A New Volume Is Starting
Chapter 1: The Inner Voice, The Inner Truth
I struggled for a long time to truly comprehend my role in society: my role as a daughter, as a sister, as a student, as an Indian American, etc. Where is my place? Is this what defined who I am- these labels that I am born with based on my environment?
I always felt sparks of this inner voice, this truth that felt like me stripped of all of these labels. I think we can call this inner voice many things- self, being, spirit, soul, energy, or whatever else you would like to call it. It wasn’t until this past year that I could connect this self to me as a human being. I’m still understanding and learning. However, I will take you through this continuous journey of learning how to listen to it. It’s something that I have, by no means, learned to do. I don’t know if I ever will, but for me, it is an ongoing challenge with its own rewards. Each time I have listened to this inner voice, I never went wrong. Yes, I was scared of the outcome, but it always turned out that the outcome was never as bad as I thought. If anything, it always seemed to have multiple positive outcomes rather than just one positive outcome.
Many of us, if we’re lucky, live our lives based on our calling. If we’re courageous enough, we listen to this inner voice as we take each step. For a while, I know my inner voice was screaming to be heard. I think I was too busy listening to other voices to hear my own. Even now, I think it’s something I still struggle with and to not hear it doesn’t necessarily equal weakness. It took a lot to realize that there is a difference between weakness and lack of faith. Lack of faith can lead to weakness, but to say lack of faith is weakness doesn’t seem right. At least to me, right now.
To not hear our inner voice, means we’re human. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re weak. For me, it just means I have a lot of work to do internally. It takes a lot of power and energy for us to fight this external noise. I like to see the external energy as invisible pellets expelling into a clear barrier. The barrier can either let the pellets through or let them bounce back to where they came from. Either way, I think it’s beautiful to see what happens in either circumstance. To let the pellets through, to have them absorb into this clear barrier can be an opportunity to grow so the next few pellets don’t absorb through. For me, I think when too many pellets expel into this barrier; the barrier eventually shatters like glass. The barrier, like us, can only withstand so much. That’s where faith comes in. That’s where we as humans try to search for something higher, something that will make us stronger, something that will give us hope to find or continue on our path towards happiness.
I say all of this because there are still so many pellets absorbing through my barrier. It’s natural, it’s a constant process towards creating a balance within; towards realizing that my inner truth will guide me if I just be and listen.
During my time transitioning from Vietnam, places between, Nepal, and India exposed me to small practices I can integrate into my life to develop my self and reach a new level of understanding. Being with nature, alone, for so many days in Vietnam was the beginning. The flow of nature, the ability it has to repair itself and continue on was probably one of the greatest life lessons I’ve received. Being at Manav Sadhna and to be surrounded by its ecosystem of amazing people, passionate volunteers from all over the world, and initiatives that have had a ripple effect globally was one of the greatest blessings I have received.
So many people from the Manav Sadhna family that touched me in ways I can’t describe. During my time, I saw more than a dozen volunteers come and go from all parts of the world. Each one had their own story and each one touched in a different way. Manav Sadhna , for more than two decades has been opening its heart and welcoming the world into its arms. As I found my inner voice, my inner truth, so did so many others alongside me.
We had all transitioned from somewhere to be there. We all had some reason for being there. To find my inner voice alone is powerful, but to go through parts of the process with others is something else.
To go through this process has been a beautiful journey towards staying balanced and having enough faith to let my life flow just as nature lets itself flow. It’s also been a beautiful journey towards remaining strong enough to continue upstream as the rest of the river continues to flow downstream.
There are so many circumstances we can’t escape, so we try to control them. We can’t escape the noise, we can’t control it the external pressure. We can just be and listen within.
The voice, the true voice, always knows the truth.