Sri Rajen Vakil
One of the things we learn to work on in ourselves is the observation of possessiveness.
Possessiveness is a form of deep identification and keeps us buried in the sleep and identification of life. Its external manifestation is seen whenever we use the word ‘my’. I have seen professionals, artists or artisans getting offended if someone touches their tools or instruments.
Modern capitalism and the advent of private property protected by law has ingrained in us a deep attitude of ‘this mine’ and ‘these are my rights’. Among old African tribes, there has never been a concept of ‘private property’. Everything belongs to the tribe and they take what they need. However, modern society cannot fathom this inbuilt attitude and labels such tribespeople as thieves.
We say ‘my’ to not only our physical possessions (‘my breakfast, ‘my tea’), but also ‘my memory’, ‘my experience’, ‘my right’.
We feel a right to not only things, but feelings as well. When things don’t go our way, we say ‘I have a right to be angry’. ‘I have a right to act in this very mean way.’
But spirituality says I have a right only to not be angry.
When we study Essence and Personality, we discover that everything personal is personality. Our aim is to be free of the personality.
One of the exercises Mr. Tavaria gave me was to not take anything personally for one year. If someone asks, ‘Can I borrow your car’, do not take it personally. ‘Whose car?’
If my son were to get a fever… ‘Whose son?’ That does not mean I become rigid and do not get him treated. Rigidity is the other extreme.
As we practice this exercise, our consciousness starts expanding. We see that at the moment that I’m saying my son is not well, thousands of people are saying the same thing.
An event is not personal. It is neutral. It is our choice to take it personally or not. If we take it personally, we only reinforce the hold of personality or fall deeper into identification. But if we say, ‘It is an event and I have been caught up in it because I’m under the influence of a law’, then we try to understand the law and through this, experience freedom.
Through this exercise of not taking anything personally, we will observe possessiveness. When someone insults us, treats us badly, we will say ‘Whom have they insulted? There is nothing personal.”
If we can practice this over some time, we will see so many changes in our lives.
The whole aim of the spiritual journey is freedom from the Ego. When there is nothing personal, where is the Ego? This is moksha, freedom. We have arrived at the highest pedestal in life.
As we start becoming free from the personal, a new intelligence is born within us. The word intelligence comes from the Latin intellectus which is a noun that comes from the verb intelligere — to perceive, to comprehend. This new intelligence can perceive the truth of life — it is free of the personal.
As long as we are bound by the personal, our intelligence is bound by habits, attitudes and fixed ideas. We see life through a set of conditionings. It is a rigid intelligence and only perceives what it wants to see.
However, this new intelligence is not bound by anything, it is adaptable and every moment in life, finds the right way. Lao Tzu calls it ‘the watercourse way’. A small mountain stream does not shift a boulder in its path but goes around.
Similarly, in every situation in life, this intelligence finds a way out without any conflict or violence or aggressiveness. This is truly the spiritual man.