When I am struggling, my mom would tell me that a diamond is not born the way you see it: so clear, glistening and beautiful. It starts like a dark lump of coal deep in the earth where it bears so much heat and pressure before becoming the stone we see as a rough diamond. Then it must be discovered, detached from those harsh conditions, chipped away at before the true essence of its beauty is revealed. She would remind me that we are all diamonds in our essence and life is just the process of our formation. Be patient, be merciful. There is more going on than you know. 

Being a stubborn, hyper-analytical aspiring doctor and future world savior, I had no qualms about dismissing her wise words as the feeble attempts of a mother consoling her baby. It has taken decades to begin to truly grasp the depth of this metaphor. Yet, it’s an important teaching to bring into our awareness and understanding that life is really not what it seems. It is actually never what it seems when we experience it in any way that leaves us feeling negative, believing in the negative and being in a negative state.

Switching gears for a sec. Despite my irregular attendance, I loved geometry in high school because unlike the rest of life there is a clear cut logic to it that is black and white. You take a theorem, use a series of postulates and  logically prove it is true. I appreciate the concreteness of that. There are few things in life that offer this, which is why understanding our experiences gets so messy with its shades of gray. It’s hard to know which theorems governing our lives are really true. There are so many trippy beliefs out there. What’s true, what’s misunderstood, what’s manipulation, what’s… well you know… “alternative facts.” 

I would like to propose that our personal beliefs around the type of universe we exist in is an important law governing our being and collective humanity. Two questions for contemplation:

  1. Do you believe that there is something greater than you guiding your reality and everything in our physical universe? Call it the universe, consciousness, energy, god, science, call it the divine… Is there some unknown factor that is more intelligent than futile randomness driving the undercurrent of our experience?
  2. What is the nature of the forces influencing your experiences and circumstances in life irrespective of the origin? In your world view, is this a benevolent force (i.e. working to your benefit) or is it out to get you? 

Ponder it. Its not something that comes up for many of us until we find ourselves circling down the drain of life to miserable. What do you believe in your brain? What does your heart feel to be true?  What is your gut instinct?

Getting clarity on this is a tough first step. When I first faced these questions, I was too analytic to believe in GOD having been raised in the religion of Hinduism where the GOD-GODDESS population supersedes the number of people in India. The ritualism surrounding made it harder. The irrationality of it all was more of an overwhelming assault to my common sense than what a social phobic would experience standing in the middle of Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

It was a big pill to swallow, to believe in the idea of some unknown bigger force than us. My own deductive force of reasoning was brought into paralysis. I challenged the notion that there had to be more to my experience, to the human experience than random futile bad luck knocking us down. If I believed in randomness, then pass the Kool-aid NOW! What is the point of waking up every morning and trying? My heart and gut were not on board with Kool-aid. They were on board with some missing link, some entity governing this method to the madness that defines the human experience.

Unfortunately, whatever was hiding behind the universe was not benevolent to me. Deep in the delves of my subconscious was and sometimes still is a core belief that universe is not on my side. I had a litany of experiences supporting this notion and they shadowed every assumption, thought, feeling and action I had. This surreptitious fallacy of a malevolent force indolently crept into my reality so early that it became the governing assumption behind how I was living life. I was blinded to the existence of this belief. It was living in a total solar eclipse as if it was normal daylight. It was not serving me. If you believe this too, I bet it is not serving you either. Given a choice, there is more to gain in believing that there is a benevolent force at the source of it all, even if the results of a randomized controlled trial has yet to declare it as a legitimate fact. Is your glass half full or half empty? My glass is occupied at 50% in case you are wondering.

The dilemma lies in the limits of the analytic mind and the unconscious beliefs it harbors. The Vedic scriptures have a word for beliefs that are not true, that do not live up to the litmus test of theorems and postulates. This type of misunderstanding or illusion is called Maya. The belief that the universe is not benevolent to us is a Maya Overcoming this maya, requires enlisting other intelligent centers of our being such as the felt experience of the body, heart and soul. Coming into a deep knowing and trust, that we ALL live in a benevolent reality is one of the necessary laws of truth that allows us stability and safety as we walk through the hardships of our lives.  Being trapped in all sorts of mayas is the result of a vulnerability in how our brains are wired and how we establish our beliefs in the wake of challenging circumstances in life. Mayas have a tendency to trip us into fearful belief systems that trigger reactive actions instead of grounded responses.

As we walk together in this journey we will explore the layers of our being as more than just our bodies and brains. We will see how faulty wiring in our belief systems can get it wrong and trips us up. We will start to see the “why” which discriminates between truth and maya. Why it serves us to believe in a benevolent universe. We will explore how these mayas impact our perceptions and how our unawareness to them guards our hearts and also triggers our struggle with our physical health, emotions and overall experience. Life is not what it seems and our journey through it is the process of our transformation from a lump of coal into the revelation of our true essential nature, which far exceeds the brilliance of a diamond.