We were little early for the meeting. While chatting, Swati shared experience of her recent visit to her uncle. They are four people in the family – father, mother, son and daughter-in-law. They are quite rich but a very unhappy family. Each one of them is upset with numerous complaints about each other. When she narrated the kind of complaints, we realised that many of us have similar complaints. We decided to take that as a topic for our meeting.
“Every person or situation could have negative as well as positive sides. Gripped by negative perspectives, we might end up agitated and spoil the relation as well as situation.”
“We would do a Guided Experience on the topic.”
By now we knew the technique of Guided Experience. We all will sit with straight posture and closed eyes. We will imagine what is being said. When there is a pause, (marked (*) in the write up), we allow thoughts to dive deeper. We closed our eyes and were ready for the experience.
‘It is holiday time and we are at a funfair. Family members and some of my best friends accompany me. All around there are people, having a good time. Children are playing, having cool drinks and ice cream. The whole place is coloured with small lights, balloons, ribbons and garlands.
‘Strolling at a leisurely pace, we go on playing games at various stands, watching the show at others. There are rides and puppets for the small ones and curiosities such as strong men, bearded women, fire-eaters and what not. (*)
‘Obeying an inner call, I feel like walking a little ahead of the group that is hanging around one of the stands. As I keep moving ahead, I notice an old woman seated behind a table on one side of the path, away from the crowd. Her dress is exotic, but vaguely familiar. An oil lamp burns, dimly illuminating her face. Slowly she shuffles a deck of strange cards.
‘She seems to be a sort of soothsayer. She stares at me as though recognising me, smiling knowingly. She nods me to come closer. Hesitantly, I go and sit on a low stool in front of her. Her face is criss-crossed by wrinkles; but those are wrinkles from smiles and laughter. Her eyes are piercing and bright, with a spark of humour.
“I will tell you your future, young one, if you help me along.” I guess this is some new style of fortune telling, so I collaborate. “Well then, how can I help you tell my future?” I say -half bemused, half intrigued.
“Here,” turning a card,” Is your family. I’ll tell you what irks you about them.” When I stare at the pictures on the strange card, they seem to grow larger and come alive while she tells me, accurately, my grouses against them. I feel nonplussed, but I agree she is dead right. (*)
“Now you tell me what is positive about them,” she says. I manage to come up with a few things. I am amazed myself, since I have never felt this way about them before. (*)
“Then,” turning another card, “these are your relatives.” I see them on the card, while she tells me exactly what I think is wrong with them. (*)
“Is there anything good going for them?” she scornfully asks.
“Of course!” I say, almost indignant. And I list their positive qualities I have never thought of before. (*)
“This is your everyday life,” she shows me another strange card. “And these are your complaints about it.” She describes my everyday complaints. (*)
“But you do recognise that it is not that bad, don’t you?” she asks. I reluctantly admit to many good aspects of my life, many of which I notice and acknowledge for the first time. (*)
“Now, this is a real test.” She turns another card on which I see the person I dislike the most. She tells me all my criticisms about the character. (*)
“Things may be as I told you or may not. But make an effort to recognise at least one positive trait in this person.” I agree it is challenging, but I try my best to be impartial. (*)
“Well, young one, if you spoke sincerely and tried sincerely, then your future will be brighter every time you do this. Your future is written in your thoughts. Thoughts produce and attract actions. Thoughts with faith produce and attract stronger actions. But thoughts repeated with faith produce and attract the maximum strength in actions.” I reflect on her words. (*)
“Remember: At every cross-road you make a choice. And accumulating choices you draw your path. That path is your life and your future. Therefore, as the wise man said, love the reality you build!”
“All right, but why did you call me, of all passers-by?” I ask her.
“Things are the other way around. It was not I who called you. You were asking for this since long. And I always respond, if the call is strong enough.”
“Now, you go and take your life in your hands!” She dismisses me with a gesture and a warm smile. I stand up, still dazzled by the experience and the realisation of a great truth. (*)
The reading was completed, and we shared our experience. With the marvellous feelings I continued in my journey to become better human being.