2021: The Year My Calling Found Me
Finding my core
“Until you find your core, you will be lost.” said a counsellor to me once. “It is that one thing that you do, and only you can do it, in the way you do.” she continued. I heard her patiently. It made me wonder, what was my core? My unique offering to the world. As a marketing professional would put it, my brand identity.
I have struggled most of my life figuring that out. Like a thirsty traveller, I have sought my calling to quench the true expression of my soul. It has been an intense longing and a long journey. Finally I have found it. Or perhaps it found me. But before I tell you what it is and how it has transformed my life, let me tell you a story.
The story of how I found my core.
“What do you want to become?” asked a relative. I was 11 years old. “Pilot!” I said. I had no idea why I said that. I guess I was fascinated by smart uniforms and flying to different countries. Subsequent to that I didn’t think about what I wanted to become, for a long time to come.
The demands of the education system never gave me the freedom to reflect on what I wanted to do for most of my life. I was preoccupied with mugging up for exams, getting a rank and moving forward from one class to another. As long as I did well in studies and sports, parents, teachers and anyone who mattered, were satisfied.
There was never any exploration of my natural interest or self-expression. I had no clue what these were and what relevance they held for my life. There was no necessity for self-reflection or making personal choices. The school curriculum decided everything. What I would study, which book I would read and how I would be evaluated. I was like a passenger in a train whose journey and destination were predetermined.
Finally, when I graduated I was asked to choose what I wanted to do in life. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I chose Chartered Accountancy because most of my college mates were doing that. I just wanted to be part of the crowd. There was safety in being with others. Being alone was terrifying.
The next two decades were spent in the corporate world. Working in finance and human resources. Somewhere along the way I realised I was meant to facilitate human potential. I moved to learning and development, with the intent of being a corporate trainer. This led to the next step of becoming an organisation development consultant. Until a point came where it all felt meaningless.
This is when Yoga entered my life. This was a refreshing change. I could intuitively grasp the wisdom of Yoga and share it with others in an engaging way. This made a difference to my life and others. I have written about my journey from Chartered Accountancy to Yoga in a previous article, so I won’t delve more into that here. It is sufficient to say this made me realise that fulfilment is not a matter of outer acquisition but inner integrity.
Yet something was missing. I was doing structured programs. Be it workshops or classes, everything that I did had a predetermined topic and structure. One could ask, what is wrong with this? After all, how can one teach without a predetermined topic or content?
The Mindful Living classes that I conduct online had a new topic of personal growth every month. For 15 months I did different topics ranging from self-knowledge, healthy habits, healthy relationships, emotional well-being, creative living, public speaking, decision making, Yoga Sutras, Bhagavad Gita etc. I wondered, how would I sustain this? What would I teach when I ran out of topics and content?
Then on 1st November 2021 something happened.
I began a class without an agenda.
No topic, no content, no structure. All I knew was that going forward I would be teaching about mindfulness, meditation and self-knowledge. What I would do in each session was unknown. I would fall or fly.
The session was spontaneous, refreshing and relevant to the requirements of the participants. More than the positive feedback from the participants, I felt energised and charged. I had entered into a new terrain of spontaneity. The Universe decided what would emerge in the moment.
Since then my preparation for each class has been to be unprepared. Go empty. Sometimes the classes are about healing and self-expression, sometimes a particular topic gets discussed, sometimes we practice mindfulness, sometimes we read from a spiritual text, sometimes we pray and chant, sometimes we sit silently. And sometimes it’s a little bit of everything. Whatever it is, it emerges in the moment.
So what is my calling?
To be empty and teach about emptiness.
Let me explain.
Most of our life is spent trying to do something or become someone. If we are told to do nothing, we would not know what to do. Even if we are instructed to sit still and be quiet for 5 minutes, most people would start fidgeting and want to get up and do something. Most of our actions are driven from our inability to be with ourself.
The essence of mindfulness, meditation, Yoga and spirituality is to find our core that is devoid of concepts, beliefs and ideas. This dimension is the Witness of all that is. All experiences and phenomena come and go, this witnessing dimension always remains. There are no words to describe that which witnesses. At best we can use words like emptiness, space, silence, stillness, presence, being, awareness or consciousness.
I facilitate the awareness of Awareness.
Since there is no personal identity in awareness, it would be better to say, awareness facilitates the awareness of awareness.
Since this realisation, I have noticed there is greater ease and comfort in what I teach. There is curiosity to see what emerges. There is fun and playfulness in the interactions with and among participants. There is fresh insight and deeper understanding. There is impact, without the need to create an impact.
2021 has given birth to a new bud of self-awareness. It has sprouted out of the ground of intuitive intelligence. It has faith in its own essence.
In normal parlance I could be called a mindfulness, meditation or spiritual teacher. How I teach is unique, given my experience and background. What I teach is not unique. It is one, without another. It is the realisation of Oneness.
My calling is my core. Not just mine, it is the Universal Core.