[This Post is available as an Audio Recording too. To listen to it, please follow the Link: If you are “awake”, everything, absolutely everything, is a celebration]
Life is an ongoing, endless celebration. We, however, miss this celebration because, almost all the time, we are grieving over the past or we are worrying about the future. At times, given the cruel ironies of Life that we have to deal with, we even wonder if there’s anything worth “celebrating” about our Life.
|Summer Fireworks at Navy Pier, Chicago|
A few years ago, I was staying at a hotel overlooking Lake Michigan and the Navy Pier in Chicago. My room had a fantastic view. It was a full moon night in June and it was summer. I looked out the window but I did not feel like taking in the lake. My thoughts were elsewhere in India. A crisis we were dealing with had blown out of proportion. And in my air-conditioned hotel room, I was breaking into a sweat. I was texting and emailing my office back in Chennai and the updates I was getting were hardly encouraging. Things were going from bad to worse as the hour passed. I must have spent at least 90 minutes at the window – but noticed nothing. My mind was filled with anger over what had happened and with worry over what may follow. Then, suddenly, past 10 pm, fireworks lit up the sky – just above the Navy Pier. I had least been expecting it. To me, until the first firework burst in front of me, the lake was a dark expanse, as dark as my mood. The full moon was causing shiny ripples on the lake but I never appreciated them. Suddenly, something as spectacular as a 30-minute fireworks display happens, unannounced (at least to me – though I am told that all through summer there is a bi-weekly fireworks display at the Navy Pier) and I lost myself in it completely. For the entire duration of that display, I did not respond to my cell-phone which was beeping text message after message. Nor did not care to look at the email updates that were coming in. I did not brood. I was not angry. And my worries did not trouble me. There was a celebration happening in front of me, almost like a cosmic spectacle, and I was lost in it. When the fireworks display got over, I noticed that Lake Michigan was not just a dark, endless expanse in front of me. It was a beautiful, shimmering, wavy carpet of water, lit up by the warm glow of a full moon. It was, I discovered, another spectacle, another celebration, which was always there – even during those 90 minutes that I had spent agonizing and worrying at the window. I felt stupid – there was always a celebration around me, in front of me, and I had missed it completely?
That night I recalled what I had read somewhere. Osho, the Master, asked his followers once: “What isn’t there to celebrate about Life? The rainbow is there, the sunset is there, the ocean is there, the clouds are there – but you are asleep. Life passes by and you are not participating. You see a rose flower – but even though you have eyes, you see it and yet you don’t look at it. You have eyes, yet you don’t look, you have ears, yet you don’t listen, you have a heart, yet you don’t love. If you are asleep, there’s nothing to celebrate. But if you are awake, everything, absolutely everything is a celebration!”
Beautiful isn’t it? Osho’s wake-up call made a lot of sense to me that night. More than ever before. I realized that my urge to solve my problems and get rid of my worries was forcing me to miss the celebration of Life – which was happening right in front of me. I discovered that the only way to be part of this on-going celebration is to stop pining for the Life that I wanted and instead enjoy the one I had. Ever since, when a wave of guilt or grief, or worry or anxiety, rises in me, I let my awareness of the moment that I am in, drown that wave. You can never not have thoughts. And if you have thoughts, you will tend to brood or worry. But if you are aware, that Life’s celebration is on just now, for you, you will let go of those thoughts that worry you and instead choose to party!