I saw you, my lighthouse
As I rowed frantically in the dark
on a lost tide,
I wept in delight;
Discovered a newfound strength
I never knew was here
How gladly I overcame the very sea
that I thought might destroy me!
How I invented new ways and paths
to the shore
Until I reached the lighthouse island,
a quiet beacon, few miles before
So grateful was I, that I bathed in its light
It stood there empty,
and yet in it I made my home
I camped all my desires there,
Dreamt that a ship carrying a lover
might one day arrive,
Sweep me off my feet
How we’d make love
in the warmth of the light!
So carried away was I,
I didn’t notice
The bricks falling miserably
Until one day the light went out
It was so sudden,
like losing a heartbeat
For nights I huddled,
While days I spent scheming
On how to bring the light back on
Glorified my actions on how
wonderful it would be,
What a grand favor to the world!
Days landed up into weeks
One night a storm rose up at its worst
the lightning struck,
and all that remained of my lighthouse
turned to dirt
That night I soaked in my own tears
a cloudy morning dawned
my eyes caught something I’d missed
In the light of this empty house
I’d forgotten all about the shore
For a few moments I just stared
Picking myself up moved to the boat again
Through the rains the journey resumed,
And as I rowed along it dawned,
that when the light is embraced,
the lighthouse falls.
I wrote this poem describing the journey of relating to someone. Over the years, I have looked up to people as my mentors, masters, one of them even as a guru, and several guides. Not surprisingly, this attitude of looking up extended to idolising some of them, even the men in my life, in a romantic spree. Over the past few months, very subtly this way of relating has been shifting. Often when an attraction, idolisation fades, a part of me tries to keep the relationship going – as if it’s a machine that I need to keep running. Consequently, I start seeking, and therefore seeing the loopholes in their behaviour and start putting them down, despising them, criticizing them and even end up feeling used sometimes. Gradually life is bringing me to a more spacious way of relating, somewhere between these two polarities. As I acknowledge those who are much more aware than I am, carrying a deep wisdom born of their own vast experience, I give myself the space to relate to them without defining them as teachers, mentors, etc. When out of habit I get into the temptation of attributing every beautiful experience I receive to them, I quietly write a note of gratitude to them in my journal, instead of writing to them. For now, this seems to be the middle path.
Reflecting back on times when I idolised someone, I can clearly see that the appreciation was exaggerated. It often had a self-wronging motive behind it – i.e. to make my teacher great and me poor. It is unfortunately primitive, competitive behavior. Today when I am in the place where I intuitively sense some of the people who take sessions from me attributing me for their transformations coming from this space, it makes me uncomfortable.
Moreover, there are also some who, on seeing my humanness, stop doing sessions, or develop a distance. Standing in the center now, I can see that both these polarities do a lot of damage in the long run. It shuts you down to receive the true gift of what a person you call a teacher, or a mentor brings. For example, I failed to see the vulnerabilities of someone who I once idolised and felt sad that I couldn’t support her in her time of need because I felt inferior around her. I overlooked the possibility that one of my teachers might need a sincere letter showing him things from a pragmatic perspective that his dream might not be going where he might have wanted it to. It also created a distance between me and someone whose teachings I looked up to, when I found experiential disagreements with his viewpoints. It made me rationalize, evaluate and over-interrogate my intentions when all I wanted, was to fulfill a teacher’s desire that he had jokingly mentioned, as a simple “thank you” gift to him. On the other side, it also makes a lot of my “clients” unreachable as friends (or so I perceive). It also makes some of them turn away from a practice that could be incredibly good for them, just because they have judged the person who taught it to them.
In all humility, I hope I am arriving at the center now. Relating, as Osho says, changes, while a relationship is over just by calling it that. The ship has sailed already. It is taking time but I am noticing how someone who I receive guidance from makes lovely tea. How some of the people who take sessions from me are so self-motivated to do the exercises I suggest to them, that it encourages me to do them. How it allows me to honestly tell a person that I cannot spend hours listening to them over the phone because it counts for a session in itself. How I can tell someone that though his presence opens up a lot of hidden issues, I am no longer okay with being triggered all the time when there is no balancing time-space where I can arrive back to the center. As I receive my own humanness first, I am opening up to receiving the humanness of those around me.
Leaving this article with an invitation to wonder –
Have you idolised someone so much that they are missing you, or have missed you in their phases of humanness?
Can you see how much you miss accepting your own humanness?
Can you allow yourself to see how much you have missed sharing their true being as a result of the idolisation?
A friend often quotes, while it is our divinity that they seek, it is our humanity that allows them to reach it. The journey does not end when you get to the lighthouse, it begins when you start embracing the light in you that it reflects.