Yesterday a student of mine was in my kitchen while I was packing some stuff in the hall. I had requested her to make tea for us. Later when I walked into the kitchen she said Didi your kitchen is very confusing nothing is in its place. I was quite surprised by this statement. My kitchen isn't confusing and what do you mean nothing is in its place? What did she know about the original places of my kitchenware anyways? She was new to it. She was working her way around it as I had left her to explore (which is possible only if your kitchen is organised).
Now this is a small matter but I felt that a bigger insight into life came to light because of this.
This is how many approach life (or life situations). Lets replace the kitchen with life, an unknown territory, a place you have to explore. Now what is important is the inner space from which we explore that life? How we explore it will decided how far we will get in that exploration.
Most of us have been taught to cringe at the unknown, to fear it, to approach it with caution. The question is how can one fear what is not known yet?
This simply means the unknown is not a scary place, our fear is. Our fear creates rejection.
What happened with this student is not only interesting but applicable to everyones life. She did not approach the kitchen from either of the two spaces; enquiry or exploration. It was a totally new territory for her and that too without any help. So it took her longer to figure out what is where. Taking longer to figure out meant slow speed at work, which translates to failure in her world.
How do you mask the feeling of failure or self rejection? By converting it to an assumption! Assumptions like if I cant figure it out it must be a mess. Indians go to work on elephants. All Muslims are terrorists. All tribes are uncivilised. America is the best country? All artists are unpredictable. School going kids cant be regular travellers.
A simple reminder to my student that this is a new place and first she needs to take her time to explore it, calmed her. The sense of failure was replaced with ease. And for me, well I was saved myself from a trip to dejection-land where I would bask in the gooey mass of self loathing about my kitchen being confusing. I didn't go there because I approached the situation from the space of enquiry and not assumption. Because I know I don't have one!
Which space do you approach the new from; enquiry like that of an inventor or assumption to mask your false sense of failure?
There is no success or failure. There is only enquiry or rejection.