When I first watched the movie ‘The Secret’, I had mixed emotions. One side of me was happy that someone had gone through the trouble to reach so many people and help them see that ‘they are the master of their destiny’ and on the other hand I was disappointed at how it was presented and the emphasis on material richness. It is not my intention to undermine the importance of money and/or power. I have also come to see that sometimes what comes from the outside can affect the inside in the most positive ways. However, I feel that we have been conditioned to the extend that, we find it very difficult to see a life fulfilled without large amounts of money that would afford us what was presented in the film: driving the best cars, living in mansions, sitting in board meeting rooms making corporate decision at the top of a sky scraper…What about people on their deathbed with no abilities to talk or move any muscles apart from one. Are they also ‘the master of their destiny’? I believe so. A film I watched a few years back called ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’ shows precisely that. A victim of a stroke experienced life at its very depth and lived his remaining days in pure bliss. This film showed how true joy and fulfilment is inherent in life itself, only if we don’t have any images and desires to project on it.
I am not surprised that in The Secret they didn’t show a dying man mastering his life, it would hardly be a selling point! Most of us, don’t even want to think about such possibilities, let alone living a full life on a deathbed. In a society with so much emphasis on having, getting and taking, it is no surprise we cannot imagine a life of just being and living, as fulfilling.
THERE ARE NO SECRETS (TO A LIFE OF TRUE JOY)
In fact what we need for a life filled with true happiness is so obvious that our brain doesn’t necessarily register it. It filters what goes through our awareness as we cannot cope with all the data that the brain receives every nano-second; we become conscious of only what the brain allows through the filter. What gets repeated and is always there continuously gets caught and is not allowed to be processed by us consciously; in other words it goes in the background and we become oblivious to it, we no longer SEE it. On the other hand what repetitively changes stays in the foreground of our awareness.
This is why life itself – the source of bliss – its substance, its existence goes in the background and we become busy with what ‘happens in life’, which is what changes all the time: our body, our mind, our moods, our status, our relationships and so on…
The permanent, the immovable, solid, still, never changing LIFE out of which all arises and to which all returns, stays in the background and we crave for bliss having it right in front of our eyes. It is so obvious; it is so permanently there, available, that we don’t notice it.
Through the practice of yoga, we focus our attention to our being and less on events, we become so totally present that we start noticing the stillness that is in the background. The moment our awareness shifts to that which has always been right in front of us, the ultimate joy, peace and bliss is ours. This moment can be now! The mastery over our destiny can only happen in the present moment and if it is impossible to shift our perception in a disagreeable situation, all we need to do is INTEND it. No need to worry about what you’ll be attracting next!!
I love the human psyche and how it loves to know ‘the secret’, whatever that may be. I know how much I love it when someone shares a secret with me. That, in its own, makes me feel special and not the content of the secret! I think the reason why we are wired that way – loving secrets and wanting to feel special – is because:
We are tasked from the moment we are born to find ‘the secret’, come to know how special we are and that it wasn’t hidden after all. It was there staring us in the face, behind everything we did, or think, behind our every move. That secret which cannot be shared, when discovered shows us our real face. That secret when revealed puts us on top of the world, not higher than anyone else with ‘bigger and better things’, but on top of the world with everyone else. ‘You are the master of your destiny’, I totally agree with that but, my definition of destiny is my inner experience of life and not what life gives me. The cancer, the stroke, the accident, the job loss is not your choice; you didn’t ask for it, lived your life in a way that attracted it, your choice comes to play in what you INTEND to do with it. Do you intend to keep your focus on what changed (the impermanent) or are you willing to see the background and its breathtaking aliveness, out of which anything can manifest? Are you willing to see this ultimate potentiality, which may or may not hold your healing? When the focus is there or moving towards it, that itself is the healing, that is the resting place and, whether or not the cancer is cured or the stroke is healed, the desire for it, shifts to the background.
What is your intention in the face of living? That intention is the key to your destiny! You can be a king, the ultimate power and beauty that IS by opening your eyes to the ‘open secret’ or you can be enslaved, vulnerable at the mercy of events focused on the surface, on the impermanence.
Yoga’s teaching of Pratyahara (sense withdrawal) for me represents exactly that intention. Our senses keep our brain busy filtering only what changes and stop us from seeing what they cannot perceive. When we take the decision to stay anchored, to stay still despite the stimulus of the senses we have a chance to see the truth, to really live. This is why any practice that brings the attention inwards, moving away from the outside stimuli is an opportunity for us to see this OPEN SECRET.