Paramahamsa Vishwananda frequently says the outside material world is always bound to change. Change is constant, and we too should change. The spiritual path is all about transformation. It's about changing how you are and how you think. It's all about growth!
When I look back on myself growing up, I see all sorts of weaknesses and strengths. I always was quite aware of what I consider to be my strengths and weaknesses. It’s interesting how God teaches you through life.
When I began to join Bhakti Marga, I was told once that many paths teach you knowledge and information and 'stuff' then, later on, you can better expect to have an experience. Paramahamsa Vishwananda does things a little differently. He teaches through experience, then guides you towards the ancient knowledge that supports you with context and furthers your relationship with the Divine. This helps you become more resolved and confident about your path and experience.
I learned that I was missing skills and parts, almost as if one brain hemisphere was greatly developed in comparison with the other. You see, I was always an abstract thinker. An artist at heart, I would like to see the bigger picture in things and the subtle feelings of things. My logical brain was weak. It always was. That part of my brain was always so weak. There was no way I could really 'get it'. I remember going through rigorous preparatory school at a very young age, one that was an all-boys school with button-up dress shirts and ties and dress shoes and the whole image of success and coming from wealth going towards wealth. At such an age, kids should be enjoying and being cheerful, not worked up over a project until midnight. I mean, come on! We weren't even ten years old yet! Anyways, I remember burning out even then. But later when I was older, my mother told me how the school had contacted them, saying that I was required to get a special tutor specifically for learning how to organise to continue in the school. I was required to learn from a professional called an ’Organisational Therapist’, but my mother refused.
I knew I didn't have those skills. My mind just didn't blend. It was out of balance. I could see that as a weakness of mine for a long time, and likely still dominates the top-tier position of my Weakness Chart. But I'm working on it. And so is Paramahamsa Vishwananda.
I remember my first job moving to the ashram Shree Peetha Nilaya in Germany was so symbolic. It was the construction team here. Or should I say, demolition team? We were destroying the old so that we could build a new temple, which would eventually become the Bhutabhrteshwarnath Mandir. It was tough, but it was, as they say, 'an honest day's work'.
The following months I did some repairs on cars, a task I entered with zero prior experience. I was working with my hands, taking things apart and putting them together. Physically. A, B, C. 1, 2, 3. That kind of thinking, that mechanical mindset was my worst nightmare. But I was gifted that opportunity to test my patience.
I got to see myself working in my worst conditions for my mind. My worst skills of grounded logic and organisation were tested. I even remember a day, weeks along that I could've sworn I felt the hemispheres of my brain swelling under stress. There was a feeling of immense balancing going on in my brain, whether real or imagined, it doesn't matter. I knew my time doing seva was balancing out who I was. I could slowly see my weaknesses falling out of place. Of course, it will take a while.
Fast forward some years, currently, I have been tasked with a new "job". My new seva is to be a secretary of sorts. There are a few things in this world that scare me. One of which is secretarial work. I have always admired those remarkably talented and organised individuals who have the perfect amount of highlighter-to-page ratio and have their computer folders dialled-in and clearly labelled. Even their main email has been filed and everything goes in the right place.
I tell you, that is not me. I knew that one day I would need to confront this weakness of mine. I had been putting it off for a long time. But now I see, that God put me, slowly but surely in the right places to expand myself, to embrace, not just change, but balance. I am finally in a state of mind where I both acknowledge its importance but am also (albeit surprisingly) willing to work on this skill. Finally, nearly 20 years later, I have been thrust (though more appropriately 'entrusted') into this role.
To me now, it's laughable. Somehow I also knew it would come to this. I can finally laugh at myself and be willing to change this part of me, and I am so thankful. I appreciate God's patience with me so much. He was so eager for my balance and growth, but I missed it. I wasn't ready, but now I can see that, though it will be my nemesis, my kryptonite, it will also be a cause of great change. Not just a lot of change, but change for the better. I am excited to become a more full person. I am excited that I get to serve people, to serve people who serve the path of love.
I can see the teachings of Paramahamsa Vishwananda coming to life in front of my eyes. The Divine itself is providing me with the chance to serve more fully, to become more full and more well-rounded. I am excited to see the person God sees in me, to reach a higher potential within and I know from Paramahamsa Vishwananda that this willingness to change and reliance upon His strength instead of our own is essential. As Bhuthath Alvar wrote in one of his pasurams of the Diyva Prabhandam "the impossible becomes possible when refuge is sought in the Lord who corrects by force and accepts with Love."
Thank you, God, for your perfect balance of force and incredible love and patience as I go through what I need to go through!