The Curious Case of Sachin Malhan — Part Two

One the most under-appreciated skills in life is discipline. Somehow, we expect inner development to follow a different set of rules than other forms. Well, to some extent that’s true, but discipline is a non-negotiable. Almost every seeker I have known is caught in a kind of bermuda triangle of self-doubt. It goes like this — I’m not disciplined with my practices; maybe I’m not disciplined because I’m not longing enough? Let me just wait — the discipline will come when the longing comes. A weaker, ‘mass’, version of this is — I used to meditate but I quit because I mind wandered like crazy, I wasn’t ready. Maybe I’ll get back to it. And so it goes on and on.

To quote my guru — just do your practice. Let me repeat that — just do your practice. You throw a dart at the pantheon of spiritual greats and you will hit a speech bubble that says ‘just do your practice’.

I say — if we just had a Jiro when we were growing up we would just be cutting the fish, making the rice, and rolling the sushi, not saying I’m not ready to be a sushi chef. To, once again, pick on my weaker, unable-to-respond, teenage self — if I had just had a teacher who made me understand, practice and be intimate with the art of discipline, I’d be a better man.

It’s amazing how so much of our adult life takes us away from discipline as opposed to towards it. Multi-tasking environments, for instance, created through work, personal devices and excessive choice, are the worst.

Anyhow, lest we wander, back to Sachin Malhan, or more accurately, the identities of Sachin Malhan, the business entrepreneur, the social entrepreneur, the nice guy, the teacher, the Calcuttan, the Mumbaikar, the lawyer, so on and so forth. A lot of mental and emotional brick, mortar and spit has gone into building these effigies. Trust me. Like some strange reality show all the characters find themselves on one stage, each with their own crazy show.

I love these identities but I also hate them. The latter because I know, from the bottom of being, that every moment of this wondrous experience called life, is seen through the prism of these self-assumed identities. Snap judgments, fears, likes and dislikes, are forged in the fires of these personas. I am a prisoner in my own personality(ies).

I don’t know who I really am, and I’d like to.

[Funnily, the world around me is screaming that I must have more (not less) of these identities]

As I navigate the unlearning, the baggage-dropping, and the unbecoming, I find myself with one growing patching of stability amidst the shifting sands — that there is a way of the heart far richer than all the ways of the mind. I’m still exploring its contours but it seems to ring true.

from the untruth to the truth
from darkness to light
from death to immortality
peace, peace, peace

— brhadaranyaka upanisad