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What Comes First

What Comes First

During the last 6 months of my readership with this magazine, I realized the depth of both goodness and madness, which prevails in our society today as we speak. What makes me reflective is the extent to which action, reaction, reflection can help us heal the wounds of our self and our own fellow-men and women.

It is said that every chaos and confusion and conflict produce opportunity for creating something new, something different, as the universe by its very nature is chaotic and evolving every minute, giving birth to something different. Disorder it is said can play a critical role in giving birth to new, higher forms of order. In the same breath it is also believed that internal self, consciousness, with presence is key to understanding & managing external environment, with newer fresh perspectives, every moment in a different way. Einstein is often quoted as saying that no problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. And hence can we assume and also question the premise that the problems and challenges we face today can be solved with the same action and reaction that created it?

Given these scientific truths, I do question if it is possible to evaluate the current challenges and tribulations that we face as a nation and as a community to evaluate the current conditions from our own community perspective or from the point of view of religious beliefs. To me, it looks that for a social action activist it is a sure ‘no’ as he wants action on the ground, and someone like me it’s time to reflect on the very purpose of action and reaction, and if action, what type of action?

Historically it is proved beyond doubt that no war or violent action has ever been able to win over a culture or humanity even through use of force. While all of those actors tried their violent means, but they all died with the same sword they lived with.

On reflection, coming to our very roots of Christianity, if we look at the historical facts of the crucifixion of Jesus, we notice that Jesus spoke in clear terms of his belief and his conviction of truth, without ever showing any restraint for fear of backlash. The method used by his opponents was that of conniving to arrest him during the night through an agent called Judas. No one dared to question or catch him in broad day-light as what he said was true and truth to everyone who heard him.

What different method did Jesus exhibit? He just spoke the truth and only the truth without intention to hurt or to offend anyone, but he just did his duty to speak the truth. How could he do it? He spoke openly about what he believed, did miracles openly, asserted his identity, and also took a stick to draw out people from the synagogue. Yet none dared to catch him!! No one dared to question him; no one dared to attack him. Where were the social activists of the time? Maybe they were conniving in private?

What did Jesus do differently? Jesus moved freely, spoke freely primarily because he was totally convinced of what he believed at his core, and his demonstrated his identity as the son of God. He was truly convinced of his mission. He was internally strong and was like a rock in speaking about the truth of life. His words were power to those who heard him. Deep within him he was God. He never feared to express his own Godliness and also showed that we are all part of the same truth and Godliness, in the way he treated everyone, including sinners of his time.

Today while we are witnessing evil being harnessed right in front of our eyes, are we capable of doing the same, with the same conviction, without fearing our own lives? Do we have the internal core strong enough to bear the brunt of retribution and sufferings that may follow? Do we have the internal courage to live the very life we preach to the world? The consciousness with which Jesus was able to live his life brought about the change in people who heard him.

So, is social action answer to all the ills and challenges? Or is self-conviction based on self-reflection and internal change of heart more relevant as an action? As I said earlier social action which is an external action is thought to be relevant by a social activist and not by a person who believes in self-conviction and self-reflection. The truth may be: if internally we are weak in our belief there is no point drawing out daggers and knives to fight what we ourselves do not believe. People will never be affected by our actions; however strong and loud our actions are. What would actually impact be our ability to build our internal strength and convictions, which if built within, all external threats and conditions will never shake us. As Jesus did, we can offer ourselves as a sacrifice, without fear, as what truly matters is our soul, not the body or words of action.

So, what blocks us from being internally strong to convey to the world what we believe even without words and sermons? I propose the following as some of the methods of change we need to reflect and effect:

1)   Focus on the internal self, internal heart, listen to it, vibrate with it, respond to it. Avoid being guided by external voices, external noises, external beliefs and structures to influence ones being.

2)   Whatever we do, let it be guided by the internal voice, and not because our religion dictates or someone dictates as a rule or dogma.

3)   Once we listen to this internal voice, actions will flow automatically, even without our dictating them. As Jon Kabat-Zinn says our doing or our actions will come out of our being, which would have the power and substance for the world to know the truth.

I do see a challenge in our ability to action-out the above. It is primarily because internally we are not strong enough to stand by our own selfhood. We seem to be so dictated by external demands and dogmas that our internal voice has been silenced and has mostly has died, as the external voices have started guiding our conscience.

But hold. It’s never too late to change our habitual ways of thinking negatively, it’s just a matter of changing our thoughts from external to internal self, spend more time on reflection followed by action rather than action and followed by reflection. Conquering of the internal self is vital to conquering of the external threats and challenges!!!

(The writer is a freelance Internal-Reflection writer, trainer, activist, with expertise in Behavioral science, Leadership and Management Consulting in India. He can be reached at: stanlobo24@gmail.com)

(Published on 07th October 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 41)