Learning not to take ourselves so seriously

We spent time today at the Survada Foundation’s Swarga Day Care centre in the basement of the Heart of Bhaktapur Guesthouse a few miles outside Kathmandu. This NGO was started in 2006 by Krishna Khaitu, and he has built it up to a home looking after 21 disabled children between ages 7 and 19. As we were interacting with the children, we couldn’t but reflect on our own capabilities and how fortunate we are to have “all our faculties”. But a simple reflection on how fortunate and able we are is not enough. That would be similar than “finding oneself”. Once you’ve found yourself, what then? Finding yourself should be the easy part. The trick is to transcend and become better than you are. But that may involve some uncomfortable work.

These disabled kids have severely physical and mental challenges. Yet they laugh and dance and seem to help one another. How is this? In terms, the various dimensions that make us human, what sets us apart from animals is our ability to connect to our conscience. What these handicapped kids showed us was that, despite having limited mental and physical abilities, they are able to express themselves creatively and experience happiness. So often our unhappiness and dissatisfaction are rooted in mental constructs made up of who we think we are. We have a mind, we are not our mind yet sometimes we get confused with a perverse sense of self-identification and loose the plot a little. We take ourselves too seriously and dig deep mental holes for ourselves.

What keeps us sane, helps us maintain course and enables us becoming better, is our conscience, or consciousness. From that location, which is above or beyond the mind, we are able to bring to awareness our spiritual realities and behave according to the right moral standards and values befitting us. The message we received today from a disabled child was: “get over yourself, get on with it and be the better person you ought to be”.

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