Through Surrender, Suffering, & Deep Empathy, Find Conviction & Inner Resilience


The 100th episode is out! It’s out on my birthday! All of which feels very divine which plays well with the theme of the episode.

A person’s birthday is their new year and therefore, a point of introspection and reevaluation. You always find yourself reflecting on your life, who you’ve become, where life’s gonna take you next, how much progress you’ve made on your goals, the love you have in your life, etc. etc. We get really introspective around this time. I am no different but this year, I have to say, I am feeling very strong, certain, steady and there are certain things that have led me to this place of conviction and inner peace and I want to share all of that with you. Hopefully, it will help you find your own sense of stability and inner peace. 

Surrender Suffering and empathy podcast episode pin

1. Find surrender through faith

I’ve talked about this concept before but my knowledge always feels incomplete because every…not everyday but every new turn in life teaches me something more about it.

Surrender, in one respect for me is all about faith. My faith has always been a dominant part of my life but right now, it’s become more than a security blanket, it’s now a source of active joy and pleasure in my life. I am a Hindu, a fairly religious Hindu, not in a ritualistic way but I am very invested in the teachings of my religion, I use them to course correct, make decisions, and of course to maintain my inner sense of balance.

I pray everyday and it’s a constant source of strength for me and it’s also my point of surrender. For me, my faith is absolute. I have finally reached a place where I no longer pray because I am asking for something or for rescue or relief…no, I pray because prayer in itself is my joy. I talk to god and I share my goals and I do ask for help but whatever the result, it doesn’t affect my prayers or the love that I bring to my worship. It’s like my passion for my work. I work a lot but it’s not a problem because I really love my work and when you can reach that point where you do something not for the results it can create but for the sheer joy of it, I think that’s when you know you’ve create a degree of ease in your life. And when you can bring that to your relationship with God, I think you leave behind a lot of the burdens of being human because your faith can be THE thing to hold you steady through a storm.

If you’ve read the Bhagavad Gita, something I recommend very strongly that you do and you don’t have to read it as a religious text, just read it as a book. 

So, Bhagavad Gita talks a lot about surrender and there’s a conversation that happened between Lord Krishna and Arjun and it happens in a battleground. Now, Arjun who is a warrior standing in a battleground is faced with a moral conundrum. The enemy he faces is his own family and his conscience and heart is heavy with the knowledge that if he moves forward, he will be killing members of his own family. He then turns to Lord Krishna, his friend, mentor and guide to help him resolve this moral dilemma and Lord Krishna tells him and this is a very tiny part of Bhagavad Gita which is a huge text and teaches you the entire way of life. 

So, Lord Krishna says that it is Arjun’s duty as a warrior to move forward and fight the fight with honour and dignity and if his heart is heavy and his feet are dragging, he should surrender his burden, surrender himself into Lord Krishna’s care forgetting all his doubts and all that society has taught him that is now getting in the way of his duty. If he can surrender, Lord Krishna will take care of him and will ensure that no negative reactions plague him in his path.

It’s this surrender that we must find in life because if you’ve faith so absolute that it allows for surrender, you will revel in your worship, in your love for God and life,

When it throws challenges your way, when it surrounds you in darkness and in pain, you will seek meaning in it.

Go through one season of life with your faith placed firmly in whatever God you worship or maybe, it’s the universe for you, whatever you believe in. Just don’t react too much to anything. Feel your feelings but do it with your faith alive and well. 

So, you may cry for your loss but you also wait to find out how it was all for the best. You let God guide you and you keep your heart open and filled with love. Don’t let anger take hold.

If it remains a struggle or if you just don’t believe in God or anything else, find another point of surrender, something that allows you to rest easy. For me that means acting in integrity with my values and once I’ve given life my best, I let go and await the result with easy conscience and a willingness to face whatever comes next.

So, basically, if you don’t want to get tossed around every time Universe decides to test you, have something in your life that anchors you. For me, as I said, it’s always acting in integrity with my value system. If I know that I have done the right thing to the best of my understanding and ability, I find it easier to surrender. 

2. Shift your perspective around pain and suffering

Pain and suffering is treasure. If you’re happy all the time and you didn’t get there by going through the fire, then, I may not know you but I can say with some confidence that your security and happiness are standing on shaky ground if for no other reason than the fact that you simply have never been tested. 

Your character has not gone through any trials and for all you know, in a storm, on a sinking ship you will be like that side character in a survival movie that on the first sign of trouble goes into panic and makes the situation worse. You can also turn into the vicious villain who pushes other people off to save himself, both options are pretty horrendous. 

We all want or at least should want to be like the hero or heroine who boldly step forward to strategise and then, calmly execute the plan because they’ve been in these situations before and experience tells them that the only way to survive is to not panic.

Okay, maybe that’s the ideal but to even get close to that, we need to collect a variety of life experiences because if all we have are good, happy moments, then who knows how we’ll perform when life gets a little tough.

So, pain and suffering are good if your perspective is right. 

So, ask yourself if you are avoiding pain without even realising it – saying no to adventures, projects, opportunities, relationships anything with the potential for failure or pain because if the happiness or sense of security you’ve in life is because of avoidance, then what’s that happiness really worth and the sense of security you have, it’s costing you, massively.

So, shift your perspective and live a larger life.

Till you’ve been tested, you can have no idea of who you truly are. You’ve never seen yourself at full capacity and we see ourselves at full capacity when we are pushed for survival. 

3. People matter more than things and how you feel about yourself, what you see when you look in the mirror has to matter more than your social image

The last lesson, it’s something that I learned actually from what happened on my last birthday and that lesson or more of a realisation was that people have to matter more than things and how you feel about yourself. What you see when you look in the mirror has to matter more than your social image or status no matter if focusing more on how you feel means giving up on on some of your ambitions or delaying that success.

Let me clarify. So, usually, I like to celebrate my birthdays by going to a famous temple in the country. Last year, we went to Varanasi which was something I was so eager to do. Varanasi is one of the most magical cities in India with a lot of mysteries and it holds a special significance for shiv followers, devotees of Lord Shiv and I am an ardent shiv follower so I was very happy to be in the city. On my birthday at around 4 am in the morning, I went to this very famous shiv temple in Varanasi.

Anyways, we made our way into the temple and we got into the line, the queue that would take us to the idol so you can say your prayers and you are only really given a few seconds because there are so many people waiting for their turn. Now, I was in the queue and it was very crowded and the temple is not all that big or at least the main prayer area is not that big so all the people were essentially packed into a very small area and I happen to be claustrophobic.

Now, I have been going to temples since I was a small, little  girl and the crowds bother me but I am still able to keep my mood up, I am happy to be in the temple and it’s all good but this crowd they were pushing and shoving which made the whole situation way worse and due to the pushing and shoving, very quickly there was no space left in between me and the person behind me and the person in front of me leaving no room to breathe. 

I was trying to calm myself and keep breathing when I heard this little kid’s voice yelling, ‘mumma, mumma‘, and clearly the kid was crying and judging from the voice, it was a very small kid. Shockingly, no body did anything to help the kid. Apart from the physical discomfort, I was also left reeling in disbelief at the cruel indifference of the people in that temple.

One of the reasons why I go to temples on my birthday is to tap into that energy, those positive vibrations that all of these many, many devotees bring to a temple. It’s faith, it’s hope, belief, it’s love, worship, adoration and I like to be surrounded by that energy but on that particular day, all I felt in the air was desperation. 

The reason I am sharing this story is because standing in that temple, I decided that I am never going to put myself in a position where I have to share space with people who would trample someone to death for their own selfish needs and that if something feels wrong, regardless of the optics, or the setup of the situation, you have to trust that feeling and walk away. 

If what you’re doing, on paper it seems all good and okay, but if it leads you to hurting people, in any way shape and form, it’s not okay to do that thing.

Those people in the temple, they could see me crying and I know, had I been one of those people watching some girl gasping for breath and wiping away tears, it would have made me feel very, very small. Just the fact that I couldn’t help that kid bothers me and look around you, look at the world we live in, cruelty has become casual. All this damage to the environment, the shameless labour exploitation in poor countries, no amount of optimism can make you think that we’re okay. We are not okay but I absolutely do believe that there is a lot that we can do to change the situation.

We need to be more demonstrative, vocal about what is right and what is not and no, I am not talking about activism, that’s one way but that’s not for everyone. 

I mean, embodying it in your own behaviour. Becoming a or at least, trying to be a good role model. Let’s value people more than we value things and accomplishments. Nurture your relationships with the same dedication that you pour into your work, when you see someone in distress, stop and help them even if you’ve to take a loss to do it. Play your part better. BE better. 

I am trying to do that, it’s not always easy but when I do it, even if it’s messy, the feeling that comes once it’s all done, there’s nothing like it. That is peace and contentment.

Let’s also care more about how we’re feeling, who we are becoming and heed what it tells us when making decisions and prioritise that over some generic template for success.

The internet is filled with advice videos telling people to stop being nice and by all means, we should all work towards becoming stronger people fully able to stand up for ourselves and speak up when necessary, but there is space within you for strength and consideration. You are smart enough to recognise when you can positively contribute to another human being’s life and when you are being taken advantage of. Pay closer attention to your feelings, your instincts. If you are spiritual or religious, pay attention to whether how you are feeling in the moment, it’s closer to how you feel when you pray or meditate, or if it’s dimming that light.

You’ll get the right answer.

I want to add that I adore my country and like every other country, we have certain issues, but don’t let what I have shared deter you from visiting India. It’s a beautiful country with mysteries, stories, love, song and dance, and divine energy in every corner and if you want to visit a temple and it’s a very famous one, let me know because I will continue to visit temples but now I have tricks to not ever be in a situation like the one I shared with you. So when you decide to visit, let me know or just find a good guide. We’re good hosts so I am sure you’ll leave with a smile on your face and a heart full of memories 😊


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