Sunday, December 09, 2007

Catch them before they escape

They were packing their bags. A wave of sadness had pervaded my entire house .And though I am particularly troubled by departure moments even of a fairly less acquainted person , I was closely observing the way they were moving around. I was feeling so sad that even my the tears could not find a vent .This couple who had spent their whole life for their only son, who were truly the cause of what he is and where he is, were leaving again back home.

My parents had come to stay with me for 3 weeks and they were now leaving. On the one hand Aii and Baba were feeling sad that they are leaving their beloved son and on the other, they were not comfortable staying in Mumbai where materialism ,money, crowd and noise were the prime disturbances.

I remember the moments when they were planning to come to Mumbai to see me. It was all so exciting, that my parents are going to come to stay with us .Three weeks had passed like three seconds and it was time for them to go back .This took me to a new level of thinking .We brood over the past, plan so much about the future but we miss the chance to catch the present. For those three weeks, when they were with me, there were many such moments which I could have enjoyed more intensely if I was mentally present with them. Giving one's hundred percent at every moment seems to be the real challenge of life and the only instrument to happiness.

I remember a camp of Chinmaya Yuva Kendra that I had attended a couple of years back in which one of the speakers had asked the participants to concentrate as much as they can on the present. "BE AWARE!!! Don’t let the moments flow. Every sound, every word that you hear, every sight that you see, should sink inside you" he had said . "Absorb all that happens around you, completely inside your self. This will help you in all the spheres of life. At work you will get more efficient, at home you will enjoy the moments with your family more and at study you’ll have accelerated pace of learning."

Being completely in the present is an extension of the power of concentration. The power of concentration is available to us when ever we need it. But in this case, a constant sense of awareness of the present (a higher type of concentration) becomes a way of life. All the great leaders, spiritual masters and top managers have this unique gift, that enables them to store and process huge amount of information.

Coming back to where we started, the biggest advantage of living this way is, it annihilates all the sense of repentance and guilt of not putting in our best .I remember a proverb that has always inspired me …” if you don’t put in your best you lose the thrill of bring fully alive “Put in your best as in giving your 100% attention.

This works miraculously in family relations as 100% attention is what is most needed by most of our near and dear ones and if you are 100% attentive it becomes much easier to identity with the people around you, understand them and give them all that they want . This accentuates the joy of giving, even more.

If only I had tried to catch those moments with my parents, I would not be repenting today that I wasted another good opportunity to understand them, love them and give them as much as a son can.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Objects in rear view mirror may appear closer than they are…….

I remember this song by meat loaf. I used to listen to it very often during my Engineering days. Meatloaf for one, used to intrigue me quite a lot. I never understood why a person chooses to dress, act and sing in a manner that makes him look so unusual? Why some of these western singers are so fond of looking weird? In search of elegant artistic expression that I was, I never found answers to these questions though I did find some depth and meaning in the songs of meatloaf as time passed. It was not about the songs, it was about the new references that I had found for myself, that these songs had become meaningful for me.

This song was about the visit of Meatloaf to his native place where he remembers of a terrible plane crash that had occurred in his childhood .The rear view mirror of his car shows him objects at the back. But he is much intensely associated with them and they seem closer to his heart. The soul he says is a car and life, a high way.

It’s a strange tryst with time that we must keep traveling, lose our grips with the past, even the immediate present which soon melts into the past and rush in a mad frenzy into the unknown future. Some times evening thinking about it can drive one crazy. This is a seemingly absurd state of flux that we find ourselves in. We are in search of stability which is never there to be attained.

When I visit Goa, I live through the rear view mirror experience. Memories gush forth like the waves of sea which is as new as it was for ages. Everything is just the same, the people, the town, the houses and restaurants. The only difference is that I seem to have slipped away from this world and entered into a whole new world of Hi –Tech industry and glitz and glamour of corporate culture. This will also pass like the wheel of time that keeps turning.

Where than, should the guidance and security of soul come from? Where should one search for quenching the thirst of heart.

It’s generally recommended not to stretch any example beyond a limit, but the analogy of car and road is indeed logically perfect to provide solutions to this perplexing problem and directions to soul search.

The road is never ending and the destination may never be in view to reach. No matter how much we talk of goals, targets and mission statements they are merely milestones in an unending journey of the soul to the Lord. When does one reach there and how? are questions best unanswered. Goals as I have always believed are worth pursuing but some of the factors in their achievement are unknown and un-conducive.

But the milestones are not any less pleasant. They remind us of the beautiful present that we pass through every moment and which slips out of our comprehension and feel, like beach sand through our fists.

The never ending road presents us with glorious sites to watch, enjoy and cherish as we travel. They may seem momentary and temporal but they are relatively true for the moment and are capable of giving us profound happiness and joy. We need to find a context in them and dwell in them with our whole hearts. As they say it’s not the destination it’s the journey that’s important.

Sadly the whole world seems to be too much engrossed either in the rear view or anxious in the wind shield to find out how the road ahead will be. Very few, peep outside the window and watch the beautiful flowers with diverse colors and hues smiling at us. The mountains looking at us with composure, Rivers singing for us, Birds chirping as if announcing our arrival. The divinity hidden in all these is lost out of our sights .Their availability and abundance is perhaps the cause of their neglect.

If only we can concentrate on the present moment, we will gain this beautiful gift of enjoying life in its truest form…. the present. The objects in rear view mirror and their closeness is in fact our failure to achieve this simple feat in the past.