There is a difference between conventional and normal. Most people, when they hear the word “conventional”, tend to think in terms of other people and see particular situations, groups, cultures, or religions. The word “normal” tends to encompass a larger, vaguer area, and people tend to think of it as applying universally. Many times we conflate the two words, and in our limited view believe our convention is what is normal.
If we take “normal” as having a universal meaning, then it has to apply to everyone. The true normal, however, is being in harmony with God; this is our birthright. Normalcy is an underlying consciousness moving constantly toward God.
Convention is something else: it is a custom that can either coexist with true normalcy or conflict with it. In one family the convention may be to yell. In another, the convention is to remain silent. Both, if their motivation internally is to be with God, can be normal with different conventions. When we go outside our home environment, we may decide to serve the situation and sacrifice our conventions, as long as the adjustment does not require us to be offensive and allows for us to keep our integrity.
Problems arise when the merely conventional is taken for the truly normal. The only way sādhana is going to be considered “normal” by most people’s conventions is if the goal of sādhana is to have a beautiful, happy “normal” life. That would mean that the goal of sādhana is to be a perfected small self. We tend to believe the one we call “me” is really who we are. From that standpoint, sādhana then will only clean up that “me” so that we have happy “normal” lives. We believe that the lives we lived prior to practice were “normal”, and now with sādhana that “normal” life will be even better. Of course, each person’s idea of “normal” life will look different, because each person’s idea of “normal” will be based on the particulars of their early life.
The truth is, sādhana will and should turn your life upside-down. During sādhana the small self will crack. The façade and its conventions will be revealed for what they are. If you want to remain the “normal” you have always known, you will want to heal the crack. Sādhana will be seen as a battle against the teacher in order to remain “normal” and “true to yourself”. If you aid the teacher in further breaking up the façade, then the truth that your “normal” was only convention will be revealed, and you will be able to free yourself from that attachment.
The reality we are seeking in sādhana is not a thought construct. Your life as you understood it was just an idea that you constructed and called “normal”. It will be exposed as nothing more than a vocabulary list that you formed into a story. Your narrative will look very different once it is examined and a light has been shined on it. Your life will not be the same. Thank God.
But most people, even those who consider themselves seekers, cling to their “normal”. I keep finding seekers who say they want God but don’t want to give up their “normal” lives. And they can maintain those lives—if those lives are in harmony with God. If your “normal” is dysfunctional, it has to go.
If we are truly normal, we will maintain our attention in the Heart and adjust our vehicles as required. In other words, we will be with our experience, let whatever comes up come up, and function appropriately on the physical plane.
This applies as much to groups as to individuals. Fitting in brings harmony. It may bring harmony and peace within the group but disharmony outside. It may bring harmony and peace within the group but disharmony within each of the group’s members. We need to be careful about accommodating ourselves to various groups, fitting into different settings. If a group is inappropriate, then to be truly normal will mean not being in harmony with that group, and to fit into it will be merely conventional. We need discernment to decide when it is appropriate to fit in. If fitting in requires us to sacrifice without receiving fulfillment and love, then there is a problem.
These foursquares will aid you in freeing yourself from attachment to convention:
|You are wrong by my convention||You are right by my convention|
|You are free with integrity||You are bound to the wrong thing|
Each of us has to make the choice to be truly normal rather than merely conventional. In order to make that choice, you have to know what your conventions are, and have experience true normalcy. My sadness is in watching people choose to cling to convention when they have experienced true normalcy. Ultimately, the true normal is the Truth, and the Truth is So’ham: I am who I am.
Share this Post