Chapter 8: In Pushing The Lower The Higher Delights

Transition is never easy, but without transition there is no evolution. There is no growth within your comfort zone. Unless you are willing to challenge yourself beyond your comfort zones, you cannot become what you can become. Sometimes, you need to give up to go up.

First job, first employer, first boss and first salary… Every ‘first’ related to your career isn’t something you are going to forget in a lifetime. In fact, all career progresses will be benchmarked against these firsts. Your first organisation and your first job can have a major bearing on your work ethics all through your life.

It was a major breakthrough for Sath, Avyakta’s son, who had received an offer letter from one of the premium organisations. To many it would have been a dream come true, but Sath was reluctant. He had to relocate himself to a new city and he wasn’t prepared to do so. He was very attached to his parents and his friends meant everything to him. Sath argued, “Why should I lose everything I cherish in search of something that is only a promise? I will be happy with any job that doesn’t take me away from my friends and my parents.”

Avyakta and Sath used to play badminton every morning. While Sath was a natural athlete, Avyakta needed to get into shape. Avyakta’s urge to excel in whatever he did and Sath’s reckless smashes due to overconfidence balanced the players. The games between them were always competitive. The honours of that morning went to Sath. He won 2-1. Father and son sat in the cafeteria, just outside the badminton court. They had ordered for fresh watermelon juice. Sath was expecting Avyakta to open up, and he wasn’t let down.

Avyakta gently wiped the sweat from Sath’s forehead with the palm of his right hand and said, “Why sacrifice early morning sleep, why run around the court, why sweat it out? What for? We could have just lazed around in the comfort of our home.”

Sath smiled and said, “All that lazing around is the cause of your Indian Standard Tummy (IST).” Saying so, he punched his father’s flabby stomach. “Moreover,” Sath continued, “how much joy we derive out of being athletic? What fun thumping you 2-1?
How does it feel when the hand-eye coordination is perfect, and to watch the way the feet move? Wow!!! So what, if we have to sweat it out?”

“That’s the point Sath,” Avyakta retorted. “The law of life is ‘When the lower is pushed, the higher delights’. When the body is pushed beyond its perceived limits, the mind delights. When the body tells you ‘I can’t walk one more block. I can’t run another lap. I cannot trek any more’, and then when it is pushed beyond its perceived limits and it walks that additional block, runs another lap and treks further – the mind delights. Against the pleading of your body when you do a few more push-ups or a few more reps of the bicep curls or another dozen squats – the mind delights. When the lower – the body is pushed, the higher – the mind delights.”

A little on the defensive, Sath enquired, “Well, the concept is wonderful. The philosophy is mind- blowing. But what are you driving at?” By then the juice was served. Father and son exchanged a few uneasy glances through the corner of their eyes. Feeling the fresh, cool juice going down the throat was refreshing.

“You are neither so big that I have to give you an indirect message, nor am I so small that I have to hide my intent and deliver an indirect message to you.
Ours is not a formal relationship, kid. It is a relationship of freedom and openness,” Avyakta said and added, “I am going to share something that is life-changing. So listen with devotion. As a continuation to what I have been saying, quietening the mind is a struggle for the mind, but a delight to the intellect. So, whenever you try to do any process to develop your concentration, try to curtail the wandering nature of the mind and get it to focus on a single-point – the mind feels pushed but the higher – the intellect, delights. That’s why clarity is always the fruit of concentration.”

“Listen, Sath,” continued Avyakta, “There is always this inner intellectual conflict between our instincts and conscience. Our instincts ask us to follow the path of ‘pain and pleasure’ while our conscience demands us to follow the path of ‘right and wrong’. It is this that causes the intellectual split in us. What we call as guilt is nothing but the disapproval of the ‘knower’ in us to an act of the ‘doer’ in us; that is when the conscience doesn’t endorse the instincts. Resolving this split and living as an integrated person is the struggle of the intelligence, but it is the delight of the higher – emotional personality. And so it is at every level. To be caught in the turbulence of various emotions is the natural way of an emotional being. To resolve these emotional turbulences and to be able to live in a state of emotional equanimity is the delight of the higher – the spiritual personality in us. That’s why spiritual centeredness is achieved only when man achieves purity in his feelings. With all the examples and explanations, I am trying to drive only one point, ‘When the lower is pushed, the higher delights’.”

They settled the bill and walked towards the car. Sath took the driver’s seat. Avyakta said, “I have never taken decisions for you and I never will. But I can’t stop opening up your mind, especially when you are blind to possibilities. If you want an edge over the rest, then you need ‘Horizontal Exposure with Vertical Expertise’. Think of anyone you look up to, be it in sports or industry or politics or cinema or even within the family – those who have an edge have it because of ‘Horizontal Exposure with Vertical Expertise’. I won’t ask you to settle down anywhere other than a place of your choice. I respect your feelings for your parents and friends. In fact, I am proud of you for that. But for sheer exposure, I think you should relocate yourself geographically for some time. So much of your personality will be shaped in the process. I will miss you too. Do you think it is going to be easy for me? But I had made a commitment a long time ago to push my lower self and give that delight to my higher self. ”

The car entered the garage. As Sath was about to open the car door, Avyakta said, “Just a minute Sath. Struggle, suffering, challenges, testing periods, tough times – in fact, all these are part of the vocabulary of a man who is seeing only the lower being pushed without recognising how the higher delights in the process. You are saying the caterpillar is being pushed. I am saying the butterfly is being born. Every time man is pushed, God delights… for, it is through this push that man is created. Align yourself to this spiritual truth and a lot about your life will change.”

Sath entered the house, went straight to his room, picked up a book titled ‘One Page Wisdom’ and went to the restroom. He opened a page at random and read the following story…

At the bottom of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far from the sun. They did notice that every once in a while, one from their colony, clinging to a lily stalk gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more. “Look!” said one of the water bugs to others, “One from our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she’s going? Wasn’t she happy here? Where do you suppose she went?” No one had an answer. Finally one of the water bugs spoke up, “I have an idea. The next one of us to climb up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell the rest of us where he went and why.”

As providence would have it, the very water bug that had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up and up he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broken through the surface of the water and fell onto a broad lily pad above. When he opened his eyes, he couldn’t believe what he felt. A startling change had come over his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings. The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from his new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself above the water. He had become a dragonfly.

Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. He flew happily into his wonderful new world of sun and air. Every now and then, the new dragonfly landed happily on a lily pad to rest. It was then that he chanced to look below, at the bottom of the pond. He was right above his old friends, the water bugs! Then the dragonfly remembered the promise. Without thinking, he dived down. He hit the surface of the water and bounced away. He again landed to rest on the lily pad, of course, having realised:

1. If I had not chosen to outgrow the colony of water bugs, to which I was so attached, I would never have become a dragonfly.

2. Now that I have become a dragonfly, even if I want, I can never go back to where I came from.

3. Even if I somehow manage to go back, the colony of water bugs – my old friends – will no longer be able to recognise me in my new form; they won’t understand me.

4. I have to wait till one of them also becomes a dragonfly, for, only then will they understand what has happened to me.

Coming out of the restroom, Sath headed towards Avyakta and said, “Dad, till I become you, I won’t understand you. However, I have decided to live a life that will delight the Gods. I am ready to be pushed, both horizontally and vertically. Dad, to put it in your words, I am ready for most and more….”

Struggle, suffering, challenges, testing periods, tough times – in fact, all these are part of the vocabulary of a man who is seeing only the lower being pushed without recognising how the higher delights in the process. You are saying the caterpillar is being pushed. I am saying the butterfly is being born. Every time man is pushed, God delights… for, it is through this push that man is created.