Tuesday, 24 May, 2022

With the Wind

The Person Within

Tulip Chowdhury

The idea of self-love seeps into the ingredients that we feed to ourselves to make who we are. Self-love is not only about caring for the external physical self; it involves the love and respect that we nurture inside. The food we eat: is there an honest deed’s reward going to our stomach? The clothes we wear, the society we live in, the home, the family that I love: do they all find ME and MYSELF in the best of me?

No, offense meant. Humans have the luxury to think that making an error in our species is okay, but the concern is not to make excuses when we could have avoided wrongdoing, big or small. And the one to acknowledge absolute honesty is ourselves. With our emotions and accountability to the inner self, the question of justice stems from fairness to the self. It is growing from the soul that keeps us alive and the heart that plays the fiddle to keep it in rhythm: both maintain purity all through life. Any wrongdoing by the physical and the mental self corrupts the self within, and we lose our peace. Any person with a sound consciousness suffers when a wrong is inflicted knowingly. That suffering is of a kind that finds solace in asking for forgiveness from the individual who was wronged, as we see in the case of Rodin Raskolnikov in the book "Crime and Punishment" by Dostoevsky. In the story, the author portrays Raskolnikov's mental dilemma and anguish and his plans to kill an old lady. In the story "Crime and Punishment," the author portrays Raskolnikov's internal and external horror following his crime.

The story of Raskolnikov reflects the truth that the person responsible for our choices is the individual self. There is the ethical self within us; we can also say the consciousness that is bothered when we break the harmony that honesty brings, in words or deeds. Perhaps we cannot put our fingers on it, but the sufferer is the self when we wrong someone. Like many realities in life, the game of fairness begins at home; it starts with how we treat our family members. The journey need not start with uncles, aunts, or cousins. How fair are we to our children, parents, and life partners? There are stories of fair-weather parents who love children when they are on the best of behaviour. If there are holes in the walls that surround us, we cannot expect life to be good to us. If the mind and the soul lose peace, the physical self feels shaken and insecure. One could be scared of retribution: the person who got hurt or the universe itself. After all, life gives back to us from what we offer to it ourselves. 

A seed cannot grow into a healthy plant without air, sunlight, and water, the necessities for survival. The inner self within us breathes free when it is fair and finds its rightful place. A self within us gets lost when faced with life challenges. In the absence of steadfastness, there is confusion and doubt about what we can do and cannot do as the person we are inside. Apart from rules and regulations, a person has a right to be in a God-given place in society and the land one inhabits. At times our self-esteem falls back on a lack of confidence. 

At times the mind acquires a mood of its own when challenged. Some people seem to be on top of things; their inner strength deflates. However, it's like a testing ground. Unless you are giving your best in the situation, there is no guarantee that the other person is the stronger one. We often underestimate our inner strength, for the world is constantly throwing us curve balls. But the truth is that no one else can be the internal self booster that you can be. Our strength of mind, soul, and heart radiates from within. As Buddha has said, "No one saves us but ourselves. No one can, and no one may. We must walk the path."

Peace and strength are related terms to our being. If we are not complacent with the world around us and are vulnerable, there is a lack of peace for the soul. There is law, justice, and execution of rules on the land, and there must be vigilance in following them. The power of thoughts, words, and deeds begins in the inner being, where life bubbles like a fountain. For self-care and self-love, we can pamper ourselves with movie treats, ice-creams, travel, etc. For all those things to be meaningful to the soul, the games of fairness play equally for all.


Tulip Chowdhury writes from Massachusetts, USA