own blogroll!


  1. Further remunimunations | In Calcutta, a student. - November 2, 2017

    […] from my morning cup of coffee that was fueling my enthusiasm or something more lasting. Was it like the time I contemplated applying for Teach for India? Even before I received the reply to my email detailing the profile of the job, I knew I was […]

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