Tag Archives: Inner Life Joy

Inner Independence

Today, India is celebrating its 75th independence day. It is a big day. 75 years ago, the British got out of the car and handed over the steering wheel to Indian people. So yes, we are independent of the British rule. We have our own government now. We have our own constitution, our own rules, our own dreams to follow and our own identity in the world. Our independent India allows us freedom to choice of education, freedom to run our business, and freedom to choose the government.

But are we truly free? Free as an individual? Inner independence!

Aren’t we still in the prison of divisive views, wrong understanding, and ignorance? Aren’t we still in the prison of afflicting or troublesome emotions like hate, jealousy, lust, anger and pride? Aren’t we still in the prison of reactive behavior, biases and prejudices? Aren’t we in the prison of egoistic thinking, self-delusion, and attachments?

Who will struggle for our inner independence? There is no one else. We have to struggle with our inner prison on our own. Another person cannot get us out. We have to break the walls, open the lock and walk out.

The biggest hurdle in this struggle is the perception that one is free already. Just because there is outer independence, does not mean there is inner independence. Since we believe that we are already free, there seems to be no need for any struggle.

The struggle may begin when one becomes aware of one’s being in the inner prison. The choice is clear. Stay in the prison, do what the guards tell you to do so as to avoid any punishments and carry on the life in prison thinking there is no way out. The other choice is to break the patterns of conformity and try to break free. The world will prevent it. Others who are with you in the prison will dissuade you from attempting to escape.

Fighting with the powers does not help. The powers are too strong. Just like India’s independence was won with the power of non-violence and non-cooperation, so must the inner struggle be carried out with non-judgmental awareness and non-cooperation with your inner compulsive desires.

Inner freedom is possible and it is your birthright. You must aim for that. Inner freedom allows you to be your true self without pretending to be someone else, it allows you to love everyone without limitations and it allows you to lead a conscious life leading to inner joy.

Inner Life Joy

Experience is a continuous process. It is always there from the time we are born till we die. It is always there from the time we wake up to the time we sleep. It is also there during our sleep. However, the nature of our experience changes during different times of the day and age. Each experience is not the same.

Come to think of it, how do we know we have experienced something? Because it stands out from the rest of the stream of experience isn’t it? We only notice the peaks of experience. If nothing has happened in the past one hour, it does not mean we have not experienced anything.

However, if suddenly there is a loud crash on the road and you are jolted from your sofa, then you say you experienced a loud noise. You may run out to the balcony to see what happened. If you see someone you know has met with an accident, you will experience something more than if you see some stranger involved in the accident.

If life is just a series of events that you experience day in and day out, then are you in control of what experiences you get? It seems not. Is our mind or brain just a box meant to receive sights and sounds and tastes and smells and experiences?

Are our experiences just a reaction to the external world? It does seem so. If it is hot outside, we feel miserable. If it is chilly outside, we feel uncomfortable. If someone says “You are a great person” you experience some emotion of happiness or pride. But if someone says “you are a lousy person” you may experience anger or sadness.

Is our inner life so tightly connected with what we see, hear or feel that we have no control on our own experience? It does seem to be the case. But we never pay attention to this. It seems so natural for us to blame some person or some condition for the experience we are having.

It should therefore come as a big surprise to you if I declare that you can experience any emotion you want in any situation. Since you have never exercised your ability to choose the emotion you want,  it may seem difficult at first. Moreover, the external world is constantly throwing sensory impressions at you and you are constantly experiencing something or the other depending on your prior experiences and habitual tendencies. Further, you are continuously blaming something or someone for your experiences so the thought of being responsible for your own experiences never occurs to you.

To get out of this negative loop, we need to remember that we can choose our experience. The first step in that direction is to notice our current experience. If you notice what you are experiencing right now, then only you will be in a position to replace it with another experience. So the next question is obviously, with what experience would you like to replace your current experience?

It is not worthwhile to imagine replacing a sad experience with a happy one on the flick of a switch. It would seem odd that while others are crying because they have lost someone in an accident and you suddenly burst out happy and laughing. That is not the kind of experience changing I am talking about. What is reasonable to be able to do is that while others are crying, you may not experience that level of anguish. And even if you are crying, you may notice that you are crying. Noticing itself is a big thing. Noticing itself if maintained as pure noticing, will bring about a change in the experience.

If you continue to notice, you do not need to choose another emotion to replace your current experience with. The natural process will automatically bring you to a stable experience. That experience, if practiced, is also known as a equanimous calm or inner joy. This experience when practiced through non-judgmental noticing becomes unshakeable in due course.

Then you will not experience the ups and downs of your earlier emotional roller coaster which was totally under the influence of external events and persons. Now, there is an experience of a constant source of energy and joy underneath your outer appearance and which is not a result of any forced effort. But it is just there and you continue to notice the same.

This inner joy is your true nature. You will know yourself as this inner joy and not be caught up with your name and designation and other egoistic identifiers. There is no name for this inner joy but this is your true nature.

May you find this inner joy. There is nothing more valuable than this in the whole universe.