When you slowly begin to dissolve into sangha, one of the biggest realizations you have is: you, by yourself, are pretty useless to society. I would say entirely useless except that you are good for one thing: pressing a share button once in a while and slowly becoming a channel for one person (or beyond-person, really) who can actually help society.
I suppose it sounds pretty life-negative but honestly, who are you trying to kid?
Literally a year ago, I was obsessed with my idea of helping people. I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to help women who had been through what I had been through. I didn’t realize that this ideology is itself already flawed. Helping women who had been through what I been through never dissolved my victim identity that I was suffering with. In fact, it was heightened. But let’s say this was fine. Say, I could swallow the pain I was holding on to for my work. Even then, how many non-government, non-conservative organizations can a women make for other women without really helping at all?
Let’s look at this a little more deeply.
Many of us have our token charity that we like to ‘campaign’ for once a year. Some of us are full-time charity folk. Some of us don’t do charity at all. That’s a separate issue.
But for those of us who are, have we asked ourselves the fundamental questions? What are you doing for your charity? Volunteering time? Giving money? Where is your time or money going? Do you see it changing people’s lives visibly? Or is going into a system and is virtually gone into the abyss once it leaves your bank account?
If you can answer yes that you’ve actually seen your work change the lives of people (I’m not even discussing the status or type of the other end), then you’re at least better than half the middle class population. Getting people on their feet is at least better than leaving them to suffer after all. But at the end of the day, where are we raising them to?
Are we giving them money for an education just so they can be fed back into an already flawed system? Most of the world (by world I mean the UN) runs on the assumption that education will help our kids. Education, where we already lack passionate, hard-working teachers and an examination process that teaches kids to fail. Is school really the answer?
Many of us who say yes are forgetting that while learning and passion is one thing the schooling system is tremendously different. India is facing the most number of youth suicides because of examination stress. And if you quit the facade for just a second, you’ll remember that school was not so much of the golden days than they were days that you were highly stressed and grappling with the idea that this might be what life is like.
I’m not saying that charity is entirely not good- it at least comes from an inherent, deeply compassionate side of all of us who want to help each other. However, when instead of looking for a true solution, we go for something that only emboldens the screaming hypocrisies of society, charity just becomes something to make you feel like you did something while actually you’re perpetuating the problem.
Which brings me back to where I started: We, by ourselves, are useless.
What am I implying? Change society entirely, from the root up?
That is what Swamiji is doing and that is why I joined His mission.
What I understood very quickly is that I couldn’t help people. Not how I am now- full of hypocrisy. If I tried to help people, they would think it’s ok to be like this. But no, it’s not. The true model of a being completely free of hypocrisy is Swamiji himself. He lives by one cognition: He is Sadashiva and his life is to manifest the whole humanity into Sadashiva. Other than that, you will see that no deceiving culture runs within him and he is more than willing to destroy any hypocrisy if at all it is there.
In the end, realize this one thing: conflict in your nature is what creates suffering. By conflict, I mean hypocrisy. You say one thing but mean another, most likely the exact opposite. You say you’re happy but actually you’re not. You say you just want him to be happy, but actually you don’t. This microcosm of conflict is exactly what goes on in the macro-scale. The corporation says all the money goes to cancer but it doesn’t. The TV says it’s on 4 installments of $19.99 but actually they didn’t include tax or the shipping costs.
Jokes aside, if you become aware, you will see these everywhere in society. When I went to university and was working on earning a degree in Gender, Women and Sexuality studies, I was horrified by how many layers of conflicts there actually were. It makes life seem so impossible and for some of us, we’re ok with that but that self-denying acceptance doesn’t last forever.
Hypocrisy, in this day and age, is the true devil. Last year, I couldn’t bare to be like that so I left and wanted to start over, creating myself with absolutely no overlapping threads at all. And while it is a struggle, at first, to nurture and grow without any deceiving knots, it is a million times better than trying to convince myself that any job, relationship or education is going to make me happy in society.
I know, for sure, whether you’re ready to accept it or not, you want this too. When you say you are good to the 9 AM Starbucks barista, you actually want to mean it more than once or twice.
You can accept this now, or when you have wasted your life thirty years from now and you’re actually responsible for more people than one. Even that is ok if you actually accept this. Because it’s the truth.
And you know it.