There are times in Life when the journey may become awfully slow. That’s really the time that Life is offering us to enjoy the scenery. But we don’t have the attitude to see it that way. Instead we are obsessed with the painful pace and miss the magic and beauty in our lives.
The problem lies with the way we have led our lives so far. Running from event to event, crisis to crisis, trying to make ends meet, earning a living, busy working harder than ever before, meeting targets, paying bills, raising children and doing everything else except living__mindfully. And then as often happens with Life, the game changes. We are put in a spot where we cannot move; we are check-mated, if you like. It could be a health issue, it could be a career stalemate, it could be a bankruptcy, it could be a relationship tangle or it could be a legal quagmire. In such times, there may be a tendency to worry and to wish__pray, plead, hope__that why can’t Life fast-forward, why can’t we get back to ‘normalcy’? So, if you are bogged down in an ICU, you wish you could be back in the hustle-bustle of everyday Life. Or if you are caught in the midst of legalese, you just are hoping why don’t you win all your claims and are free to be away from all this disputing and arguing. Interestingly, Life’s not a handmaiden that will do what you please. It just may not move.
Know also that there is no fast-forward button on Life’s remote. So, when you are pushed to a corner by the cosmic design, the best thing to do is to not worry about not moving or crib about being between a rock and a hard place. Be happy you can breathe. Because being able to sense your breathing is normal. Running so hard that you don’t even have the time to notice you are breathing, is notnormal. Imagine you are climbing a steep mountain in a vehicle. As it negotiates the sharp hair-pin bends, the engine is finding the going tough. So, the vehicle is down to an agonizing crawl. Now, you can worry about that pace and concentrate on the dreary drone of the engine, or you can look out the window and see what the scenery looks like. This is what enjoying the scenery is all about.
“Smile, breathe and go slowly,” advises Thich Nhat Hanh (called ‘Thay’), a Vietnamese Buddhist monk. “Sometimes your joy can be the cause for your smile, and sometimes, your smile can be the cause for your joy,” he adds. Just being mindful of your being alive__to experiencing whatever you are going through, be it pain, be it joy__is what can make the slowdowns in Life more meaningful. Do all the things that you can joyfully in whatever state you find yourself. And don’t worry about what you can’t. If you are immobilized by a health issue enjoy the ‘grounding’ with a family member who is nursing you; pining to be able to run around will only cause agony. If you are cashless enjoy being able to live without money; hoping you had money will only aggravate your suffering. If you are caught in a relationship problem where there is much misunderstanding, enjoy practicing patience and forgiveness; craving for understanding from the other person may only accentuate your pain. Thay champions mindful living as a cure to all our ailments coming from merely existing. “Life is available only in the present moment. Even drink your tea, slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world, the earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future,” he says.
Slow down when Life slows you down. It is perhaps with ample reason that this message arrives on a Monday morning. To make a Manic Monday a Mindful Monday is your personal choice. It is only when you go with Life’s pace and flow, do you truly experience the magic in and live each moment!