Helplessness…

Have you ever faced a situation where you know pretty well that you are being stupid, that you are making a fool of yourself, and yet can’t stop yourself from doing that?

Everyone feels helpless at some time or the other. In most of the cases, you feel helpless because your situation is beyond your control, the external forces which are blocking your movement towards some goal prove to be more powerful than you, or you are not able to do something you badly want to because of the fear of consequences.

But you also feel helpless when a part of you fights against another part, when one part tries to restrain the other, and the other wants to break free of any such control. Your rational mind understands perfectly what is right and what is wrong, but the irrational part of your self doesn’t listen to the reasoning and arguments at all; it keeps straining at the leashes to break free and jump in the abyss with utter disregard for the consequences as if consumed by an inexorable death wish. The struggle goes on and on…the warring parts keep at each other. The Lakshman Rekha is breached by a few inches, and then the part being restrained is pulled back firmly to this side of the Rekha. You get extremely tired of watching this struggle, and give up lending support to either sides. You are unable to concentrate on anything and suffer the torment silently and resignedly.

Now you just watch. You see three entities within you: two of them engaged in almost a mortal combat, and the third one watching them dispassionately, and helplessly. You wonder how many of you are residing within the single you.

Whatever the outcome of such a struggle, the immediate benefit you derive is that you move inwards. You start exploring your inner world, and a new and deeper vision descends upon you. You understand why a part wants to break free and commit harakiri, and why the other one wants to restrain it. One says, “Bahut maza aayega”, and the other says, “Moorkh, pachhtayega”. The third one knows that both are right in a way. Certain things while being extremely painful are also immensely pleasureable. You, watching from the sidelines, are sorely tempted and greatly fearful at the same time. And no matter who wins, scars would be left behind, an ache would become your companion which would be enjoyable at times, and painful at others. But you become more aware of yourself and your feelings. You look at the world with a fresh perspective and a deeper understanding. Instead of flowing with the river of time unconsiously, you become aware of the flow, and a serenity may dawn upon your being which would last for quite some time.

Such conflicts also open up old wounds from the past which were almost forgotten. The pain increases many fold, and your situation becomes similar to a long time alcoholic. When he is sober, his hands and feet shake like leaves in a wind, and he is unable to do anything. Give him a drink or two, and he becomes stable again, and snaps back to normal. But the effects of the drink would last only for a short duration, and the poor thing would be worse off next time. What to do about an addictive medicine?

I guess there is only one solution to such a problem. Let the things take their own course. You know that you can’t do much, then why bother at all. Wait patiently for the final outcome, and face the consequences stoically. I am reminded of a beautiful Geet by Gurudeo Rabindranath Tagore:

My desires are many

and my cry is pitiful,

but ever didst thou save me

by hard refusals;

and this strong mercy

has been wrought into my life

through and through.


Day by day

thou art making me

worthy of the simple,

great gifts

that thou gavest to me unasked

this sky and the light,

this body and the life

and the mind

saving me

from perils of overmuch desire.


There are times

when I languidly linger

and times

when I awaken and hurry

in search of my goal;

but cruelly thou hidest

thyself from before me.


Day by day

thou art making me

worthy of thy full acceptance

by refusing me ever and anon,

saving me

from perils of weak,

uncertain desire.

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