Finding yourself buffeted around without an anchor?
In life’s churning seas of change and uncertainty, what can truly guide us? What do we listen to in the midst of all the loud noises and distractions? What is right and what is wrong?
How do we stay true to ourselves amidst outside pressures? The key lies in cultivating an inner compass aligned with wisdom in the midst of all the churning and turbulence.
This often reminds me of the story of the famous churning of the ocean in Hindu mythology to obtain ‘amrita’, the nectar of immortality.
The devas (gods) and asuras (demons) agreed to work together to churn the cosmic ocean and create this elixir of immortality.
In Hindu mythology, the devas symbolize various gods and celestial beings who symbolize the divine aspects and virtues of life, embodying qualities like wisdom, righteousness, love and compassion. They serve as role models for humans, encouraging them to cultivate positive virtues and lead a righteous life. They are often associated with positive attributes such as wisdom, strength, and virtue and play significant roles in Hindu religious and mythological narratives, with each having specific attributes, powers and responsibilities within the cosmic order. Some of the most prominent devas include Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver), Shiva (the destroyer), Saraswati (goddess of knowledge), Lakshmi (goddess of wealth).
There are many other manifestations of the ONE divine consciousness, soul or source.
The asuras symbolize the forces of chaos, darkness and ignorance. They represent evil, demonic and unrighteous qualities like ego, excessive pride, ambition, greed, lust and other vices. Also, negative emotions like anger, envy, and hatred that impede spiritual growth. They frequently engage in battles with the devas due to their desires for power caring more about personal gain than self-realization. They reject the sacred and divine and blatantly disrespect noble virtues and higher beings and represent attachment to the material/physical world rather than the spiritual. Asuras are unwise and unenlightened states of mind associated with lower levels of consciousness based on selfishness and cruelty and they often mistreat or fail to help others.
The roots are in mortality and limited perspective with a narrow vision obsessed with temporary pleasures as opposed to the expansion of infinite life, faith, wisdom, righteousness and love.
So in essence, the asuras represent the egoistic, deluded, and corrupt tendencies within the human psyche and cosmos that create suffering. They are shown as adversaries to the devas, who symbolize enlightened qualities. Their battles depict the inner struggle between wisdom and ignorance, virtue and vice.
To churn the ocean, they used Mount Mandara as the churning rod and the serpent Vasuki as the churning rope. The devas held one end of the snake while the asuras held the other end. They wrapped Vasuki around Mount Mandara and used it to churn the cosmic ocean.
As they churned the ocean for a thousand years, many miraculous items emerged from its depths. First came a deadly poison called halahala, which Lord Shiva drank to protect the world from its ill effects. This terrified the gods and demons, as the poison was capable of destroying all of creation. He was able to drink it safely due to his divine powers. However, Parvati, Shiva’s wife, clasped his throat tightly to prevent the poison from reaching his stomach. Thus, the poison remained in Shiva’s throat, turning it blue. This is why one of Lord Shiva’s epithets is ‘Neelkanth’ or ‘blue-throated one’.
Then goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, arose from the waters. Finally, Dhanvantari, the heavenly physician, emerged with the pot of amrita.
A fight broke out between the devas and asuras over who would get the nectar. Lord Vishnu took on the form of the enchantress Mohini and tricked the asuras, giving all the amrita to the devas, symbolising the use of the intellect in the face of potent and misdirected brawn. The devas drank the nectar and became immortal.
This story symbolizes the spiritual process of finding enlightenment through effort and overcoming negative tendencies. The ocean represents the cosmos, the rod is spiritual discipline, the rope is desire/effort, and the amrita is the ultimate enlightened state.
When we stay focused only on our ego-our limited self-concept, desires and aversions, we are led astray and have a tiny vision of what our lives mean. Our limited and mistaken identities keep us trapped, tossed about by external validation and circumstances, often floundering in the oceans of fears and insecurities.
None of this can substitute for an inner foundation, rooted in the essence of WHO we truly are! Within each of us is an inner knowing, an intuitive voice that points to truth.
When we settle into the stillness of our being, we gain access to our deepest nature. In the silence, our temporary roles and stories fall away. What remains is our essence; pure, whole, at one with all life.
In this sacred place, we are given glimpses of Grace. Here, we can explore and rediscover who we are beyond any labels or limitations.
With constant practices in stillness, we align with our highest values and develop the gift of intuition. This inner wise self is our ultimate guide, the captain of our soul’s journey.
Once anchored in this unchanging inner certitude, outside forces no longer have any control over us. Our vision clears up and we see clearly beyond the limits of our filters of perception. We respond from wisdom rather than react defensively from fear or pain. We live guided by truth, not transitory impulses. This inner compass becomes the needle that steadies us and guides us to our destination.
We all have this life-directing force within and it is worthwhile to cultivate ourselves to dive in. When we do the work of settling into presence, of slowing down and stopping to invite the Silence to speak, of taming reactions and trustingly opening to guidance and intuition, our loyalty shifts from ego to the inner pilot light that has been there all along, waiting for us to seek its glowing illumination.
When we look within for answers and align with our inner truth, we find freedom, we cultivate understanding and compassion and expand with Love.
We begin to get glimpses of what lies beyond the intricate illusion of the web of life, often referred to as the illusory world of ‘Maya’ in Eastern traditions, that holds us prisoner. Things that bind us are simply imprisonments imagined by our minds. It becomes clear that our identity rests in who we eternally are, not what we temporarily do.
Learn to revel in stillness. Sit in Silence. Listen to your inner knowing. There you will find the way.
As a mindfulness practitioner and life-design coach, I help clients focus on well-being and personal growth and make life choices that prioritize their mental and emotional health. I work with them to resolve confidence issues and Imposter Syndrome. This leads to personal freedom and independence allowing the person to blossom and manifest the life they deserve. If you’re looking to expand your horizons and/or overcome issues, connect with me.