Outside, it was just another November morning. Within, my cells were in a state of celebration. I was meeting my guru and couldn’t decide what to wear. His timely message on my phone read “Don’t take too much trouble over dressing. Come as yourself. In the ‘As is’ state, you are beautiful.” I sat down and softly chuckled to myself. Somehow, he always knew all the antics that I was up to. I wore my most comfortable pair of jeans and a simple T-shirt, grinned and said, “As is”. At various points of the day, the two words tickled my mind and made me smile. As is. As is. The wondering had begun…
Although I enjoy a several close relationships, it is in my sister’s company that my inner Self completely unfurls and stands ‘As is’. I feel so at ease when I am with Nidhi. If I have an issue with her, I don’t need to think or edit, I can express myself as it is and I know nothing about our relationship will lessen. I can scratch my nose or I can burst into a song, I can laugh and roll on the floor in mirth or cry like my entire world has fallen apart, and I know nothing about us will change. I always wondered why I sought her company and now I know. With her, I am ‘As is’ – not an inch of formality, not a molecule of pretension. Not even an atom of being what I am not. Oh, such freedom this is!
Being with children refreshes me – this I have known for years. This is so because kids are always in the ‘As is’ state – is a discovery I just made. Whether a little one is running around or sitting peacefully, colouring; whether he is gurgling over nothing or she is crying over a toy; I can sit in meditative silence and watch children for an entire day. So beautiful they are, in the ‘As is’ state.
As I dwelt more upon these two words, I began to realize whenever I saw someone being ‘As is’ I enjoyed that person, no matter how strange or eccentric they appeared. I liked my loud aunt because that’s just the way she was. She had no qualms about her decibel levels so why should I? I loved my miserly uncle who wears torn socks and ‘banian’ (inner vest) with holes even bigger than the ones through which we put our hands, although he is a billionaire – that’s just the way he is, who am I to question it? Conversely, I have found something within me repel whenever I sensed that someone was not being themselves. Even if someone was doing a kind act – but being extremely pretentious about it, something within me would screech like nails over a blackboard. A humbling experience came in the form of a college re-union.
The party was in full swing, and so were my thoughts. I was judging all those who weren’t being genuine and was wondering, “Why can’t people be ‘As is’ – it’s so obvious when someone is not being genuine…” Just then, a reflection caught my eye in the long panel mirror of the party hall. Someone had a huge, plastic smile on her face as she was telling another person, “Hey, we must catch up, it’s been soooo long.” With horror, I realized that the reflection was mine! I looked fake. I sounded fake. And it was clear, I was being fake. It was like a bucket of cold water being dumped on my head. Obviously, just the way I could sense it when someone wasn’t being genuine – it must be so clear to others when I wasn’t ‘As is’ too! After, we all acts as mirrors to one another!
So often I change myself because I believe it is ‘socially acceptable.’ Why say, “pleased to meet you” when in my mind I know I found the meeting boring? Why say “the food is amazing, give me the recipe!” when I know I am never going to try the dish? Why tell someone “you are looking so amazing” and then gossip about her later? I have promised myself – if I say something good to someone, I will mean every syllable of it.
Conversely, when someone around me is displeasing me, I have started asking myself a key question. It is, “Does this person really matter?” If the answer is no, I am learning to keep my peace and remind myself that I am no one to judge anyone. However, if the answer is yes, the person does matter, I make it a point to express my feelings to him. Of course there is a way to say things – and a time and a place, but instead of allowing negative emotions to fester and boil within me, I have decided to let the other person know what’s troubling me. I have seen that when I am able to communicate nicely, directly and respectfully to the other, when I am able to say things ‘As is’ most of the times it has been received in the right spirit and the relationship has only deepened. When I looked into my life and reflected upon the relationships that got strained or fell apart, I saw that in most cases it wasn’t the issues that were too big, it was the gap between discussing the issues that had become too big. We had stopped being ‘As is’ with each other.
Being ‘As is’ is improving my life so much. From little instances to important ones, every instance where I was ‘As is’ leaves me happy and refreshed. For example, I love getting gifts. In fact an important part of my birthday is sitting amidst colourful wrapping paper and admiring the things I had received. And yet, until now whenever someone would give me a present I would say, (with one hand upon the gift, mind you) “ Heh Heh Heh, you shouldn’t have…” This birthday, I decided to be ‘As is’ – I accepted all the presents with an excited smile. As is.