Till the Breath Flows I am Useful

Friendships that drop off do not affecting me as such. Well, this happened and has stayed with me ever since – only a pen that is useful is used, or else it is discarded. This light was switched on when I was listening to the Ashtavakra discourse by Sri Sri Ravishankar. This was way back in I think 2001. During the discourse, Guruji was explaining a shloka. To explain it in as simple words as possible he gave an example. He mentioned that people often go crying to him saying they have been betrayed and let down by people, who turn the backs on them. Guruji said, well one can only use a pen as long as it is useful to them.

From this I figured that friendships last till your useful is; and when you are of use to them they walk away and make space for someone else to enjoy your usefulness. Well, this does not indicate that all friends only use each other. But then, is there any harm in using each other? After all usefulness indicates ability to be used! 

This thought of being useful works so well for me, for then when friends drop off the wagon, I thank them graciously for having put me to proper use and now making way for my usefulness for others. Can I really mourn friends dropping off.

Well, maybe the person I am, preferring my own company diving deeper into knowledge, creativity, the silent crevices of my being, I feel being around people and indulging in boring conversations drain my energies. I feel every breath should be utilized productively, even if it means doing nothing at all. Doing nothing at all is actually doing great service to the self! Refuel, re-inspire, re-motivate, re-search, re-design, are some of the actions that happen when you actually indulge in doing nothing at all. 

The greatest of inventors, explorers, writes, artists, and greats from almost all walks of life are those who are most comfortable in their own company. Their alone time takes them deeper into the ocean of wisdom within. They spend time in the warmth of candle within. They search for innovations, solutions, brilliance from the black hole within. 

People around them inspire their creative genius, but that is where all their relationships and friendships begin and end. What and who does not inspire their creativity, they consider toxic. Those who inspire them are like a breath of fresh air. A distraction that removes them from the mundane.

Their productivity is their focus. They persevere to help others. What they find within themselves is the vastness of their being that can be spread to create what they do. The greatest of artists have inspired artist through centuries. The greatest of writers have inspired poets and authors to produce books for readers of all genres. The greatest of inventors have inspired inventors through the centuries to better the world technically, mechanically, medicinally, politically, sociologically, philosophically, dynamically. The greatest of explorer have inspired explorers through the centuries to explore beyond this planet and reach into the galaxy.

There is a world out there that is suffering because of atrocities. I would rather spend my time alone, going beyond the body and reaching out in spirit healing them. Faithful prayers move mountains. Yet, I feel that every step of usefulness creates a path of productivity. Not everyone is born to be a saint, or an activist or a soldier, or a lawyer, or a hair-stylist, or a doctor. 

While we believe the doctors are useful for their patients, well the patients are definitely useful for the doctors. Without patients, doctors would cease to do anything. Their years of studying and research would be spent dwindling their thumbs. 

The human plain is a network of usefulness. Everybody is useful to everybody, however, the weak drown in their black holes of self-pity and inferiority complex; the empowered swim in the oceans of awareness and usefulness.  

The post productive are those who are aware that The Universe invests its breath in them, so that the returns are beyond the imagination of the ignorant leading their lives in the mundane greyness of their mind, intellect and ego. The ignorant refrain from going beyond the textbooks. They prefer to serve and be served within limited lines of each page of their notebooks. They are the ones who are good for their likes, but eat into the vauable time of those who take comfort on meditating on possibilities and impossibilities. 

I am not claiming to be as superior as the greatest of creative geniuses that have invented, or explored or created what an ignorant mind cannot comprehend. Yet, I do feel strongly that every breath breathed into this body is to be used productively. What makes me uncomfortable pulls me away from creative inspiration and brings me to ignorant darkness where complains, nagging, smallness, growling, grumbling exist. I don’t find any solace being in that dark space. That black hole is the worst, because it is a limited pit, at the end of which you only get hurt and return so wounded, that it takes a long, long time to heal.

Instead for me the black hole of limitless inspiration, wisdom, divinity is where I prefer to dwell. It is where thoughts are silenced, emotions are calmed, judgements are paralysed, there are no images and not active-hormone-churning-memories. It is where only space exists and the self is stretched to gain the maximum. It is where innocence and wonderment is rewarded for the prayerful peace. The prayers are silent, the peace is deafening to the ears. The vision is perched on horizons beyond horizons. The purpose dawns, the usefulness is ignited.

Not everyone is born to be famous on the platform of popularity propagated by the media and faction called the paparazzi. Yet, everyone is born to serve their purpose. The purpose of life is individualistic. Everyone’s purpose is different. Every body is not meant to reach the stature of global leadership, fame or popularity; and yet every body is meant to lead a purpose-full life, that blooms further and further in the wealth of wisdom, nurtured by knowledge and experience.

A nurturing, loving homemaker is as important as the superstar who entertains us with their films; is as important as the premier of a nation; is as important as the record-breaking sportspersons; is as important as the sweepers; is as important as the social activists; is as important as the banker; is as important as the richest of the richest; is as important as the beggar on the street. Each plays an important role in making the world an inspired place to experience the journey of life.

To me usefulness and productivity of the self is the ability to inspire and empower others. Help them help themselves. You can give alms to the beggar till you feel generous enough; however, you can inspire the beggar to earn a living, which will dignify their existence above and beyond the generosity you show with the petty alms you distribute.

I have been through the tumultuous cycles of life. The lows have brought me immense pain. I confess I have welcomed suicidal ideations to cloud the self. I have attempted to discard the body by causing it harm. The advice I used to receive used to either make me cringe, or then binge on addictive self-pity. During the lows I felt I was being buried by those around. Their inquiring indulgences, their interference, their judgements, their opinions never gave me power. I feel their words strung the chords of wanting to commit suicide, for I always felt miniscule in front of them.

What would drive me out of such phases and bring me out victoriously would be my deep diving within. I would lock myself in my room for days together, doing nothing; sometimes picking a book, or then simply reading the Bhagwad Gita. I would delve into understanding the wisdom behind the painful experience, and as it would dawn, and the light within would shine bright, I would emerge, renewed, refreshed and ready to go.

Every down-circle led me to go deep within and search the light covered by the dark clouds. I would allow myself to cry into the pillow, till the tear glands would be dried. I would write notes of anger and frustration and tear them off. Once the noise would subside, the wisdom would rise and I was ready for a new lesson to show me the way through experience onto wisdom.

Through these cycles I learnt that nobody can switch on the light for anyone. The power to switch on your own light lies with you. However, you need to be ready to light it up; you have to be ready to give up your addiction for toxic emotions and uncover the flame within. It is not that once you discover the light life is all easy. In fact, every new challenge can be more difficult, yet you will find it easier to surpass the levels, because you are driven by your usefulness to bounce back, without much ado, or delay. 

Since I found the power within me to bounce back, I felt compelled to inspire others to seek the answers they search from within. Anyone who reached out to me for counselling and guidance, be it friends, family, relatives and clients, I would first listen to them completely, and then inspire them enough to help them realize the need to help themselves, rather than depend on others.

While as a counsellor, friend, guide, philosopher, healer, I found my usefulness of my breath for each other. Life took a turn when I got married. The husband encouraged me to take a sabbatical from being a counselling psychologist and encouraged me to live my life, quench my thirst for creative learnings. 

I went onto this path, and went prancing from workshop-to-workshop learning as many forms of creativity as I could. I splurge on art and craft materials, made gifts for loved ones. But then, suddenly a sense of uselessness sneaked in when I saw no purpose in all my creative produces. No walls to hang them, no place to keep them. I slipped into the zone of feeling useless, and the turbulence increased with peri-menopause symptoms. Suddenly I was heading towards a downward spiral, because I felt so useless. I felt I was wasting every breath breathed into me.

My thought process reversed itself towards the upward spiral when I realised that in my so-called uselessness, I have always been useful. Oh yes!

Let’s begin with the husband. My presence, makes the husband go to work confidently and return home happily. The husband’s happiness and peace of mind is celebrated by my sisters-in-law and their family, his dearest friends-who-are-more-like-family, his boss-who-is-more-like-a-father, and those who work with him. Me taking a backseat where my family matters are concerned has put the husband in the respectful driver’s seat manoeuvring my family through thick and thin; which I see makes him very happy. My artistic ventures gives the husband an opportunity to put his point of view across, along with suggestions and criticisms. Do you know the joy a man experiences when he can freely criticise the wife? The next time your husband criticises you, just look at him and smile, and you’ll see him gloat. Well, give him his moment, and you’ll always be happy.

So, really every breath that has been flowing though me has been put to effective use, as being on a sabbatical has put me into the position of being a homemaker of my own home. I value my productivity and freedom. I respect the boundaries even more.

When I look back at my life, I really do not mourn the downward turn of my wheel of fortune, for I celebrate how useful I have been to the self, and all those around me. I celebrate my productivity. I celebrate my self-empowerment through being useful to the self and others. The gift of life is the breath that flows though me, and till in this body, I wish to be useful, not clouded by ambitions of being famously useful; but rather being loved and cherished for my usefulness.

It matters to me that people can depend on me to be empowered to find their own light and move out of their woods. Yet, I do get suffocated by those who are so needy that their presence is strangulated. They don’t respect usefulness, for they always want you to be at their beck and call to serve their whims and fancies. My usefulness is not being an ornament sewed onto their garb of friends lists.

Yet, if I am to be with friends, it should be to uplift each other and celebrate each other’s lives. 

When they shed tears I’ll always give them the tissue box to wipe their tears, listen to them, hold them as they empty out their emotions, take them deep within so that they return empowered by their own light.

Oh yes, and I will enjoy indulging in card games, binge watching Netflix, and kitty-partying with the fun lot, and shopping and art-ing & crafting, and cooking, and travelling, and partying, and re-union-ing with the school friends, and nagging the husband every now and then, and writing, and counselling and guiding. Everything I do is being useful to my self, while all enjoy the fruits of my productivity for them.

I pray that till the breath flows I am useful! 

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