The older I get, the more infinitely surprised I am when one little tidbit of information shifts my thinking. A few years ago I was walking through a hindu temple. It was my first time being exposed to a hindu house of worship. For those of you who haven't been to one, there are multiple statues of deities around the temple. Worshipers walk around the temple, offering their prayers. To my surprise, when I arrived in front of the statues of Rama and Sita I suddenly felt like something ripped open in me. Tears took me by surprise as they fell from my eyes. My friends tried to explain to me that Rama and Sita were examples of the greatest love. I didn't buy it. My heart trembled just looking at them. After going home I went to work researching the story of Rama and Sita to try and figure out why I had such a strong reaction to them.
Worshiped as the ideal wife and ideal king, their story is actually quite tragic. Full of righteousness, banishment, kidnapping, sacrifice and false accusations, the story felt personal to me in a way that l probably will never truly understand. The only thing I knew for certain is that I have felt different from that moment in the temple. It was like something emerged from the silent history of my soul.
Within the next few months, irony followed as my life seemed to mirror Sita's distress. I was tested in love, my purity was challenged, I was falsely accused and eventually banished from my spiritual family. So, I packed up my heart and took it into a fresh place to start all over again in my world. After all, I was not Sita. I was Jenna,.. and I had things to do in this life that did not include being swallowed up by mother earth. I abandoned the memory of Rama and Sita so that I could breath in the present and welcome a new future.
Four long years later from my temple experience I met a Facebook acquaintance in New York. Out of the blue he began to talk about Rama and Sita. Initially I dismissed what he was saying as just the mention of them began to sting my heart with the memory. Then something interesting happened. He told me something I didn't know about the story. When Sita was banished, Ram refused to sleep on a comfortable bed. The idea of his love being uncomfortable sleeping all alone out in the forest broke his heart and so he sacrificed his own comfort. Ram was seen as the ideal king because he upheld the kingdom's wishes and laws, even though it took from him what he loved most, his wife Sita.
Before that moment, I had only identified with Sita's experience. Suddenly I could see how I could play the part of Rama as well as Sita. Both souls had divine qualities, and yet everything went 'sideways.' In thinking more deeply on their story, I am now thinking the ideal is what is wrong with the story, not the characters or how their story played out so unfairly.
I read a quote the other day that said, 'do you want to be right, or do you want to be kind?' Rama and Sita are worshiped because of their ideals, but how can you be an example of divine perfection, without balance? For example, I may have the good quality of being strong willed, but it is only a positive quality if I have balanced that quality with compassion for others. I may have strong morals or strong love, but how kind are my choices around those morals or love?
To be a powerful soul takes more than just one divine quality, it takes the balance of all qualities. And to think.... if I hadn't met this one Facebook friend, I would have never thought about it deeper...