"When you reach [the STABLE, PERMANENT, IMMOBILE core of your being] you can begin to ‘shape your destiny’. Which simply means that you will draw to yourself only those situations which are in harmony with THAT, which conspire to further THAT, which serve to enhance and make manifest THAT, and only THAT."
I'm posting the below 'Letter from Skambha' as a further exploration of simultaneous Being and Becoming. In the symbolism of the zodiac, Cancer is the condition of the egoic consciousness occupying ... or obscuring or usurping the center of one's Being, and Capricorn is the revelation or realization of the truly stable, permanent, immobile core of being ... around which all circumstances (positive and negative alike) are organized, structured, and choreographed. I did not plan to post this letter (which is addressed to someone concerned with relationship issues) circa Valentine's Day; but it does seem well-timed.
The Churning of the Milky Ocean
Letters from Skambha
(From The Vishaal Newsletter, Vol. 4, No. 2, June 1989)
‘One must go deeper . . .’
Of course, when I read your letter I cannot really understand what the problem is. I mean, it seems to me you are making a problem where there ought not to be one. But this is usually the way it seems to someone who is outside – relatively speaking – the situation. You have to ‘live with yourself’ and be comfortable with yourself. And I suppose it is this point that creates all our disturbances: we seem to be all seeking ways to be ‘comfortable’ with ourselves and our lives. We have ‘made out beds’ and we want them, we DEMAND that they be comfortable to sleep in! This is our birthright, it would seem.
So, coming to terms with our lives, as they are, is the problem. There is an underlying frustration in what you write. And I just wonder if it isn’t that you have not found the right companion for yourself. I believe that some of the difficulty lies in this. If the ‘right person’ were there, you wouldn’t be tormented so much about whether or not you should have a relationship, whether or not this would interfere with the yoga, whether or not this would be a distraction, whether it is right, wrong, or whatever. The fact that these considerations exist is what indicates that whoever the person, it is not the right one.
I do not see how you can suppress your desire for a relationship when it is there. I have never asked you to do this. Just the contrary. What I have repeatedly asked is that you BE CONSCIOUS of what you are doing, whatever you do. So, if the need is there for a relationship, then approach this as consciously as possible. This question of ‘being conscious’ is not to be confused with the type of awareness that is sought in psychotherapy, or similar quests. It is not to indulge without ‘guilt’, ‘shame’, or ‘remorse’, and all the rest. That is not the point. The problems of guilt and shame and remorse are, in the context of this work, simply first-rung issues. They do not go deep enough.
The awareness you must seek here is a very careful and detached observation of yourself so that you can come to understand what DRIVES YOU, what impels or compels you into these situations. We are not concerned with remorse or guilt or shame, or the fact that it just ‘isn’t done’ when one is practicing yoga. Those considerations are all irrelevant or of secondary importance. But you must observe yourself and try to fathom what drives you into these situations. It seems to me that the relationships you find yourself in are inappropriate. They correspond to a certain ‘deformity’ in your nature, if I may call it that. So, you want to SEE THAT. You want to face it clearly and squarely. Unless you do, whatever relationship you find yourself in will never be satisfying. You may use the excuse of the Yoga now to hide the real cause of this frustration; but in your heart you know that this is not the point. The proof is that I have never said: Do not have a relationship. And yet you (and all of you out there) keep harping on this issue. At the same time, you do not take seriously when I write that you must simply strive to be as conscious as possible in whatever circumstances life brings before you. The idea is so that these circumstances will be clear mirrors for you to perceive rightly and act accordingly. What must change in your way of being, in your assessment of things is the focus of your attempts at awareness. I repeat, they are not to rid you of guilt. They are to try to ferret out what in your nature compels you to act in certain ways – anger is another example, and giving in to those impulses – and what therefore ATTRACTS certain situations to you.
My feeling is that you are caught in a circuit. The circumstances of your life are playing out an endless refrain; and you cannot get out of it because you are seeking the wrong thing. You are convinced you should be seeking something that is irrelevant to the real problem and therefore has no power to change anything in your life. But, take heart. Most people are in the same trap!
The fact that you cannot resolve your living and working situation is another example of this trap, if we can call it that. You are caught in a pattern that needs to be broken. You know it. But whatever you do seems to thrust you even more solidly into that same old web. This is due to the fact that you have not gone deep enough. The issues you are dealing with are simply distractions. They are not the real forces that are shaping your life. They are all superficial in the final analysis.
The visual impression of this type of situation can be had in The Magical Carousel, in the chapter on Cancer in relation to Capricorn (4th and 10th). And interestingly, these signs are the USA and India, respectively. That is why in America you have more or less superficial methods to deal with problems. Whereas in India, though the problems seem colossal and far more impossible to solve, the attempt is always to go deep, to the core of things. So, there is the Queen of Night in her beguiling disguises, offering one distraction after another. The children find themselves in a labyrinth, with no direction to the ‘search’. They don’t even know what they are searching for! And when they stumble upon ‘something’, it is veils and illusions and an enticing masquerade that gets them nowhere. Nowhere PERMANENT, that is.
On the other hand, in the Capricorn chapter, the entire ‘thrust’ of the chapter and the experience is this underlying direction, ever and always. They again find themselves in a sort of labyrinth, but with an immense difference. Something urges them forward on the basis of a clear direction, a rise higher and higher, not round and round and round… And on this basis they get to the root of things and they find their true destinies and their true dharmas.
The Woman who represents the finality of the quest in Capricorn is very different from the Cancer Queen of Night. The latter is constantly on the move! She is constantly changing, she has no permanent identity, and therefore does not encourage that quest in those of her ‘castle’. Even the Crab they fall asleep on in the beginning of the chapter offers the same image: they are convinced they have fallen asleep on a SOLID ROCK. But then it starts moving! This is to represent the ego. One thinks it is solid, unchanging, our ‘true self’. Yet it is thoroughly UNSTABLE, just like the rock that turns into a moving crab. And a prime characteristic of the crab is its way of moving about in unexpected directions – sideways, oblong strides this way and that.
Omanisol of Capricorn, on the other hand, is STABLE, PERMANENT, IMMOBILE. She represents that eternal element we carry within at the core of our beings. This is what you have to reach, through all the veils and shadows of the surface layers of your personality. When you reach that you can begin to ‘shape your destiny’. Which simply means that you will draw to yourself only those situations which are in harmony with THAT, which conspire to further THAT, which serve to enhance and make manifest THAT, and only THAT.
Now, this is for most people a frightening panorama. They feel that a pursuit of this nature will render them isolated and cut off from the little and meaningful things of life. It represents an ivory tower of aloneness for most. But this is a wrong assessment. As I have written, suppose you are meant to have a relationship with someone and to share your life with another person. How can you truly know this unless you reach that Core where your true destiny is written? At the same time, when you do, you will set in motion that play of circumstances which will draw to you the right person for expression of the highest part of yourself. It may be that you are meant to have this sort of expression in this lifetime. The point is to make the best of it, to make whatever relationship you are destined to have the outcome of a clear being, with no veils and shadows and twists. In such a state, what can one expect? Only more knots and more knots, and more and more…
We cannot reach this state by wallowing in guilt. Western psychology has rightfully understood what a negative emotion guilt is. But you do not liberate yourself from the drain this negativity produces simply by convincing yourself that to indulge is your ‘right’ and therefore you need not feel bad about it! In fact, people only have these reactions when they are in situations that are not in harmony with their true inner being. The ‘discomfort’ one feels is really the soul’s uneasiness in the situation. It is tolerated as a means to learn and to reach that clear condition of being. One has to move on! But one has to strive to liberate oneself forever from those negative ties that compel us into situations about which we will feel this unease.
If you observe yourself very carefully henceforth you will see the root of the problem. This means that you cannot judge yourself (again, a point understood by many modern thinkers), you cannot condemn yourself, you cannot wallow in self-pity and a sense of guilt or remorse. You have to be alert for this task. And that means you have to be highly CONCENTRATED. You have to muster all your energy about you and create an atmosphere around you which will be conducive to SEEING. You must call on the Divine Presence. It must become a habit with you to be able to call this Presence forth in such situations.
© Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, 1989
Other Letters from Skambha by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet:
* 'Fission and Fusion: Symbols of the Old World and the New'
* 'Feminism's Conundrum'
* The Infinite and the Detail
* 'The Void Where Thought Was Born'
* 'The Relative, the Absolute, the One' (soon to be posted)
S U B S C R I B E ( v i a R S S ) and / or
S H A R E IT using A N Y of the I C O N S below