“Maybe you are searching among the branches for what only appears in the roots”Rumi
I recently googled the word ‘interest’, and it threw up 21,70,00,00,000 results! Interests and passions are commonly used words today, often talked about in both professional and personal settings. However, perhaps you, like me, have struggled with waning passions and losing interest in the same things that made you jump out of bed certain mornings. There had to be something more or something else, I told myself.
It wasn’t until recently when I heard a talk by Rev. Wendy that I stumbled upon the concept of ‘true essence’. One’s true essence is more than an interest, a passion; it’s ones essential qualities. And guess what, it’s consistent. Like your shadow, it has been your constant companion through life, even if you didn’t realise it. More than your way of doing, it is your way of being. If you are connected to yourself, your true essence will prompt you to do things without anyone ever telling you to do them.
My essence is that of a Leader and Healer.
Finding one’s essence
The essence of being a leader came early and easily to me, thanks to my career in the Indian Army. I loved being in charge, took responsibility, displayed courage, all without any conscious thinking. It is just who I am. No wonder then that not only were those the best days of my life but also the most successful professionally.
With healing, it has taken longer to realise that it is part of my core. Looking back though, I remember always trying to heal myself and help others through their healing. But it was only in my 40th year, when personal and professional tragedy struck and all my resilience and coping mechanisms failed that I found myself naturally turning inward to healing methods I had encountered very early on. Getting to this space where I am able to see this has been a long journey, but has been key in imbibing my true essence.
A follower of Eastern philosophies, I can easily accept that some of our essence comes from previous Sankharas (dispositions gathered through past lives). A lot though, comes from the authentic way in which we encounter experiences and their absorption in this lifetime. Let me explain.
In my case, I was exposed to alternate healing methods from a very young age. This combined with ‘my need’ for a healthy body (since I was a sickly child), and a ‘non- developed thinking’ brain at that time, made me absorb things that felt right for my body. I knew what was right versus wrong , the experiences that worked for my body when I felt them through my senses and not with my mind.
As a daughter to a father, who too seemed to be seeking alternate cures, I remember meeting various babas, healers, naturopaths and holy men. Sometimes we went climbing high in the mountains to see them; sometimes they showed up at our place. They ranged from a man who could tell you your future by reading your face, to a homeopath who hadn’t eaten food in the last 20 years, to a saint meditating on 1 leg, to an Amma, who did black magic, to yoga gurus camping along riverside. Irrespective of their siddhis (special powers), they were often healers prescribing treatments for various physical and mental ailments. A sickly child, I was forever being treated. From sindoor paste mixed with egg yolk being put on my neck to cure tonsillitis, to turmeric paste on eyes for correcting vision, the list was endless.
But not once during all those years did I have any difficulty believing that the treatments very real and the people knowledgeable. As a child I was much more connected to my body, my sensations, which guided me to what felt right. The non-developed child brain devoid of critical thinking, judgemental overtones or societal appropriateness, found it easy to understand that what was right or true or real was what felt right or true or real.
The memories of those healing practices have stayed with me all my life and every now and then I have turned to them to heal myself, the most significant being when at age 30 a serious illness and an unexpected surgery left me bed ridden for 4 months; and the trauma I encountered at age 40.
Try these techniques
If you are like me and struggled with connection, changing interest, then maybe discovering your true essence will help. Try answering the following questions and see what comes up:
– What is your way of being? What are small things that you find yourself doing or turning to constantly without ever having being told to do them (think activities, books, talks, videos, places, people, conversations).
– What are your biggest needs? We are often our most authentic while pursuing the satisfaction of our needs or of those we truly love. This can in turn develop into deep understanding of those needs and the methods that we use to get to their fulfillment.
Or you might have to become a bit of a seeker and try some alternate paths.