By Suma Varughese
Poet and art curator Arundhathi Subramaniam shares with Suma Varughese some snapshots of her life post spirituality
You were a card-carrying intellectual before spirituality happened. How different are you now?
Was I?! Perhaps I was. But honestly, I don’t think my journey has really been from ‘sceptic’ to ‘believer’. It’s been more from ‘product’ to ‘process’, from a frozen sense of self to a being with more fuzzy, amorphous boundaries. It’s been about coming to terms with some of my fears, shedding some of my rigidity, my resistance to change, and arriving at a greater sense of peace with ‘not knowing’.
I’ve been a seeker for many years, and after a near-death experience of 1997, I became a somewhat desperate seeker. After meeting Sadhguru in 2004, one phase of the journey came to a close, and another began. There is now a deep sense of guidance and direction, as well as a reclaimed sense of wonder. But the journey is far from over.
Am I different? Well, perhaps more open to surprise, more open to bewilderment. And more aware of the heart as an address – a dangerous address, perhaps, but an authentic one. And there is a deepening trust in the world, a greater buoyancy,
At the same time, it’s not been about renouncing the mind and embracing the heart. If anything, there’s been a growing understanding that faith and reason aren’t incompatible. Faith can show up the vested interests and hidden agendas of reason; and reason can bring rigour to the self-delusional excesses of an unexamined faith.
Can you share the differences in your understanding of life and yourself?
I feel lighter, less encumbered by the dead weight of the past, old opinions, beliefs, investments. There is more gratitude. And yet, the confusion is not replaced by certainty. There’s just more breathing space, less psychological clutter, more inner space. I realise that deepening faith is not about an acquisition of new knowledge or a new set of verities. If anything, I am more aware than ever of how uncertain life is, how unsettled, how fragile. But there is a deeper sense of existential anchorage. I think that’s the enormous difference that a spiritual guide brings to one’s life.
When I wrote my earlier book of poems, Where I Live, I said that
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