[ Talk of Urmila Samson]
Today we are used to introducing a person through what they have done by way of educational qualifications and career, but once you get to know them, you realize that they cannot be defined by these narrow parameters. In any case, I have no educational qualifications, nor career worth the mention! I have not sent my three children to school, so they will have *no* qualifications or career at all. We are free to be who we are at this moment.
It is very difficult, almost impossible, to walk out of all boxes, big and little; to abandon old ways of living and being; to throw off bit by bit one’s mental conditioning. Society has us all controlled, through our conditioned ways of thinking. Every situation triggers certain predictable thoughts, which trigger predictable emotions, which in turn trigger predictable behaviours. To question this conditioning, to change these thoughts, to squarely face these emotions, is where transformation begins. The outer world is nothing but a reflection of our inner worlds. Who you are *inside, *not outside, creates the world we live in.
The first step towards stepping out of the cage of conditioning, that began my transformation journey, was opting out of college. We did not call ourselves ‘drop outs’, but ‘opt outs’. My friends call it ‘walk outs’. The most efficient and effective conditioning of the mind and psyche happens through the education system. The greatest fear we are brought up with is that we cannot live through adulthood without a degree and a good job or profession. Well, there are millions of people living very sustainable lives without either. Not just tribals and people in remote villages, but also an increasing number of people in cities.These are people with the least carbon footprint, conscious about community, and probably the highest happiness index! There are many of us who feel the pressure of needing to earn,but have decided not to compromise our integrity to do meaningless,dehumanizing jobs. It is difficult to not be pressurized in to taking up jobs for fear of the future, but if we wait and watch quietly for a means to sustain ourselves, we do find not just a job, but a way of life, that is meaningful and in alignment with the inner self. This is a further step out of the cage of conditioning.
Transformation cannot occur in workshops and vipassanas alone (though those are a great help!). It is when life itself becomes an ongoing workshop and meditation that the inner world truly begins to churn. I call *this *yoga in its widest sense. The biggest churning for me happened because of not sending our children to school, and further, not home schooling them either. They grew up in complete freedom, which was at times terrifying for me. There were many times that I felt driven to the edge. Our conditioned tendency is to draw back before one reaches too near the edge.The power however, is in *not* drawing back, but remaining on that edge. It is then that one realizes that in the universe, there are no edges.Like a mirage, you find that as you hang in there and explore the edge, it turns out the world is round!
Due to my seemingly strange and unusual life choices, I spent over a decade in semi seclusion from society. This served my children and me well. During this time I learned many things on many levels that are impossible to share in this short time. One of the things that happened over the last five years is that people began to come to me when they were in situations or relationships that no one else could understand. And we found that I could understand. I began to develop the ability and love for deep listening,also known as empathetic listening.