Personal reflections · Reminders to self · Words of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo

Quit Wallowing in the Mud

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Anytime anything goes wrong with our petty little lives, our immediate reaction is to blame someone else. That person didn’t do what he or she should have done. He or she did this wrong toward me. They are the ones who did this to me.

Or we blame something. Circumstances. Life. God.

We begin to question life itself. We start wondering why is life so unfair, why is god so unjust, why is the world so unbearable. In our worse moments we even begin to wonder if somehow the whole universe has conspired against us. It may even feel that there is probably no end to the present turmoil.

If we aren’t blaming others, life, world and universe, we begin to find faults with ourselves.

Surely, I deserved this pain and suffering, and that’s why I am going through such terrible time. Or perhaps I am not meant to experience joy and happiness. Or perhaps I am simply undeserving of nature’s blessing and gods’ grace. Or perhaps I am not intelligent or strong enough to find my way through this maze of life. Or perhaps this. Or that.

Why do we love to wallow in such self-pity? Is it because our vital egos somehow enjoy this negative self-analysis? Kind of like – if I can’t even have my moment of self-pity, what is the point of going through so much pain? But let’s think about it a little. Isn’t this self-pity just another form of an attention-seeking behaviour? Are we seeking attention from ourselves, from our own egos?

Maybe such behaviour happens because we are so used to look below. Always below.

Modern psychology, for the most part, tells us that anytime something is wrong with our lives, something isn’t going the way we would prefer, the cause is perhaps in our subconscious. And if we can only access those dark parts of our being, those parts hidden from our awareness, we may be able to identify the cause(s) and work upon those.

Not fully wrong. But not fully right either.

After all, given the vast complexity of Life and Existence how can one really know what possible factors have had an impact on a particular moment or experience of a particular individual? Out of all the infinite possibilities that exist out there, how would one know which particular possibility made a certain experience possible for a certain individual, me? And how will we begin to identify those tiny little hidden parts in ourselves where that one minuscule possibility out of the infinite possibilities have had an impact?

We don’t know. But somehow we still start to look for the possible cause(s) in the darkness-es of our being. In those parts that are not normally exposed to the light. In our past, in our stories from the past, our past, past of those near and dear to us. But can we ever really know our past? For that matter, can we ever really know our present? I mean, really know.

We don’t know and yet we keep looking.

Have you ever wondered how the outcome might be different if we looked up? Instead of groping in the dark if we allowed the light to come in, wouldn’t the looking become a lot easier, to begin with?

But from where would the light come? Can it be from the mind? But so much of our mind is also in darkness, hidden from us. Unsure of itself, uncertain, doubtful. Isn’t that so? We must look elsewhere.

That elsewhere has to be someplace higher than mind. Someplace more certain. Which actually sees and knows, not just processes information.

What is that source of certainty, that source of light which is capable of giving us an in-sight?

Is it to be found in religion? Spiritual quest? Ritualistic worship? Inner silencing? Belief? Faith? Karma yoga? Bhakti yoga? Meditation? Nature walk? Spiritual philosophy? Spiritual realisation? The answer may vary according to each temperament and inclination.

Easier said than done? Sure. Most things are. Almost all things are. But being the mental creatures that we are in our present stage of evolution, unless our minds are convinced of something we may not even entertain the possibility of trying it out.

Also, think about this. When we fall into a dark muddy pit would we rather continue to wallow in the mud or would we try to climb out by looking up?

Up toward the light.

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“The significance of the lotus is not to be found by analyzing the secrets of the mud from which it grows here; its secret is to be found in the heavenly archetype of the lotus that blooms for ever in the Light above… you must know the whole before you can know the part and the highest before you can truly understand the lowest.” (Sri Aurobindo)

Linking with ABC Wednesday, Q: Q is for Quit

25 thoughts on “Quit Wallowing in the Mud

  1. …….your post….. i’ve read it twice… how wonderful written!
    Struggling with life due to many healthproblems, a very painfull past, a constant presentness of my Bi-Polar-disorder …makes life all the way challenging for me.

    ‘Quit Wallowing” …i so much can relate to that but its very difficult to firstly get aware of ones own behaviour and secondly to change it… its so tiresome, and there are times which leave no energy for anything else but survival!

    Have a nice abc-wednesday-day / -week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

    1. Thanks Melody for your heartfelt comment. I agree completely it can feel exhausting to constantly be aware of one’s inner movements and then to keep changing things that are not in sync with the deeper aspiration of calmness and bliss. We all carry too much baggage to not feel these emotions of self-pity etc. And maybe that’s why I felt like writing this post, as a reminder to myself to rise above that. I am happy it touched some readers as well. Thanks for reading.

  2. It is very true that we begin looking for scapegoats when things go wrong. But what I don’t agree with is that one blames oneself for the sake of self pity from one’s ego. I am one of those who believe that we sow what we reap, in this or in earlier births and this goes for both good and bad. However, it is only the western thought that believes that one sits passively suffering karma. Quite the contrary. Otherwise, there won’t be any action at all!

    I agree that accessing one’s subconscious to find the cause for one’s trauma is mostly unnecessary. But unless one realises that it is their own karma that has shaped their lives, the process of pulling oneself out of it doesn’t even begin! My bad karma has brought me to this pass, but I can create good karma for the future, right? Spiritual evolution is a must to reach a higher plane, but owning up responsibility for one’s condition is the first step towards any such an evolution. At least that is how it has always worked for me. When I see my condition as the effect of my own karma, I quit blaming anyone and soon realise that blaming myself is not going to get me out of it. So I begin the long process of rectifying the bad karma. And for this, I seek the help of the Higher Power. For me, rituals and devotion work.

    The analogy of the lotus is so apt! But then, you are so good at digging out the right aphorism from Sri Aurobindo’s works for anything you write.

    This could well have been your response to my post on karma….., or is it? 🙂

    1. Thank you, dear Zephyr for this thoughtful and reflective comment. Your words have really added substantive value to the idea I was trying to convey through the post. Thank you for sharing what tools work for you when you try to ‘look up’.

      I am also happy you liked the quote from Sri Aurobindo. Actually, I had another draft of a picture-essay kind of post including this picture and quote (along with another picture of a lotus and another quote) written a few weeks back. But then a small experience made me recall and re-understand this quote in the way in which it now appears in this post. And you are right, in a way it could be seen as a response to your post on karma, but it isn’t meant to be that 🙂 It was mostly inspired by a personal reaction/response to a situation.

    1. Thanks Alok for your appreciation! Like I said in another response, the first audience I have in my mind for such posts is me 🙂 We all need reminders.

  3. Your words keep a tab on my mind which sometimes act like a wild bear…destroying every positive thought in the way and uncontrollable. Thanks for being a light.

  4. This afternoon my way of dealing with the desire to wallow in the mud was to drink a beer, eat potato chips, and watch a documentary on Janis Joplin. It helped big time. I am now over (for now) of being ticked at nearly being sideswiped twice by drivers while riding my bicycle and too many people whining about the state of things. I think you’re on to something that constant wallowing in the mud is another way of seeking attention. Sometimes wallowing is good as long as it doesn’t become annoying to both oneself and others.

    1. Thank you for your refreshingly honest comment. From time to time we all find ourselves doing this wallowing in the mud. Perhaps because there is a strange comfort in that. Either it is eating junk food and drinking bear, or shopping for unnecessary stuff or whatever else that feels attractive at the moment. But I suppose if we are even a bit self-aware, we soon realize the limitation or even futility of such an approach and do what is needed to move out of that. I guess it is a matter of our trying to become more and more self-aware and conscious of our behaviour patterns.

      Appreciate your stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  5. Self-pity. Something I am guilty of. And the blame game. The entire nation is info this game. And having been tired of chasing everyone, I have finally quit keeping any expectations from anyone. I love the way you presented this topic.

    1. Thanks, Rekha. I think from time to time we all fall into the trap of self-pity. And what is true of individual is also true of the collective – group, society, etc. And because of that reason, whatever little victories we can gain on individual level, victories over these imperfections in our nature, no matter how small they may seem, we may expect similar transformations on the collective level too. That’s why individual responsibility is so important, I think.

      I am happy you liked the presentation 🙂 Thank you!

  6. While reading this, I kept thinking of a dear friend who is determinedly wallowing in it. After a frustrating conversation (frustrating for me, that is) with her, she placidly declared that she intends to keep wallowing in it until ‘it is all over’ because… ‘what’s the point of trying to climb out’ and that she is ‘fed up with the whole thing’.

    I know why she is saying what she is. God knows, she has more than enough justification for feeling overwhelmed. What scares me is that she isn’t the kind to break. Her life has been all uphill but she has never lost hope like this. This time, she really doesn’t want to pick up her feet anymore.

    I know what she’s going through. I’ve been where she is right now. And I know that’s a horrible place to be in.

    I’ve been praying fervently… don’t know what else to do. Only Shiva can light hope in her heart now. He’d better hurry though.

    Only you could have written this… like this. Thank you Beloo. I’m feeling a little less burdened now. Sigh.

    1. Thank you, Dagny for this thoughtful comment. In many ways, what you share here about your friend actually demonstrates what I was trying to convey/warn about through the post. I join you in your prayers and hope that she finds a new hope in the light above. May all be well.

      Thank you! Hugs.

  7. Such a poignant yet relevant post Beloo. Indeed, life is a sin(e) wave, with its ups and downs. The wave curves and shatters in unexpected ways, but those are lessons. The only time the line of life will be straight is when we are dead. Rather than focusing on the lows and wallowing in mud, let’s remember the highs and learn from our experiences (good and bad).

    We can either choose to be victims or lifelong learners. The ability has always been within us.

    1. Thank you, Vishal for your kind words of appreciation. Your point about a choice and ability that we carry within adds much value to the post. Thank you for saying it in this way!

    1. Thanks, Vishal. Yes, perhaps we find it comforting to wallow in mud at times, for it takes too much effort to push ourselves out of it. But even then somewhere deep inside we know what we must do to get out of that wallowing tendency, don’t we? 🙂

  8. भगवान् बुद्ध ने कहा था, ‘अत्ता हि अत्तनो नाथो अत्ता हि अत्तनो गति’ only you yourself are responsible

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