Friday, January 2, 2009

Confidence-Light

Shortly after my reawakening, I began writing letters to Guru.

Not all the time, mind you, but once every four or five months. I'd usually start such letters by giving Guru a basic update of my career and family life, and then summarize any dreams or experiences that I thought were of significance. From time to time, I'd also ask Guru rhetorical questions (generally speaking, Guru did not answer letters).

In the late spring of 2000 -- after Nirbachita had made her permanent move to New York -- I wrote one such letter to Guru. I started by telling Guru that I had decided to go to law school in San Diego. I had quickly become bored with my duties at the textbook publisher and had applied to four law schools. Of the three schools that accepted my application, the one in San Diego had the most to offer my family. We were set to move down from Monterey come July.

I then related, in my letter to Guru, some of the recent experiences I had been having in my walking meditations. Finally, I concluded the letter by asking Guru a question that I never expected him to answer.

Some 15 years earlier, Guru had written down what he thought was my worst personal quality (the back story is here). Written above, the note he gave me says: "Lack of Confidence-Light in the aspiration heart." In short, Guru's note meant that I had no confidence in my own spirituality. At the time, I didn't get it. But 15 years later, as I wrote my letter to Guru, I felt that I did finally understand.

Not only that, but I thought I had finally conquered my worst quality and I told Guru so in my letter. Since replacing Guru's picture with my own chakras as the object of my concentration, I had become almost spiritually cocky.

So, I ended my letter to Guru that spring with a question. I reminded him of that function so many years ago when he told me my worst quality. I told him that I thought I had overcome that problem, and I asked him if I was right. Then I dropped the letter in the mail.

Three days later I had an answer. I was sitting in my office at work when Nirbachita called. She was hesitant. She prefaced her remarks by saying that she was only passing a message on. She intimated that I wasn't going to like it.

"I was at the tennis court," she began, "and Guru called me aside. He says that you should not go to law school."

I felt a little stunned as Nirbachita continued. "Guru said that if you go to law school, you will lose whatever spirituality you might have left." I loved that last bit -- "whatever spirituality you might have left."

In any event, that was it. I didn't stay on the phone with Nirbachita much longer. Like I said, I was initially shocked. Could I make an about face and not go to law school? I thought about it for a moment, but there was no way. I'd already given notice at my job, secured student loans, et cetera.

Then, for about ten minutes or so, I was angry -- at Guru for interfering, at myself for inviting it. After calming down a bit, though, I began to reflect upon my own feelings. The more I thought about it, the more confident I began to feel in my decision to go. Nevertheless, as I began my short walk home from work that day, I was still a little stressed by Guru's message.

Why had I told Guru about my plans? Why had I invited him, with my letter, to interfere? As I walked home, I decided then and there to stop sending such letters to Guru.

Then it struck me: the letter!

In the letter that I had sent to Guru informing him about my plans to go to law school, I had boasted about having overcome my worst quality. In essence, I had told Guru that I was wholly confident in my own spirituality.

His response? To challenge my assertion.

On the one hand, my own Guru was telling me that if I went ahead with my plan to go to law school, then I'd lose all my spirituality. On the other hand, my own "aspiration-heart" was telling me to go to law school.

Where did my confidence lie?

As I made my way home, the hair on the back of my neck stood up.

2 comments:

Gururaj said...

Yoga is more about discipline than building muscles
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Y. said...

Thanks for reading!