Sunday, June 17, 2012

'BE'ing with a feeling

We had decided to take my dad to Ramanashramam, Thiruvannamalai for his birthday - his 79th one! It was a Saturday and it was a long but pleasurable drive. Raghav's only motivation to come was that he could see peacocks there and also the hill (he loves the hills!). We left very early in the morning, had a packed breakfast on the way and reached the ashram at about 11:30am - just in time for the simple, hot, sumptuous lunch (ellai- saappadu) that we have always cherished. I remembered our visits to the ashram as kids - the three things that are etched in my memory are the peacocks, the lunch on a mandharai ellai and the huge board that stood at the doorway in the main hall - that read "Who Am I?" That question has been rooted in my mind ever since and whenever I got some quiet time to myself, I pondered on that question. My husband too feels drawn to the ashram although we do not go there as often as we would like to. So this time was special because we were going there to spend some time and not rush back in a hurry the same day.

After we had lunch, Raghav insisted that I read out the whole story of Ramana Maharishi's life to him - what was displayed on the board. It spoke of how Ramana Maharishi experienced death and then pondered on the question : "Who am I?" I don't know how much he understood, but he wanted me to read every word. And he listened to it intently. All I did was to explain some meanings of some words.That's all.

After a while, my husband left for the small meditation hall and told Raghav that he would be back in about half hour or so. Raghav waited patiently and seemed to have an inherent idea of the time that had lapsed. It had been quite a long time. My husband was not back. Raghav was getting restless. Soon, he was really anxious and worried and started crying. I took him close to the hall and we waited. Raghav wanted to go in and look for his father, but knew that he could not be quiet inside. So we stood and waited outside under a tree.....watching the door and the people who came out. There was just nothing that I could do but hold him, wipe his tears that were pouring and be with his feeling and him. He did not want me to go in too and look, while he waited with my parents. It had started raining. Raghav does not like getting wet in the rain. So we went back and took shelter; waited till the rain stopped - although his crying did not stop. Then we went back and took guard at the very same place all over again. Still no sign of my husband. Raghav was really uncomfortable with some ants that were crawling up his legs, water dripping down from the tree under which we were standing, and with his shoes getting wet.  He complained about all that and more and cried :"....Amma...but there is no other way, I just have to bear it!" HE made the choice - a choice to stay there and wait no matter what. He had to see and find his father.

I had no choice either. And surprisingly this time, I did not have any urge to make him feel better. And when I let go of the feeling of making him feel better, I was able to actually "feel" with him. My heart sank.....I had butterflies in my stomach.....I felt heavy like a sand bag....and tears welled up in my eyes too. But I made sure I did not show that to Raghav as that would have made him feel worse. It was the hardest thing to do for me - to see and feel his pain and extreme discomfort. We stayed with the feeling as long as we needed to, despite all the curious eyes that passed us now and then. Strangely, there was no embarassment....and I realised suddenly that embarassment and guilt develop in us only when we perhaps hide from our true feelings and fears.

Soon, Raghav saw his father come out. He let go of me, ran to him and hugged him tightly, crying all the while. And then he asked him : "Appa, why were you away for so long? You told me that you would come back in half an hour, but you were there for much longer than that! I was scared that you would never come back.........why do you have to go somewhere and do meditation, when you tell me that God is in all of us, and even inside me?!"

Something gave inside me. In that silence of being with our feeling, I was able to understand the feeling better ......and our fear and our insecurity - our deep fear of losing him. Yet from all that heaviness sprang forth a lightness. A lightness of being with and letting go of a feeling. It was kind of magical.....


  1. beautiful piece

    very well written....i can really feel each of you there

  2. dont teach children too much abt religion or mythology.i feel it makes them dumb and its not based on reason.Better to teach him to be law abiding citizen


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