Self-mastery – cutting through the noise

Essays > Psychology

Divakar reflects on finding our own inner wisdom. A way to navigate a path to truth, through an ocean of opinions, beliefs, and information overload.

sun on water with reflection

Too Much Information

A renowned therapist once told me that one of the most troublesome outcomes of the new age was the phenomenon of ‘choice paralysis’. The result of alternative–minded parents that engendered into their children, that they could be, achieve, and live out any desire. That they could be whatever they want to be. This freedom to be and do absolutely anything is a relatively new outlook.

Even in my childhood during the seventies, we were asked to choose from a few options that were available to us in terms of a life path. We were expected to be realistic and practical. On the surface that may seem to have been a limiting approach but actually, the infinite freedom to choose has left many of mine and younger generations simply unable to make solid, clear decisions about their own life. It has actually overwhelmed the mind to the point where discernment becomes impossible. ”How do I choose when there are infinite possibilities?”

With the 21st century has come another kind of choice paralysis, affecting all of us in a way not seen before in history. The amount of information instantly available to us has exploded way beyond the capacity for effective human processing. We have not evolved fast enough psychologically to receive, assimilate, and fully appreciate, the volume of thoughts and opinions that are now thrust upon us.

A ‘Post Truth’ World

More recently, it has become nearly impossible to distinguish between real and fake information. There seems to be a new normal that allows for facts to be spun and altered, edited, and manipulated to suit various motives and interests. The reality of the crises we face as humanity from climate change, environmental degradation, and now a global pandemic and the associated economic and social collapse, are no longer seen as facts at all but simply one side of an ‘opinion’ that can be dismantled with any kind of nonsense or downright lies.

We can no longer rely on many of our so-called leaders and influencers, to be honest, or act with integrity. The behaviour we have always associated with corrupt and authoritarian regimes of the second and third world is now widespread amongst the great democratic governments of the first. In Trump’s America, Johnson’s Britain, Putin’s Russia, and many more, we now find ourselves living in a ‘Media-cracy’. A world run by hidden message makers, covert and concealed, out of reach, and unelected.

The Outer Revolution

The cunning intellect of these spinners, storytellers, manipulators, these masters of propaganda and fake truth serves a small, highly select group of billionaires and sociopaths. This group of old men and women lost in their insatiable addiction to wealth and power, control, and conduct what is said, written, and seen by us all. Our perceptions and opinions have been hijacked, contorted, and polarized, then fed back to us through the echo chambers and logarithms of our saturated mainstream and social media.

Our so-called elections have long since ceased to be decided by those who vote. We are in an ocean of conspiracy and counter conspiracy, a vast sea of contrived chaos and misdirection. Our own capacity to connect with and develop an inner source of knowledge or wisdom about ourselves, our values, and our connection to community, both locally and globally has become almost impossible.

The Inner Evolution

For many of us who consider ourselves to be ‘spiritual people’, or even just interested or intrigued by humanity and our place in the universe, we are fascinated by the idea that as a human race, we can develop ourselves to a fuller potential, physically, genetically, mentally, and spiritually.

But our ability to step back, to question, to be critical and express healthy doubt has become lost and diluted. We often fear isolation and even ridicule. We have lost the quality of self-mastery. The ability to look inward to our own unique and intuitive resources – to our own experience of life, love, pain, and joy as it has been directly felt within us.

What once seemed to be universal truths have now fractured into so many, often-polarized schools of thought around the path of self-realization.

A Thousand Gurus, A Hundred Paths

We now question ourselves. Must we face our demons, our shadow, and studiously work through all of that? Or is it all just Maya – an illusion? Do we ‘embody’ our life in all its messy glory or dis-identify and renounce our attachment to the material world?  Are we to realize the fact that we’re an immortal soul in an almost incidental physical form, or are we to celebrate and dive deep into this earthbound experience?

We read Osho and are encouraged to fully live our ‘Zorba’ in order to reach our ‘Buddha’. We listen to Mooji and hear that this body, this mind, this emotionality is just an idea, a borrowed notion that can be blown away on the breeze and that there is no human experience as such, just a being experiencing physical form. Other teachers speak of creating a new and profound future by understanding our past and the effect of the conditioning and engrained limiting beliefs formed in our childhood. But then Ram Dass just says, ‘Be here now’.

Returning To Source

All of it can ring true, perhaps all of it is true, but what is our own truth? What does the deepest part of our being tell us? How do we know that our inner voice is pure and not jaded by the years of listening, reading, contemplating, and debating these conflicting approaches? Which truth is the actual truth?

For myself, I find I need to rewind, back to a simpler and more essential time in my life. Before the noise and limitless input began. Before the information and opinion age littered the path of the seeker of truth.

A Commune of Individuals

One of the most striking and more confusing aspects of having had Osho in my life was the strange paradox of the master encouraging the disciple to be a light unto themselves – to become the Buddha, or the Christ, instead of blindly following as a Buddhist or a Christian, or even a Sannyasin.

When I lived in Pune during the late ’70s, what I most often saw and experienced around me were strong and self-determined individuals. That was the underlying quality of so many of us. The fierce independence of thought and outlook. We were a commune of thousands, devoted to one master’s vision and yet, all so very different and distinct. It is no accident that seekers came to Osho from all continents, and from all cultures, and backgrounds. No accident either, that his following was educated, free-thinking, and often (and I include myself in this), somewhat rebellious.

Personal Power and Surrender

Ashram life was not always easy for me. I was difficult. I questioned authority, and I spoke my mind freely. I was often told that part of being in the commune was about surrender. It was about dropping the Ego and letting go of preconceptions and expectations about how I should be treated. But in my direct connection to Osho, I watched him model exactly the qualities that opposed the whole surrender paradigm of the commune.

What was Osho being? What was the invitation in his example to each of us as individuals?

His way was fearless defiance. No compromise. His core message was without causing harm to others, to live life with the absolute unrestricted freedom to be ourselves, fully and totally.

He counselled us to doubt what we were told, to question what we had been fed all our lives by our parents, priests, and politicians and instead, look within for the truth. He encouraged us to value inner wisdom gained from our own experience, over accumulated knowledge from outside of ourselves.

The Final Blessing

As I write this, it is thirty years to the day that Osho left his body. I remember the exact place and moment I was told of the news. Who of us around him at the time does not? As I wandered into the kitchen of the communal house where I lived in North London, my housemate, eyes wide in shock, delivered the bombshell news from India.

I will be honest. My first emotion was neither grief nor sadness. In fact, it was the opposite – an excitement and energy arose within me. A feeling I was to experience only one other time five years later as I lay on my father, Neeraj’s chest, and felt his last heartbeat on my cheek.

It was a sense of exhilaration – of something exploding out of its undersized shell and expanding into its true form. I felt elation, even a euphoria that Osho’s essence was now free to swirl among us, within us. Now the paradox was broken. There would be no more Commune, no more longing to be in the presence of the master, and above all, no more surrender to a hierarchy. Now, there was just that pure direct connection to the message – “You are already home. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, simply live your life, your way.”

I felt the greatest liberation descend upon me at that moment, now the master was everywhere around me. He had become me and I had no obstacle left to allow it – to become my own master.

Navigating Self-Mastery in a Chaotic World

I often wonder how Osho would perceive and comment on the madness and chaos of the world that we now inhabit these thirty years on. Sometimes I really ache for it. It was so easy having the master there, an enlightened being blasting his beam of pure knowing light onto the darker parts of our life and our world, his presence illuminating the road ahead so brightly. My little flashlight of awareness feels so small and dull in comparison.

But it’s all I have and I know that as I grow, as I step back into my power, nurturing, and developing my own self-mastery, the beam from my torch will brighten and expand, allowing me to trust more and more. Both in what I see, in what I think, and in what I feel.

Returning to the core understandings, my own fundamental insights are my way to bring back the power, the potency of my own vision, and my own inner wisdom. Seeking to reduce the clutter, the endless noise of the crowd, and to regain that direct connection to the little ball of light inside that is what, and who, I really am.

Divakar

Divakar (Marc Itzler) is a group facilitator and writer. marcitzler.com

Comments are closed.