Why repent ? I never knew that it was actually repentance (to some context) that made me change myself in all these years, until I got to hear the sermon of Pastor Avinash at the Shepherd Memorial Church during the Sunday evening service.
What does repentance actually means ? Well, repentance is reviewing one's actions and feelings of contrition or regret for past wrongs, which is accompanied by commitment to and actual actions that show and prove a change for the better.
I would say that yes, I do review and analyse my actions to the extent where I could figure out if something is of any value to me or rather degrades my existence as an individual. Repentance has always worked for me and has helped me to find myself.
Though, I do agree or ever followed the other context of the meaning of repentance. Like, I do regret or pity about any of my actions of the past, doesn't matter how bad or worthless they were. As, at the end of the day all those actions or decisions were governed and taken by me through my free will. Doesn't matter if I was influenced or was forced into something, but still those actions and decisions included my approval while I always had a choice of not getting into them.
All my actions of the past were governed by my hundred percent approval and so, I cannot regret upon my own choices and decisions now, in a present.
But yes, I repent and so I review my actions of the past. A past to me is not just an event of a distant past but even a yesterday is a past for me. Reviewing my actions has always helped me in giving up on the things which aren't good for me and devalue my existential individuality.
Like, I always and mostly avoided all the religious places as I used to believe that I wasn't worth enough to be visiting or attending such places of worship. I believed that one has to be clean enough to be a part of such places of religious importance. Though it was completely my perspective and I strongly believed in it.
Drinking and smoking were the two things that I picked on my own wish, under no influence or force. But the worst part was that, I wasn't able to give up on these on my own will, the way I chose to pick them and these soon became serious addictions.
I never wanted to visit rehab or ask for help as I considered it to be symbol of weakness and pity. Moreover I used to love smoking and drinking. I won't be wrong to say that I was really passionate about smoking.
I was a drunkard and used to drink everyday. Though I wasn't such a pathetic drunkard that my friends would have to carry me to my home or have to make me sleep at their place. I used to drink to that level, where I was able to drive or ride back home in senses. But then, I used to drink everyday. It was almost like even my bike wasn't in my control. Like it'd automatically turn towards any bar on the way back home. I soon realized that I was a slave to it.
Soon the thoughts of leaving it came into my mind and I tried, yet I wasn't able to. That is what happens to most of us addicts. But then, I reviewed both the actions of my distant and recent past and I asked myself - do I really wish to give up on drinking and my answer was a big yes. And I realized that, if I was so sure about giving up on it then what were the reasons that I must continue with it for even a single day. This was the thought that I gave in the night and the very next day I was clean and a non-drinker.
It has been 10 years since I haven't tasted a single drop and moreover I wasn't ever tempted to drink even while others used to drink in front of me. It is not just about repentance but it is also about training your brain to such extent that the things which were most important to you become completely unimportant.
But, I would say that getting out of drinking was still easy for me as I wasn't so addicted to it, while I still used to drink everyday until I used to be high and happy.
The thing that even the people who were close to me knew was that, I could never give up on my addiction of smoking.
I wasn't just a chain smoker but I was a death smoker. I used to smoke 35 to 40 cigarettes in a day. It was the most favorite thing of my life. Like, I'll wait for most important conversations and meetings to end up soon such that I could smoke my lungs out. It used to be the only thought in my mind. The highest that I had in a day was 120 cigarettes and I was really proud about it.
I used to count upon my cigarettes, like I never used to count the one that I used to share with someone. It has to be completely my own to be counted. As it was a much easier resource than alcohol, I was able to have it anywhere and at anytime..
People used to get afraid of me when they used to see me smoking 10 cigarettes one after the other at the same place. They used to say that looking at me was like witnessing death. Though I used to take it as a compliment.
But then, a level came where I almost starved to have a glass of juice than to be smoking my lungs out like what I was doing. I found myself to be a poor guy who was completely a slave to smoking. It wasn't me who was smoking cigarettes but it were cigarettes that were smoking me. Soon the thoughts of getting out of this addiction came to my mind but it was so easily available and as one could consume it anywhere, it was really difficult for me to make up my mind.
But then, very soon I repented over my addiction of smoking and reviewed my actions. It helped me to make a confirmation about my will, to give up on smoking. I started trying it in the conventional way, like what is suggested for the people who are addicted, that they must give up on their addiction slowly and gradually and not at once, as it may lead to several withdrawal situations over one's health.
So, I tried to cut down the number of cigarettes everyday and I actually made it to 20, but then, just one good or one bad day and I was again back to 40 a day.
I then followed my old method of repentance where I used to review my actions to bring a change and then I trained my brain to make the change a permanent element of my lifestyle.
I reviewed my actions during the night and asked myself several questions, something that I usually do, like -
Is smoking adding anything to my life or is it just an excuse for escaping situations ?
Does it even suits me to be smoking with any random strangers at a common place ?
Hasn't it wasted a huge portion of my life as this is what I usually do whenever I'm free, rather I create a moment of freedom to smoke my lungs out ?
Do I actually wish to live with it or I wish to give up on it ? If I wish to give up on it then why the hell in this world am I cheating upon myself everyday by still doing it ?
That was the night of reviewing my actions and I found every reason in support of giving up on smoking, That was the last night and on the very next morning I was a non-smoker. Yes, in the beginning while I was training my brain, I had to act like I was a non-smoker. I wasn't acting this to anyone else but I was acting this to my own brain.
It has been 6 years since I'm a non-smoker. It is something that makes me feel proud about myself.
Giving up on smoking gave me power, that I could get out of the toughest things in my life and can start all over again.
This repentance made me stronger, so much so that I give up on anything and everything that makes me a slave or to which I get addicted.
Repentance, the reviewing of actions and making a change thing soon made me realize that we all foolishly desire permanence in our temporary lives. This helped me to practice detachment. So much so that, I stopped creating memories or I would say that I stopped recalling memories. Rather, I started living only in a moment and nothing beyond it, nothing about a future or a past but just living the moment there and then.
This repentance in the form of detachment helped me in detoxifying my thoughts, my brain and my cells. I turned up into a present person.
It was then that I started finding myself worth to be entering the portals of a Church but I went to Him, only when I received a calling. But yes, I believed that I made myself worth to be amidst Lord,
Though He forgives sinners but I never wanted to be with Him half heatedly or guilty. I wished to fix my sins first to enter His House.
Yes, there must be still a million things that I'd need to change about myself but now I'm open to changes for my own good and I know the method.
"Repentance" and "Training The Brain" are the two things that have always worked for me. But yes, I never regret or pity my actions or decisions of past, as I cannot do anything about them now and they were taken with my hundred percent approval.
I didn't know for what was the process through which I detoxified myself to become my present version and I found it during the Church Service on one of the Sundays, that it was 'REPENTANCE"