The NEST – A True Story
Brian belonged to a Middle Class family. This also means that he inherited much more “DO’s” and “DON’T’s” from his family and the society than his rich and poor friends. Richness, or higher purchasing power, and poverty, or no purchasing power, have one thing in common – FREEDOM. The middle class does not have this luxury, so they cover themselves with a cloth of convenience called morality. When walls of the society prevent their mobility, they hide behind the veil of morality. This is the truth of the middle class life.
Brian was a rather shy and introverted boy, who avoided all kinds of confrontations, but strongly objected to various forms of injustice that he encountered each day, in his daily life. He was also sensitive and carried many complexes up his sleeve. This often prevented him from shining bright or utilizing each opportunity to excel in his class.
Brian, with his parents and younger sister, lived in the suburbs of Mumbai. After his 12th class, he started travelling to the city central for further education. There he met Miranda, an intelligent girl with a no-nonsense attitude. She seemed to know what she wanted and how to get it. Initially, it was admiration that Brian felt, which later became obsession. Miranda’s absence made him depressed and low. Even though he was not sure if she ever noticed him or noticed him enough, he was happy to be around her. He was also impressed by the way she could see through her wooers and put them in their place. High level of maturity for a girl in her teens!!! She had the poise and style and, in a way, most boys were afraid of her. They left her alone, to a great extent. This increased Brian’s admiration towards her. He greatly admired elegance.
Elections brought them together. Elections gave them the proximity and time to develop an affair. Without their knowledge, they fell in love. Even though it happened by itself, for Brian, it was a dream come true. They became closer and closer. They eventually became inseparable.
Mind is the seat of emotions. Mind started the process of owning each other, more so with Brian. Even if he sees Miranda having a coffee with her male friends, let alone crack a joke and laugh aloud, he started becoming jealous. Slowly, difference in opinions started and it matured into heated arguments. There was no spate for jealousy. Mind gave various dimensions to Brian’s imagination. He had no idea how he could protect Miranda from other boys. Even though it was quite a tedious and time-consuming matter to take such detours, Brian picked up Miranda everyday from her house and dropped her back after the classes. Miranda was not too happy about Brian’s over-possessiveness. But, since she appreciated his honesty, sincerity and good heart, she swallowed his sundry objections without much resistance.
Miranda was quite pretty and intelligent. She was the topper of her class. She always shone bright in all competitions and was also kind and considerate to others. Attitude of charity was inherent in her. She used to help the poor and needy when ever she could, and that too spontaneously, without waiting for others’ support. She would easily pick up the wounded dog in the street and take it home and nurse it back to health. She would feed birds everyday. She always carried some food with her for poor old lying neglected in the busy streets of Mumbai. Brian also loved this aspect of Miranda and he used to volunteer his support all the time. This was one aspect which kept Brian close to Miranda.
Time flew, classes ended, both Brian and Miranda got employed in good institutions and they decided to get married. It was a small and tidy function. Their relatives and a few friends participated. After marriage, they moved from their parents’ house into a rented apartment, which they later bought on hire purchase. A new life began. Miranda beautified their home within their resources and called it “The NEST”. Their marriage produced three children, within six years. After a boy and a girl, the youngest was Anna. A pretty and cute child. Miranda managed her family life and career efficiently. Brian was often amazed at her energy, as he used to be so tired by the time he returned back from his office. Miranda would still do cooking, taking care of children and Brian, and even prepare food for the next day, without any complaints. She hardly scolded her children or expressed discontentment about anything. Even when the children fell ill, she took them to hospital, brought them medicines, administered the medicines on time, yet, managed her office work and domestic chores. There was a part-time, old housemaid to help her. Even the finance management was her responsibility. Brian often felt like a demanding tourist in his own house, as his responsibility was quite limited to his office and his own affairs. He willingly allowed Miranda to run the house, i.e. the lethargic nature of Brian automatically shifted all the regular responsibilities of the family to Miranda. Life continued thus.
Despite having limited responsibilities, Brian always complained, shouted and abused Miranda and their children. He continued to be jealous and suspicious about Miranda and her interaction with her colleagues and clients. He even spied on her when his suspicion got the better of him. Fortunately, Miranda was ignorant about the growing intensity of his suspicion and the pace with which this cancer of jealousy was spreading in Brian.
Brian was having sleepless nights. He also started resorting to alcohol to cool his suspicious mind. He wandered into unholy company of gamblers and alcoholics. Miranda was helpless. Her advice always ended up in bitter fights and, for the sake of children, she kept quiet. Brian’s lifestyle started affecting his work and he was warned for negligence, many times, until one day he finally got sacked. He even lost initiative to hunt for another job. He started sitting at home and it affected his morale. Miranda tried her best and got him another job. The new company of Brian’s was a client of Miranda’s company and she knew the boss very well. Brian swallowed his pride and joined the company, more because of his wounded ego for being a parasite of his own wife. But, he also suspected a relationship between his wife and his new boss. This started eating on his mind. He picked up silly fights with Miranda, which the matured Miranda ignored. She had many other important things to remember and perform concerning her family and her children. Children grew up well and excelled in their education. This gave inspiration and hope to Miranda, she was proud of them.
Arguments lead to severe conflicts, and even reached a point of divorce. They stopped speaking to each other and started communicating through the children. Children also became gloomy and silent. The Nest became a deserted ghost house when both Brian and Miranda were at home together. This continued until one day Anna fell sick and had to be admitted in the hospital. By the time the doctors diagnosed blood cancer, it was too late to save the child. Anna died in the hospital. Miranda loved Anna a lot and Brian also loved her in his own way. Her loss brought them together, at least temporarily. They forgot their differences and shared their grief. After a few months, Brian drifted back to his old ways. The NEST, once again, became a war zone.
One evening, due to heavy rains in Mumbai, Miranda called Brian to pick her up from her office, which was close to hers. He picked her up and while driving home, they had an argument over some silly reason. While they were shouting at each other, through the mist obscured window, Brian failed to see a parked trailer without any lights and rammed his car into it. Brian survived the accident, with broken bones while Miranda left her body, on the spot, at the age of 42 years and three months.
Brian spent three months in the hospital while the children were looked after by his mother (his father had passed away a few years before). Without Miranda, life became impossible for Brian. He had no clue how to move on. He started realizing the value and worth that Miranda added to his life. When he returned back home from hospital, he realized that he should quickly get back to work or else he won’t be able to run his family. It was taxing for him to manage everything with his salary. Also, he did not know what were the priorities at home and in his own life. He even thought that his children were too demanding. He started drinking alcohol again. His mother could not stand his indifference and took the children to her house. He became alone in his own house.
Every moment reminded him of Miranda. He started feeling that her ghost is haunting him. He developed many fears including the fear of darkness and death. He started feeling that he will go mad. Regret stabbed him each moment. All these years that they lived together, he had done nothing for Miranda. He had never expressed love, kindness or compassion towards her. He never bought for her even one piece of jewelery or a good dress, except in the initial days of togetherness. He was only expecting more and more from her and criticizing her for everything. He never even hugged her, kissed or made love to her since their last child was born. He never appreciated her. He was only possessive and jealous about her. He could not even buy any gifts or toys for his children, apart from their regular books and necessities.
When loneliness and guilt became overbearing, he left “The Nest” and went to a monastery. He fell at the feet of the chief saint of the monastery and requested for peace and solace. The saint said: “Just be silent.” When ever he asked a question, the answer was “just be silent.” Initially, it irked him. Later on, he accepted it. Days went by, his questions started vanishing. After 10 days, there were no more questions. Only silence. At that point, the only answer possible was “silence”. All ghosts vanished from him and he started seeing the naked truth.
Without anyone telling him anything, through silence, he saw his own life as if he was watching a movie. A beautiful life, completely uprooted and destroyed by his own mind and its expressions. Nobody else was wrong here, except his own mind. Mind created all the agonies. Mind created doubts. Mind created suspicion, jealousy. Mind created ghosts. Mind created everything. They were all so far from reality and it abruptly took away the life of a beautiful person, to say the least about the agony of others. It denied peace at home. With each new thought, each new revelation, Brian started crying more and more. He sat and cried for almost two days, without food or sleep. Nobody disturbed him. Nobody bothered him in the monastery. For once, he was thankful. He experienced the expansion happening in his own heart when gratefulness blossomed there. He liked that feeling.
He saw the whole fabric of his own life. He saw the moments at which he missed to express love, express care, express compassion, kindness, beauty, energy, even to hug and feel the warmth and heartbeat of his own wife and children; just because of the overpowering devils called Jealousy and Suspicion that ruled his mind. These devils were constantly destroying his each moment. They prevented him from enjoying any moment and also destroyed the bliss of his home. He realized “We must cherish each moment with love and gratitude. Moments never return back. We are growing old each day. Children become adults. We grow old. Childhood is lost, youth is lost, death comes closer. We cannot go back and love our children when they were young. We cannot go back to the past. We cannot rewind and replay. We cannot go back and love our husband or wife. If a moment is lost, it is lost for ever. We can handle our life either with love or with restlessness. When we handle our life with love, it gives us peace and contentment. When we handle all our relationships with love, it all gives us fulfillment. When restlessness is our expression, destruction is the result. Even if others treat us with contempt or hatred, if our heart is filled with love, our heart will be full. Nothing will affect us. Trust and Faith are essential in all relationships. Every moment of existence should be approached with love and gratitude. We own nobody. Nobody owns us. We are born alone and will die alone. BEWARE – Death is always around the corner. Live each moment, Love each moment. Never hurt anyone through thoughts, words or action. NON VIOLENCE in its perfection.” Brian got up and walked up and down, digesting his revelation.
When this revelation settled in him deeply, he was a changed man. He went to the Chief of the Monastery. He bowed to the saint and said “Thank You for the message. Through silence, you gave me the most valuable message of my life. I will use the rest of my life to express what I could not express in my whole life. Thank You.” The saint said: “In the stillness of your own mind, like the still water, you saw your own reflection. Your answer lies within your question. Nothing lies outside of you. The key to unlock the answer is silence, stillness. You have found the key. Now, go and live in peace.”
Brian went to his mother’s house, hugged his mother and children and cried. He went back to the city, took another rented house, found a job and brought his children and mother to the new house. His life changed for good, but Miranda was not alive to see this change. He regretted deeply. He placed the pictures of Miranda and Anna in the altar, along with the pictures of the saints and deities that he worshiped. He kept a lamp burning in his altar all the time. He did his best to take care of his mother and children. He never married again. He lived the rest of his life like a saint, spreading the wisdom that he “owned”, the hard way.
This story may sound too ordinary compared to the previous posts. I have a reason to put it here. The need of the moment is LOVE. The world needs it all the more. In-sensitiveness is destroying our lives and our mother earth. Lives are getting torn apart because of restlessness, ego, hatred, jealousy, anger and such baser emotions. What is the benefit of “being spiritual” and practicing many paths to liberation according to one’s personal liking, if we cannot express love and compassion? If our inner space is full of calamities, nothing can take you forward in spirituality; all practices will only amount to escapism. True liberation is in our capacity to express love unconditionally, at all times. Without having kindness, compassion, love, and all such higher qualities, over flowing from the heart, there can be no liberation. God does not need your money nor your reverence. God is within you, not outside of you. If you cannot see God in all beings and learn to respect that God, what is your worship for? God is not sitting in temples, mosques or Churches. God lives in human hearts. If we cannot see the God within us and in the hearts of others, no amount of worship will get us salvation. Noting will take us to liberation. Meditation, satsangs, yoga or praanayams are all absolutely useless, unless its core essence, which is unconditional love, cannot be expressed whole heartedly. Otherwise, this life is wasted.
Almost the whole of our life, most of us live in the cage of our own conditioning. This state refuses us any happiness. We fail to see the beauty and inherent happiness of our current moment and hope for happiness in the future. We lose the precious moment called NOW. When mind is set on future or past, we do not enjoy our present. Thus when we miss all opportunities, regrets eat our conscience. How many quarrels!!! How many fights!!! How many disappointments!!! Because of our conditioning and mental blocks, how many people have we alienated from ourselves!!! Because of our limitedness, how much of love did we discard, block, burn!!! Have we ever thought how many people became sad because of our thoughts, words and action? What did we gain from this? Are we better off because others are unhappy? Dissatisfaction is the nature of our mind. Allow it to be dissatisfied. Yet, appreciate the current moment without resistance. The more we resist, the more we suffer. The more we accept, the more we will be peaceful. There cannot be a bright future for the one who lives based on emotions which are always temporary. Negative emotions unleashed through its uncontrollable expressions will only bring forth regrets, guilt, shame and sadness in the future. Emotional outbursts are like bullets – once fired, they cannot be re-called. They must kill. The more stronger the cage of your conditioning is, liberation becomes all the more impossible, unless a real shake up happens in life, such as the death of a dear one, to make your eyes open. Postponing any expression is foolishness. What if tomorrow never happens!!! If you cannot express love today, how can we be sure that there will be a tomorrow to express it? The same is with gratitude, compassion and kindness. Everything should be spontaneous. Everything should be from the heart. Your heart should be spontaneous with these expressions. Life will give you wonderful moments. Otherwise, sorrow after sorrow will haunt you. Regrets will destroy you. Guilt will imprison you. There is no tomorrow. Do it NOW. ACT NOW.
LOVE YOU – DEEPLY