“Your mind should be like a room with many open windows,” Bapuji told me. “Let the breeze flow in from all, but refuse to be blown away by any one.” – Arun Gandhi
It also means to be open, to listen and let every information comes from whoever without any shred of judgment – regardless of race, religion, their status in this world. And then, retire into a quite space to reflect on each and every one of it. You do not have to agree with everyone but it is important to just listen. Just a something I have learned yesterday.
Ever since the restriction order began, for a moment, I was in a complete state of bafflement and incredulity. When everything began to crack, we knew it was just the matter of time before it would completely crumble. The ‘denial’ part of me thought we would recover within a month, and I remember how worried my parents were and how awfully defensive I was thinking I knew better. But I knew in my heart that I needed to put a halt in everything. I value the importance of my parents’ blessings. When MCO began, and then Europe followed with their lockdowns, it was a relief that we had postponed everything beforehand and so I had to apologise to my parents for being a crackhead as always. From being absolutely preoccupied with life, and then somehow find myself in between walls, without absolutely nothing to look forward to, and nothing to do, I realised I had been squandering one month of my time with lots and lots of TV series that it did not feel right.
Four days ago, I was on Discovery Channel and saw a perhaps, overly repeated documentary about monks in China and was intrigued with the lives they live. It is not something unusual per say, considering I have travelled to some parts of Thailand and Japan and China and visited myriads of temples. Our tour guide would explain to us beforehand, “The monks here are able to break bricks with their forehead,” she said, and I thought of how disturbingly cool that was. “I heard monks could fly,” she paused while trying to conjure up words to entertain an idiot, “Um.. Maybe not that kind of monk.”
And perhaps, that would explain my odd desire to search for the book I once caught a glimpse on a bookshelf of a few bookstores years ago, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.” I am sure it is a famous read, after all, it had sat on the ‘Best-selling’ bookshelves for as long as I could remember. I had not the faintest interest to even touch the book when I saw it. I thought, perhaps it is a bit too predictable – probably some rich guy who had it all and sold off his Ferrari because he wasn’t happy with his life. I was right, except, it is so much more than that. I find it, as cliché as it sounds, ‘life-changing’. At least, for me. It only took me a day to finish the book and I realised, at that very moment, that that was it. My awakening, or my Satori. The push I never thought I needed but it felt more like a slap-off-the-chair kind of thing.
I realised the complacency in my life so far. I had been rather demotivated and lost my creative juice along the way (if I even had any). I had lost my passion to write. Despite having strangers telling me occasionally about how they value my writing I felt that was more like a sympathy or a lie. I felt that nobody really cared about what I had to say and despite being told that writing is a talent, I genuinely believe that anyone can write. As I read the book, I realised how I was no longer certain of the purpose of my life, my goals and my dreams, my passion. Perhaps I had lost all my dreams the moment I became an adult. What is it that I love doing? I used to love writing, photography, and perhaps, I still do. I felt that I was longing for something but I wasn’t sure what that was (perhaps I still am, I mean it has only been four days). Every time I look at someone talking about something with their eyes lit up, I can’t help but to feel envious to see such excitement so palpable i can almost touch it. I want that too, I would say to myself. I want to know what it is like to love something so passionately.
“Find out what you truly love to do and direct all your energy towards doing it. Your passion must improve or serve the lives of others. Once you’ve discovered your purpose, you’ll wake up with limitless reservoir of energy and enthusiasm and peace”
After finishing the last page, I ran to mom and told her all about the wisdoms I had grasped from the book. She stood there, listened and nodded and confirmed every and each one of it with a Qur’anic verse. We discussed about the things I have read when she said, “Look at you. This is something that makes you happy isn’t it?” And it struck me that perhaps, I have rekindled my passion. To share? To create? To write? I don’t know. I have always been fascinated with the courage these people had to be able to live the kind of life that is unthinkable to many. The book taught me about meditation – to find a quiet place and drown yourself with your own thoughts, figure out what you want in life, contemplate on yourself, the things you can improve about yourself and I see the importance of it.
Waking up early ever since the MCO seemed almost impossible for me but it is a wonder that I have been waking up at 5 in the morning just to sit in the corner of the bed and think. The silence in the air is oddly comforting. I would start my day by thanking God for everything that I could think of and get in touch with myself again – my strengths, my weaknesses, my goals and dreams, my fears, my values. They say, the first 10 minutes after you wake up determines the rest of your day. So I have been trying to keep myself feeling positive by only thinking about positive things. They say, if you want to live a more meaningful and happy life, you’ve got to start to think about more meaningful and happy thoughts. You are what you think about all day long. These words you say about yourself will be manifested in your external reality. Words have remarkable power, you see.
“You truly cannot afford the luxury of even one negative thought. A worrisome thought is like an embryo: it starts off small but grows and grows. Soon it takes on a life of its own. Stop feeding what doesn’t serve you.”
We are so caught up on endless life distractions that sometimes we forget to take a much needed pause to contemplate and revaluate our life. The next thing you know you are on your deathbed thinking you have achieved nothing splendid in life. The problem with most of us is that we often think that we have all the time in the world just because we are young. We wish to have more time when we do not, and now that we do, we are squandering it away for nothing. We put off living until some event in the future occurs. I reckon, the best way to live is to live as if today was your last.