Expressing your Authenticity, Power, Purpose And Potential In The Modern World.
Sarah sat deep in thought in a small, dimly lit room. She knew this room very well. Every small detail of it was firmly etched in her memory. From the lightly stained wooden floor on which lay a small bamboo rug. The spotless white walls which encased a few pieces of furniture including a single bed, a nightstand and a tall single door cupboard. Everything was in immaculate condition and the room, although dimly lit, always had an unexplainable glow. It always appeared to be filled with light, even though it had no windows.
At first, it had been her refuge. Now it seemed more like a prison. The room belonged to an ashram that Sarah had arrived at 2 years ago, seeking answers. She had heard miraculous stories about the master of the ashram and his ability to change the lives of all who sought its refuge. People flocked from all parts of the country to study at the feet of the master.
Sarah had come to the ashram to heal a deep disquiet within that would not go away. The disquiet had reached an all time high with the recent loss of her grandmother. Her grandmother had meant everything to Sarah and her loss left a large hole in her heart. But even before her grandmother’s death, Sarah had been unhappy. The strange thing was, she had nothing to be unhappy about. She had a good job with lots of career success and a lovely home. Admittedly, relationships were a bit of an issue, but nothing to explain the deep dissatisfaction Sarah felt with her life. It was as if something was calling her from within. The problem was, she didn’t know or understand what that was. It was a feeling that was shrouded in mystery, which just made Sarah feel even more frustrated. How could she solve a problem that she did not understand?
Sarah had spoken to her grandmother about it before she died. Her grandmother had just lovingly smiled at her and said, “Sarah, when the time is right, you will understand the feeling.” Sarah wasn’t known for her patience, so this just took her frustration to a whole new level. She had also spoken with her friends about it and they had just replied, “Sarah, you are just expecting too much from life. Most people are not truly happy with their lives but they just accept that. Sure the disquiet dwells within all of us, but why open pandora’s box. Life is much easier and simpler when you ignore the disquiet and just get on with life.” Sarah wished she were more like her friends. The problem was she couldn’t ignore the inner disquiet, and since the death of her grandmother it had reached an all time high.
Recently, her grandmother had appeared to Sarah in a dream with the message, ‘Sarah, it is time to start living the truth of who you really are’. Sarah recalled waking up thinking, how am I expected to do that. I have no idea where to even begin.
Strangely enough, it was the very next day Sarah ran into an old acquaintance, Simone. Sarah had not seen Simone since graduating from university several years ago. During the conversation, out of nowhere, Simone tells Sarah about an ashram in LA that helps people discover the truth about themselves. Sarah could hardly believe it. Was this the answer she had been looking for? As soon as she got home, she went online and to make some enquiries about the ashram. As Sarah was doing this she felt she was being pulled into a vast vortex of fate. One so strong that she felt instantly compelled to make a booking. At first she was told there was at least a 12 month waiting list and Sarah struggled to hide her disappointment. The thought of spending another 12 months feeling like this was a little too much to bear. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, the ashram contacted her and said if she could be there in two weeks, there was a vacancy for her. Sarah had just spontaneously said yes, without even thinking about the practicalities of making this happen.
Sarah had once read that if something was meant to be, then all the forces in the universe would move in your direction to make it happen. Sarah sat back in awe as everything just fell into place. The company she worked for gave her an immediate leave of absence, something they had never done with any other employee before. They had told her to take all the time she needed. They added that she was a valued employee and could return anytime. A friend had also kindly offered to take care of Sarah’s property whilst she was away. Everything just fell magically into place, enabling Sarah to arrive at the ashram on time and stress free.
Sarah had come to the ashram hoping the master could enlighten her on how to quell this deep feeling of disquiet and live the truth of who she really was.
Today, Sarah felt overwhelmingly frustrated. After 2 years at the ashram, she was still no closer to finding the truth than when she first arrived. She decided it was time to approach the master with her concerns.
The master had a particularly long queue today, with many people seeking his counsel. Just my luck, Sarah thought. Normally, the waiting times were short. Today it was taking much longer than usual to see the master. Patience was not one of Sarah’s greatest virtues and, sadly, still wasn’t. She fitted the stereotype of a fiery redhead. Not only was she impatient, but she could be a little reactive when pushed. Her time at the ashram had done little to change either of these behaviours.
When her turn finally came to speak to the master, she dug deep to find her most reverent voice before politely uttering, “master I have been here 2 years now and nothing has changed. I have still not found the answers I seek.”
The master looked at Sarah for a moment, then reached behind him and grabbed a long stick and hit Sarah on the left side of her body.
That was all it took to push Sarah over the edge. Outraged, she yelled out in anger, “how dare you hit me. You are nothing but a fraud and charlatan. You have caused me to waste 2 years of my life”. With that, Sarah stormed off to her room and began packing to leave.
As she was angrily throwing possessions into her suitcase, Sam entered the room. When she had first arrived at the ashram, they had instantly bonded and became fast friends. Sam had been at the ashram for around three years. Sarah really liked Sam. He was politely spoken, calm and when he spoke, wisdom flowed with every word. She often thought she was attracted to Sam because he was the complete opposite of herself.
She momentarily stopped packing when Sam entered and angrily yelled, “how do you put up with this place? It is all just a sham and I have just wasted 2 years of my life.”
Sam looked calmly into Sarah eyes and said, “have you?”
“Yes, I have,” she screamed. “I came here looking for answers. I sacrificed my time, comfortable lifestyle, followed and adhered to a bunch of ridiculous rules and regulations. For what? I am no closer to finding the truth I came here seeking. The master is a fraud and charlatan and has taken me for a fool.” Sarah yelled at the top of her lungs. At this point she had no intention of respecting the masters silly rule of speaking quietly. She was going to yell at the top of her lungs if she wanted to.
Sam just stood there patiently and calmly said to Sarah, “why are you so angry with the master Sarah?”
Sarah quickly responded, “because he was supposed to teach me how to find the truth and he hasn’t.”
Sam just quietly responded, “was he?”
“Yes, of course he was. I didn’t put my life on hold and travel thousand of miles to sit at his feet and follow his ridiculous rules for nothing. Yet a big fat nothing is all that I have from this complete fiasco!” Sarah added heatedly.
“Sarah, what did you expect from the Master?” asked Sam.
“I expected he would show me how to find the truth of who I really am.”
“Sarah, if it is your truth, how can the Master teach you this?” Sam queried.
This question made Sarah momentarily pause. “Well, that is what he is supposed to do, isn’t he? Why are you here, Sam?” Sarah asked, her anger being momentarily replaced by curiosity.
Sam quietly responded, “I am here also to know the truth that dwells within me. However, I realise it is not something to find, but instead remove the veils of deceit that have clouded my mind. The truth of who I really am can never leave me. It is always there within. My responsibility is to remove the blockages to its presence. I do not expect that the Master can do this for me. Instead, everyday I look to events that trigger my peace of mind and take me away from the truth. I do not look to the Master to show me the way, but instead my reactions to the events in my life. My life is my teacher Sarah, not the Master.”
Sarah slumped down on her bed. All her anger had suddenly vanished. It was like someone sticking a pin in a big balloon. She suddenly felt exhausted. “Then if life is your teacher, why do you choose to stay at the ashram?” Sarah queried.
“Because I know inwardly, this is where my greatest teachings are at the moment. It has nothing to do with the Master, but the environment I find myself in.” Sam concluded.
Sarah slowly pondered on Sam’s reply, and he remained silent to allow her time to reflect.
Finally, after several minutes had passed, Sarah said. “So if I understand you correctly, Sam. If the master cannot show me the way and instead, it is my life, which is my greatest teacher. I need to ask myself, is life in this ashram now going to be my greatest teacher?”
“Yes, exactly Sarah. Spoken like a true master.” Sam responded encouragingly.
Sarah grinned at Sam and continued, “I realise now that I have been looking for the truth outside myself. I have been looking for answers in others instead of trusting that my life will guide me to find all the answers I seek. I can also see now that before I came here, I was hiding from my life. I would spend hours reading and contemplating, but I wasn’t really living. I was afraid to live. I did not realise that it was important to fully show up each day and not hide. Then pay attention to my life and my reactions. If I did this, my life would lead me to find the truth of who I really am. That doesn’t mean that reading and contemplating are wrong. What it means is that I understand that life is my greatest teacher and I look to it to reveal the truth of who I really am. I also realise that if I follow the subtle messages life is always giving me, it will lead me to the truth. I now see that I have had everything backwards. I understand that the truth I seek is within me and not with anyone else. If I can combine my life experiences with my intuition, then I will find everything that I seek. This is my journey and no one can do this but me. Every time I blame the external world for my woes, I am handing over my power and the truth moves further away from me. When I accept everything that is in my life, is there for the reason of leading me back home to the truth of who I truly am.”
“Well done Sarah. Do you still think you have wasted the last 2 years of your life?” Sam asked with merriment dancing in his eyes.
Sarah laughed. “Perhaps not Sam. I doubt very much whether I would have had this realisation if I had not taken time out from my usually busy life. Taking time and space for yourself allows you to see things you would not ordinarily see.”
“Very true Sarah,” Sam replied. “The insight you have just had is priceless and will save you so much time on your quest to be authentic and live the truth of who you really are. I will leave you now as you are looking very tired.”
It was true Sarah was extremely tired. As she lay down on her bed to rest, she instantly fell asleep and didn’t even hear Sam close the door behind him as he left.
As she lay there asleep, her higher consciousness became aware of the Master’s presence in the room. Although she knew she was dreaming, it felt incredibly real. The Master looked so radiant in love and light that Sarah felt in awe of him. Why had she not seen this in the Master before? She wondered. No sooner had she posed the question than the thought appeared in her mind. ‘Because you did not have the eyes to see.’
As Sarah continued to gaze at the master, she realised that her perception of the Master as a guru had blinded her to his true teachings. She expected him to have all the answers. Now she knew this was not the case. Truths were now being revealed in her mind as she gazed upon the Master. However, these truths were coming from deep within her mind and not directly from the master. When she had the eyes to see without judgement or expectation, being in the Maters presence allowed her to see the truth within her own mind.
She also realised that a stranger she meets on the street has the same ability to do this. She just needed the eyes to see that all people and circumstances have the power to show her the truth. Life was a mirror. All she needed to do was let go of her perceptions and allow the truth to be revealed in her. The truth cannot reveal itself if she places judgements and expectations on people and situations. This is what she had done her entire life.
If she can learn to meet every person and situation in the moment and without judgement and expectation, then the truth within her can be set free. She now suddenly understood what was preventing the truth of who she really was being revealed to her. It was her judgements and expectations. How could the truth be revealed when she was constantly putting her perceptions on the world around her? It was her perceptions that created the veils of deception, preventing her from discovering the truth of who she really was. Her judgements and expectations of people and circumstances held her bound in a web of lies preventing her from seeing things as they truly were. Her gift of true insight was available anytime she chose to see it.
As Sarah was reflecting on all this, the Master grew bigger in stature and his energy field was so bright that love instantly poured into her. Never had she experienced such love before. The Master then smiled broadly, winked, and promptly disappeared.
When Sarah awoke, she felt completely renewed and energised. She knew it was her time to leave the ashram. She had found the answers she had been seeking.
When Sarah returned home, she started practicing her newfound wisdom. At first, it was difficult to let go of judgements and expectations of others and situations. She had to focus hard to remain in the present moment and allow every person and situation to be her teacher. However, she quickly realised that this was going to be a lifelong journey, not a one-off event. She was motivated by the fact that she knew that whatever judgements and expectations she held would become her reality. If she thought someone to be a particular way then she held them a prisoner with her perceptions. If she met them in the moment without judgements and expectations suddenly she had the eyes to truly see them. More and more she was realising that her perceptions of the world restricted her ability to see the beautiful truth of life.
After a while, she noticed herself changing. She was so much less fearful of people and situations. She could connect with people in truly profound and meaningful ways. The more she let go of her fear based perceptions the less fearful she became of fully interacting with people and events. She suddenly found herself embracing everything as a magical opportunity to see the truth. The more she did this, the greater the love she felt towards her life and the people in it. When she didn’t place her judgments and fears on the world, she could finally see all the love and magic in it. Life had finally become an exciting adventure where everyday she touched a little bit more of the truth of who she really was.
As Sarah sat in her garden reflecting on how much her life had changed since returning from the ashram. She had a strong feeling that a whole new life was about to open up for her. She didn’t know precisely what that was. However what she did know was that it was being created by her decision to begin a journey of letting go of her expectations and judgements. She wasn’t perfect in her practise of it yet, but she didn’t need to be. The fact that she was willing to practise this everyday, was opening up opportunities for truly amazing things to come into her life. Things that she could never in her wildest dreams have ever imagined happening. Was she a little curious about what this unexpected and life changing event was? Absolutely, after all she was human. However she knew that the universe had its own perfect timing and could not be rushed. Right now she was content to bask in the feelings of joy and excitement of new future.