Tuesday, October 26, 2010

'The Holy Shadow' ~ A Sufi story as told by Osho

There once lived a saint so good that the angels came from heaven to see how a man could be so godly. This saint went about his daily life diffusing virtue as the stars diffuse light and the flowers scent, without being aware of it. His day could be summed up by two words -- he gave, he forgave -- yet these words never passed his lips. They were expressed in his ready smile, his kindness, forbearance, and charity.

The angels said to God, "Lord, grant him the gift of miracles."

God replied, "Ask what it is that he wishes."

They said to the saint, "Would you like the touch of your hands to heal the sick?"
"No," answered the saint. "I would rather God do that."

"Would you like to convert guilty souls and bring back wandering hearts to the right path?"
"No, that is the angels' mission. It is not for me to convert."

"Would you like to become a model of patience, attracting men by the luster of your virtues, and thus glorifying God?"
"No," replied the saint. "If men should be attracted to me, they would become estranged from God."

"What is it that you desire, then?" asked the angels.
"What can I wish for?" asked the saint smiling. "That God gives me his grace; with that would I not have everything?"

The angels said, "You must ask for a miracle, or one will be forced upon you."
"Very well," said the saint. "That I may do a great deal of good without ever knowing it."

The angels were perplexed. They took counsel and resolved upon the following plan: every time the saint's shadow fell behind him or to either side, so that he could not see it, it would have the power to cure disease, soothe pain, and comfort sorrow.

When the saint walked along, his shadow, thrown on the ground on either side or behind him, made arid paths green, caused withered plants to bloom, gave clear water to dried-up brooks, fresh color to pale children, and joy to unhappy men and women.

The saint simply went about his daily life diffusing virtue as the stars diffuse light and the flowers scent, without being aware of it. The people, respecting his humility, followed him silently, never speaking to him about his miracles. Soon they even forgot his name, and called him "The Holy Shadow."

This is the ultimate: one has to become the holy shadow, just a shadow of God. This is the greatest revolution that can happen to a human being: the transfer of the center. You are no longer your own center; God becomes your center. You live like his shadow. You are not powerful, because you don't have any center to be powerful.

You are not virtuous; you don't have any center to be virtuous. You are not even religious; you don't have any center to be religious.

You are simply not, a tremendous emptiness, with no barriers and blocks, so the divine can flow through you unhindered, uninterpreted, untouched -- so the divine can flow through you as he is, not as you would like him to be. He does not pass through your center -- there is none. The center is lost.

Finally you have to sacrifice your center so you cannot think in terms of the ego again, you cannot utter "I," to annihilate yourself utterly, to erase yourself utterly. Nothing belongs to you; on the contrary, you belong to God. You become a holy shadow.

~ Osho


Question: I have been married for the past 26 years. We applied for divorce 3 months ago, after our younger daughter got married, a mere formality which was on our agenda for many years. Both of us are strong headed and disagreed on almost every thing from the beginning of our marriage. We lived our own separate lives cordially living under the same roof for the sake of our 2 daughters for the past 18 years. Although we are not best of friends we are neither bitter with each other. Socially, emotionally as well as financially I have been independent in my marriage and had been looking forward to the divorce. So when it finally when we filed I was very relieved. But off late I am finding myself on edge, irritable and depressed. I don’t see any reason for the same. My business is doing better than ever before and I have done all the things I have longed to do for so many years but couldn’t do. Last evening, I was at a close friends place to celebrate her promotion and I suddenly broke down into tears seeing how her entire family was there to celebrate with her. I experienced deep loneliness and sadness. I was really shocked about the way I felt. I don’t understand why the pain when I am so looking forward to the divorce. Please help.
Mrs Dixit
Answer: Divorce is not only ending a marriage technically but also of all the wishes of having a happy family and an eternal need of being connected deeply to someone special for ever. This loss exists at an emotional plane irrespective of whether you are logically justified in taking divorce or not. Along with this loss, come all other similar losses of the past thereby making it appear out of proportion. You are bound to feel lonely, depressed and angry as it is not only the loss of the marriage but a cumulative loss of your life time wish to be happily married ever, a companion with whom you have deep connection, of being loved unconditionally, the house that you’ve been living in, the social status of a married woman and the loss of your family after the marriage of your younger daughter that you are dealing with and may be many more losses of the childhood. It is natural to mourn all these losses and you need to give your self time to heal. Denying these emotions will only lead to further such unpredicted outbursts till you are ready to face them. Having someone, a close friend or family to listen to you will also help. If these persist for over a year and half, or they get worse do consider taking professional help.
Following article provides information on the emotions and its stages during divorce which generally people go through:
1. Grief and Sorrow
Being sad when a marriage ends is natural. Although it's painful, grief is a healthy emotional response to the loss of an important relationship. We are hardwired to feel it, and it wouldn't be reasonable to expect otherwise. While sorrow and grief can be very hard to handle, most people do understand and accept the inevitability of these feelings.
We know from research, theoretical writings, and personal experience with thousands of people going through divorces that though the emotional impact of a divorce is as severe as that of a death in the immediate family, the grief and recovery process does have a beginning, middle, and end. Though they may seem endless, the pain and confusion surrounding separation and divorce do gradually lighten and finally go away -- for most people over a period of eighteen months to three or four years following the marital separation, though recovery can be quicker or slower.
• Denial: "This is not happening to me. It's all a misunderstanding. It's just a midlife crisis. We can work it out."
• Anger and resentment: "How can he [she] do this to me? What did I ever do to deserve this? This is not fair!"
• Bargaining: "If you'll stay, I'll change" or "If I agree to do it [money, childrearing, sex, whatever] your way, can we get back together?"
• Depression: "This is really happening, I can't do anything about it, and I don't think I can bear it."
• Acceptance: "Okay, this is how it is, and I'd rather accept it and move on than wallow in the past."
Understanding these stages can be very helpful when it comes to talking about divorce and decision making. It's important to know that when you are in the early stages of this grief and recovery process, it can be challenging to think clearly or to make decisions at all, much less to make them well. Identifying your present stage of grief and being aware of it is an important step toward ensuring that you will make the best choices you can.
2. Guilt and Shame
Experiencing guilt and shame is also a normal reaction to the end of a marriage. These feelings arise when we feel a sense of failure -- of not having fulfilled our own or our community's expectations. In the case of divorce, people often feel guilt and/or shame because they have failed to stay married for life. That's partly a matter of personal expectations -- not fulfilling the promises made to a spouse -- and also partly a matter of not fulfilling what our culture seems to expect from us. If our culture's expectations about marriage and divorce are reasonable -- if they fit well with how people actually behave in that culture -- and we don't measure up, the guilt and shame felt at the time of divorce may be appropriate. If the culture's expectations don't match well with the reality of marriage and divorce as people actually live it, the guilt and shame can be much more problematic -- difficult to see clearly, difficult to acknowledge, difficult to manage in a divorce. In addition, there are some marriages in which one or both partners have engaged in extremes of betrayal, deceit, or even criminal behavior that almost always involve feelings of guilt and shame.
Regardless of whether the feelings arise from not having met one's own or the culture's ideals or from actual wrongdoing, we know that for many individuals, guilt and shame can be so painful that they change very quickly into other, more tolerable feelings, such as anger or depression -- often without the person's even knowing that the guilt and shame are there. This is why it is so common in divorce for each partner to blame the other and why it can be so difficult for divorcing partners to accept responsibility for their own part in a failed marriage.
We've encountered few divorcing people who find it easy to see or accept their own feelings of guilt and shame. These powerfully negative feelings often remain under the radar, hidden and invisible, where they do the most harm. Strong feelings of guilt or shame can make it difficult or impossible to take in more balanced information, to maintain your perspective, and to consider realistically your best alternatives for how to resolve problems.
Guilt can cause spouses to feel they have no right to ask for what they need in a divorce, causing them to negotiate unbalanced, unrealistic settlements they later regret. Family lawyers have a saying that "guilt has a short half-life," and because guilt is such an uncomfortable feeling, it can easily transform into anger. We often see people who have negotiated guilt-driven agreements having second thoughts and going back to court to try to set aside imprudent settlements.
Similarly, shame often transforms into blame, anger, or rage directed at the spouse. Bitter fights over children or property can be propelled by feelings like these, which needs to go somewhere, goes into fights over matters that courts are permitted to make orders about.
3. Fear and Anxiety
Fear and anxiety are common because of our hardwired "fight-or-flight" instinct. Our bodies react to stresses (such as an angry phone call from a spouse) by using physical alarm mechanisms that haven't changed since our ancestors had to react instantly to avoid being eaten by saber-toothed tigers. You react to stress physiologically in the following ways:
Your heart speeds up, and adrenaline pours into your bloodstream Your adrenaline makes your heart contract more forcefully and may cause you to feel a pounding sensation in your head You may feel hot flashes of energy Your attention homes in on the event that triggered the strong feelings, limiting your ability to take in new information When people are under chronic and severe stress, they may have anxiety attacks, in which they tremble and their heart pounds. Or they may be paralyzed by almost overwhelming feelings of fear that seem to come out of nowhere. We work with many people who experience these feelings as their marriages end. People who feel overwhelmed or confused in this way tend to fall back upon old habits of thought and action rather than looking intelligently at the facts of their situation and weighing the best choices for the future.
4. Old Arguments Die Hard
As marriages become troubled, couples often rely on old habits of dealing with differences that lead to fights rather than solutions. If those old habits didn't lead to constructive solutions during the marriage, they will surely yield no better results during the divorce. In addition, people feeling anxious and fearful may resist pressure to move forward and resolve divorce-related issues because of feeling unready, while their spouses may be impatient, seeing no reason why the divorce wasn't over months ago. Bitter fights in the divorce courts often stem from differences such as these.
Unfortunately, both our court system and our culture at large encourage us to take action in divorces based on how we feel when we are at the bottom of the emotional roller coaster, when we are most gripped by anxiety, fear, grief, guilt, and shame. After all, that's when most people are moved to make the first call to a divorce lawyer. As a result, people are encouraged to make shortsighted choices based on emotional reactions that do not take into account anyone's long-term best interests. The resulting "bad divorces" harm everyone and serve no one well. They are very costly; they fail to plan intelligently for the future; and they inflict psychological scars on both the adults and the children. This can be avoided by consciously working on the divorce keeping ones personal prejudices away.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Country's first relationship helpline - Indiatimes: Picture Story
You too can save a lot of pain!
Avoid reaching a crisis point-

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010


INDIA'S ONLY Helpline for interpersonal relationships

Free telephone counseling sessions call us on…
888 884 6262
888 884 6363

Launch Date MUNBAI: Monday, 25th October 2010.

Dimple Shah
(Psychotherapist & Counsellor, director of revival.Life Counseling Center)
Rishtahelpline@gmail.com / Revival.life@gmail.com 9960900363


• Rishta is India’s first relationship helpline; an endeavor by revival.life counseling center to reach out to this very population who are struggling with relationship problems before they become chronic or critical by nature.

• While most help lines deal with specific crisis issues such as suicide / domestic violence / children, there is not a single help line dealing with relationship issues. Many interpersonal relationships show signs of turbulence much before it hits the crisis stage and if concerns are addressed at this early stage, one can save on a lot of pain and energy.

• Rishta Helpline was launched in Pune on 11th September, 2010 and the helpline has got a good response in Pune. Since its launch in Pune in the first month itself we have received 35% calls only from Mumbai, hence we are formally announcing Rishta help line launch in Mumbai on 25th October, 2010 along with new telephone numbers for our Mumbai callers.

• Rishta will be initially operational for 4 hours (1pm to 5pm) Monday through Saturday. Two lines will be simultaneously operational for receiving calls from Mumbai. The numbers are 888 884 6262 & 888 884 6363

• The calls will be manned by counselors trained by revival.life. Rishta help line is one of the only helpline which offers psychotherapeutic help. This approach of counseling empowers the individual to resolve his / her issues without direct advice. We find that this approach works the best and the changes brought about in their lives are long lasting. From the statistics in Pune over 93% of our callers have expressed satisfaction with our services. About 27% of the caller population has called us again for follow up telephone sessions. Each call lasts for about 20 – 43 mins and for the convenience of the callers, they can make telephone appointments for a repeat session with the same counselor.

• We have received a variety of calls on different issues ranging from marital discord, family issues, couple / girlfriend – boyfriend issues, peer and friendship issues, senior citizens, parenting issues and work related professional relationships. I would like to specify two categories of callers here:

• The increase in relationship issues especially marriage, I find is largely due to duality of roles that now a double income group is playing. Wherein the man is expected to, apart from maintaining his traditional role of the financial provider also look into the role of a father, of house manager and like wise the woman apart from looking at the household and maternal responsibilities is expected to share the financial burden of running a house. This role expansion is against the traditional roles which the current generation still has in mind seeing their own parents and is in conflict with the new enlarged role that they are expected to play. So although they are accepting it at a mental level, at an emotional level it causes a lot of stress and conflict. Besides in their daily chores trying to manage these dual roles, they are so tied up that they do not have time to resolve the building conflicts. Many do not come for counseling due to sheer lack of time and the wounds fester.

• This issue is compounded with the divorce being relatively a more socially acceptable and easy option where couples instead of putting their mind together and working on their relationship to resolve their issues prefer to part ways whenever in disagreement or in pain. The social web of joint family which was present earlier is also disintegrating this also adds to the loss of any structure that can further bind them when in conflict.

• All in all with increased stress, ambiguity of roles, double income and financial independence, lack of social support and sheer lack of time to go for counseling are the reasons of increase in problems faced by couples in their relationships.

• We have received many callers who are struggling with this as a core issue and have benefited once they are able to get an insight into their perspective and conflict in resolving their issues over the telephone counseling provided by Rishta help line. We believe people know their problems better than any counselor in the world and therefore the answer to the best solution also lies within them therefore they do not require advice rather require perspective insight. Our counselors help them achieve this through psychotherapeutic skills.
• At work place too its sheer competitive spirit and increased number of opportunities available that itself create stress. There are no limits to what one can make out of his / her career, primarily requiring out of the box thinking which creates higher peer pressure.
Revival.Life is a Therapeutic Resource Aids and Educational Center founded by Dimple Shah, a practicing psychotherapist and counselor. Services provided are for both adult and child dealing with both normal and psychiatric problems. Revival.life has also been conducting certificate training courses for counselors and social workers apart from out reach community programs and research.

In 15 years of my clinical work as a Psychotherapist, dealing with emotional issues of people, interpersonal relations have emerged as a single most crucial factor affecting their performance, health and harmony in life.

• People who are unhappy in relationships begin a domino ripple effect which then affects every other aspect of their lives initially in subtle negative ways; especially through low self esteem and weak self love but later it becomes all consuming.

• This crippling effect can be quickly reduced at an earlier stage, but many wait till things get unbearable to come in for face to face counseling, some never do. Often people have cited lack of awareness of counseling services, lack of time, heightened anxiety of labeling their conflicts as a problem, lack of financial resources, confusion or sheer unavailability of help during crisis as some of the reasons for not seeking early intervention.


In 2007, concerned with the rising suicide rates amongst the youth in the Software and BPO industry, and baffled with the work life stress being indicated as causal factor, revival.life conducted a research to study the causes and its impact of work stress. The outcome of the research was startling, but supporting with my clinical experiences: work life stress is an outcome of interpersonal relationship discord and not the other way round, as is generally believed.


• 7 out of 10 top stressors are interpersonal by nature.

• Interpersonal relationships are amongst the top three causes for suicides across all age groups.

• Relationship problems are cited as top 5 causal factors for poor academic / work performance increase in divorce rates and mental illness.

• 50% of calls to other help lines are pertaining interpersonal issues.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Every human being wishes to be eternally connected with a person. This connection is established or expected to be fulfilled in a love / marital relationship. Infidelity in the relationship causes severing of this connection and also the hope of it in future. Too often, the numbness and confusion, the pain and anger of uncovering the infidelity is intensified by the myths and half-truths about affairs and inability to share the wound, that makes surviving infidelity that much more draining and difficult - both mentally and emotionally.
Emotions in infidelity mimic that of death of a person, only more difficult to deal with because it is not an actual physical death. The partner is not only mourning the loss of the relationship but also the eternal wish to be connected with a human being. It stirs up deep infantile feelings of insecurity and leaves the person feeling unloved and abandoned.
Compounding the issue, infidelity is often kept under wraps as it is shrouded by societal humiliation, shame, guilt and lowered self worth. The partner goes through various stages such as denial/ disbelief, anger, apathy and then grief. This mourning can last up to a year, or even more. Each occasion/ incident is mourned individually till the person is ready to let go and forgive. Often, during this phase of grieving the wounded person, although aware of the practical approach to deal with the situation, is unable to do so due to intense emotions. Family and friends out of their concern and not wanting them to be in pain provide with logical/ practical solutions and try to cover the wound quickly. This only further complicates the problem and the person further withdraws into his/ her shell. Now, not only he /s he is wounded but is also expected to wear a smile on his/ her face and move on in life. To forgive, and forget. But the wound festers within, causing more damage.
Each affair is unique. Each different type of affair serves a unique purpose to the cheating husband or wife. Here are areas of knowledge that, once studied, generate tremendous relief and hope.
There are different TYPES of INFIDELITY.
I came up with 7 types of affairs in my work with couples over the last 15 years:
1. My Marriage Made Me Do It
2. I Can't Say No
3. I Don't Want to Say No
4. I Fell Out of Love...and just love being in love
5. I Want to Get Back at Him/Her
6. I Need to Prove my Desirability
7. I Want to be Close to Someone...but can't stand Intimacy
The reasons behind the varying types of affairs are distinctive. One may be motivated by compulsion, another by strong personal needs for excitement, another for revenge, another to maintain distance in all relationships, and another to project blame onto someone or something else.
These motives derive not from the marital relationship or the wounded spouse, but from the personal coping patterns of the cheating spouse. Additionally, these characteristics, motives, and patterns were already set well before the marital couple even met. At some level, it was necessary for the cheating spouse to "play out" these patterns. Unsurprisingly, most of this acting out (if not all of it), or at least the motivation behind the acting out, are well outside the consciousness of the cheating wife or husband.
Once the wounded spouse becomes aware of these patterns, the complexity of the infidelity and the motives for the cheating spouse - and other person as well - a flood of relief flows. The more one can make distinctions in a situation, the more refined those distinctions become, the less power that situation has to control the feelings and behavior of a person. Knowledge is power because it comes with options.
Overcoming infidelity requires a lot of space for the hurt and anger to be vented out. It is important that this venting out is listened to without any evaluation. This process along with challenging the beliefs about marriage and extramarital affairs helps the individual to cope with infidelity in an appropriate manner. It is difficult for the near and dear ones to do so because of their emotional attachment and involvement and often requires professional psychotherapeutic help for healing the individual/ s and their relationship. Working on these beliefs will provide the grieving person with clarity of thought and thereby the ability to choose his /her future actions. Knowledge about infidelity and self awareness becomes power with which one can heal oneself.
Look at the following false beliefs for example:
1. LOVE IS MAGICAL & SACRED: Coping with infidelity for the wounded spouse may mean dealing with the seeming fact that s/he is no longer "loved" and in reality that "love," which was so sacred, is given to someone else and one has no control over it/ the ability to regain it. And, honestly, what is more emotionally devastating than to feel unloved?

2. POOR MARRIAGE LEADS TO INFEDILITY: Another common misconception is that someone jumped into the arms of someone else because the marriage was awful. Quite often, this means that the sex was awful, or even nonexistent. The wounded spouse is left lamenting the arguments and the points of differences with his/her spouse as if those differences tainted the marriage or relationship or worse what could they have done to avoid the infidelity.

3. Everybody is unfaithful; it is normal, expectable behavior: Seeking solace in commonality of the problem can bring about temporary relief, but along with it it brings about disillusionment and hopelessness about life in general and relationships in particular.

4. Affairs are good for you; an affair may even revive a dull marriage: Back at the height of the sexual revolution. This is an ineffective way to pacify oneself as jt leads to further damage in a relationship and more so to ones own self esteem.

5. People have affairs because they are oversexed: Affairs are about secrets. The infidelity is not necessarily in the sex, but in the dishonesty.

6. People have affairs because they aren't in love with their marriage partner: On closer examination it routinely turns out that the marriage was fine before the affair happened, and the decision that they were not in love with their marriage partner was an effort to explain and justify the affair. Being in love does not protect people from lust. Infidelity with your loved one is not a very loving thing to do, and it may be downright hostile. If people are experiencing a deficiency in their ability to love their partner, it is not clear how something so hateful as betraying him or her would restore it.

7. TIME WILL HEAL THE WOUNDS: The wounded person is wounded because he/ she was unconsciously attracted to a person with particular traits. If these motives are not uncovered, he / she is likely to fall into a similar trap once again. So in a way they are responsible, albeit unconsciously. If these wounds are not opened, aired and well looked at, they are likely to remain infested and the infection likely to reappear at a later date, and often more damaging. Hence often we find the person saying that my partners often have uncannily similar personalities. Time does not help in protecting oneself in the future. One needs to work not only with ones emotions but also take professional psychotherapeutic help to figure out what about them drew them to such a person.
Such knowledge about infidelity brings great relief, quite often right then and there. Knowledge about infidelity gives options to act, feel and think differently, which gives one a tremendous feeling of personal power. The "wounded spouse" moves beyond playing the victim, and now recognizes that he or she is not at fault for the affair taking place. S/he is not defective. She or he can confront him or her with a basic educated guess as to the end result of that confrontation. There is nothing s/he could have done to avoid infidelity in the spouse. It also brings in awareness about ones own mental makeup protecting the person from future hurts.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

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