Place. People. Purpose. Presence
Recently during the middle of a session, I requested participants
“Take a moment, close your eyes, and ask yourself what am I truly seeking?” There was silence. I waited, while they checked in to check what they truly wanted. After some time they opened their eyes. I was curious to hear what they would say.
“What I truly want is happiness.” said somebody
“What I truly want is peace of mind.” said another.
“What I truly want is a state of no mind.” said someone else.
Then suddenly someone asked me “What are you seeking?” taking me by surprise.
I took a pause. Closed my eyes. Only one word came to mind.
As I said that, I could sense each one could resonate with this single word, home.
What Is Home?
A place where we belong. Feel secure. A place that nourishes us. Where we can be ourself. Express ourself freely. Feel loved.
Aren’t we all looking for home?
Home is a place. Living in the mountains close to nature is home for some. For some home is the beach house facing the sea. For others home is a 2 bedroom hall kitchen in the city. Whatever that is, it is a space we come back to rejuvenate ourself.
A counsellor once asked me “Does your room nourish you?” I was living with my grandparents at that time. My room had four clocks, three calendars and paraphernalia that had outlived its usage. My grandparents felt, anything could be needed at any time. Things only came into the house, never went.
I was fascinated by this question “Does your room nourish you?” It never occurred to me that a room is meant to nourish me. Until then I thought a room is for living, not nourishment.
That question impacted me so much that I moved out and started staying on my own for the first time. My new place had bright curtains, big windows opening into a garden and a goldfish swimming in a glass bowl. This felt like home.
Home is people. They make us feel welcomed and loved. If we are lucky this could be the family we are born into. If we are not, then we have to find our family.
Family is not blood relations. Family is people with whom we share a bond. People who see us for who we are, cherish what is important to us and hold a non-judgemental listening space when we need it the most.
I never got a chance to bond with my parents as I was brought up by my grandparents. There was a generational gap between me and them. Most of our conversations were about doing well in studies and getting a good job.
The first time I experienced someone listen to me with complete attention, was when I went to a counsellor. After my first session I felt delighted and sad at the same time. Delighted that at last I found someone who could hear me unconditionally. Sad because I could get that only by paying money.
Over time I found my tribe. People interested in self-growth. People willing to be authentic. People not shy of sharing their vulnerability. And sometimes people who have none of the above qualities but are genuinely nice and helpful.
Whenever I can be myself in the presence of another without editing parts of me. And the other person can do the same. That feels like home.
Home is purpose. An expression of our natural self. When we are expressing our innate nature, we are not working. We are just being ourself.
A rose does not have to work to smell like a rose. Its fragrance is innate to it. An oak tree does not have to work to be strong like an oak tree. Its strength is innate to it. Similarly there are certain expressions that are natural to certain people. These expressions are effortless and spontaneous, because they have been gifted to us by nature.
Unfortunately we are conditioned to do what others are doing, make money, be successful. This disconnects us from our innateness. Often people do not know what gives them joy. Even if they do, it is relegated to hobbies or past time.
Becoming a Chartered Accountant was part of my conditioning. Being a teacher and a writer is an expression of my naturalness. In fact I am not even a ‘teacher’ or a ‘writer’. I am just being me. These labels come later, when people ask “What do you do?” One day I will respond “I do not do anything. I am.”
When we do what is natural to us, we lose the sense of time and space. We become one with one with what we are doing. We become one with existence. The Universe expresses itself through us. When I teach and wite I feel like that. It feels like home.
Finally our true home is Presence.
The reason we seek peace of mind or no mind is because being entangled in thoughts does not feel like home. More often than not we are not using the mind, the mind is using us. Not just using us but abusing us with its unwanted thoughts.
We have no control over the mind. It is churning thoughts morning to night. Unwanted, unproductive, disturbing thoughts, without our permission. We want freedom from the mind because we feel uncomfortable being pushed and shoved around by it. Something in us longs for silence and stillness.
When our mind is silent, we get in touch with living presence. Pure Existence. Without words, memory, imagination. We realise we are not the character and the story. The mind has created them by putting together past events. We are. Simply are.
This isness of existence feels like home. Existence is not judging us, telling us to become someone or instructing us to do something. It accepts us as we are. Breathing. Conscious. Alive. Devoid of all our ideas about ourself.
As I sit on my bed, next to a big window overlooking the green valley, I close my eyes. My attention gradually withdraws from the racing mind. Thoughts dissolve into silence. I am no longer this or that. I am Silent Awareness watching the play of Existence.
I Am Home