Learn to celebrate the only Life you have by living in the moment!
“I don’t know where my Life is going. I am totally clueless. There seems to be no point in anything that I do. I have a cushy job, a stable ‘more-than-average’ income, a loving family but it is as if I am on a treadmill – I am running faster and faster, yet, getting nowhere!” This was a lament from a senior executive at a leading software company, when I bumped into him at a coffee shop the other day. He added, asking “Have you ever felt like this, AVIS?”
Of course, I have felt like that. Everyone feels like that at some time in their Life.
And I have realized that this feeling gnaws at you only when you want your Life to be predictable, when you want answers to all your questions. But, beyond a point, there are no answers in Life. When despite having everything material, like this gentleman who I met, if you still feel empty, listless, you must awaken to the reality that education, social status, a job, affluence, all these things cannot satiate you. I have come to understand that such emptiness must be celebrated. It must not be resisted. What this emptiness is teaching you is that while you have every ‘thing’, you are not happy. So, clearly, happiness doesn’t come from having things. Happiness is who you are when you simply are living in the moment; when you are enjoying your Life for what it is.
The human mind is the culprit here. It is always grazing in the past or in the future. Which is why this man is feeling lost. He has everything that most people will crave for, but he’s not enjoying any of those. His mind is searching, yearning, pining for something else. He must realize that there’s nothing to gain or attain or achieve in Life. The only Life we all have is the Life that is happening to us in the moment. In his case, he doesn’t even know what he is searching for. In someone else’s case, they want more of what he has. In another’s case, they are grieving over what is lost. So, simply, as long as your mind is away from the moment, you can never be happy.
I have a hairdresser friend called Ramalingam in Bangalore. He works at the salon at Vivanta by the Taj at Trinity Circle there. In the days when I had a lot of hair, I would visit him every month. On one visit, when he found me very fidgety, constantly typing out messages on my Nokia Communicator, he asked me if he could share an unsolicited perspective. I grudgingly nodded in approval. He told me this: “The greatest human quality is to simply be. If you can drop this constant urge to become, to be some place else, to be in control, and just be, then you have mastered the art of intelligent living.” I barked at him for chiding me. I told him it is fine as a hairdresser to hold such a ‘non-corporate’ point of view. In business, I championed, you have to be on the move, you have to constantly be driving – harder, stronger. You have to be on the ball all the time, else someone, somewhere will drop a catch. And catches cost matches. Ramalingam looked back at me and said, “By not learning to be, you have already dropped a big catch – you! The constant doer is not the Master. Only one who can simply be is the true Master!”
What he said to me that day made no sense to me back then. But over the years of practicing mouna (daily silence periods), whenever I think back at that conversation, I recognize that Ramalingam was, after all, right. He was actually pointing to the fact that when you are in a frenzy of activity, you are being controlled by your mind. In the name of business, you are constantly feigning ‘busyness’; to the extent that you are trapped by it. Your emptiness comes from this sense of ‘busyness’ – this feeling of running, running, running, like on a treadmill, but getting nowhere! For this emptiness to make way for fulfilment, for happiness to be flowing from within you, you must learn to control your mind. You must drop your desire to become something and simply be. Just be in the moment, living, thriving, celebrating the only Life you have! Merry Christmas!
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