We don’t have to wait for the big, dramatic, Life-changing moments alone to learn our lessons. Life offers a teachable point of view in each moment – all the time!
Yesterday I was in a long queue to clear security at the airport. The gentleman behind me, it appeared, was in a tearing hurry. He elbowed past me and even nudged his way ahead of the person in front of me. He did not stop at the yellow line and landed himself in front of the security officer even as the officer was frisking another passenger. The officer was, naturally, irritated and told Mr.Hurry to back off and return to the yellow line. But our man was not inclined to comply. He argued that he was tired of waiting in the queue. An altercation followed. The security supervisor arrived and demanded that the man step back. He physically escorted the man to the end of the mile-long queue! While many passengers smirked, giggled or shrugged their shoulders, the man’s sullen, grumpy look got me thinking.
Why do we hate queues? Aren’t we all in a perpetual queue__waiting to depart, ever since we arrived on the planet?
To be honest, I used to hate queues too. In the years I was a journalist, I would flaunt my “PRESS” identity card and get ahead of others in public places. I have argued with many a cop or officer, like Mr.Hurry, too. When I look back at those times, I do feel ashamed of my conduct. I have learned that getting ahead in Life does not mean elbowing people and being impatient. In fact, many a time, I have wondered what’s the big hurry, the rush? Think about it. Everybody around us is running faster and faster, edging past others, wanting to be the first one to complete the rat race. And then do what? Many people still don’t understand that at the end of the rat race we will still be rats! In wanting to get ahead, beat the queue, be the first to arrive, we are missing the scenery! Life’s beauty, its magic, is not simply in arriving at any point__it really is in enjoying the scenery too. I have, over the years, found that queues are a great place to meditate, to drop anchor, to go within and connect with the source. It’s the time to revisit and relearn patience. It’s when you can reflect on the inscrutable nature of Life!
Jetsun Milarepa, the 12th Century, Tibetan Buddhist monk has said it so beautifully – “Hasten slowly and ye shall arrive!”. It means keep walking, keep running the rat race if you must, but enjoy the scenery too. Stop and smell the roses. And don’t worry about finishing. For we all must finish our pre-ordained tenure on the planet, every which way, and finally depart. So, next time you are in queue, and are beginning to lose your cool, breathe easy. Think of Mr.Hurry. Think of Milarepa! Enjoy the scenery!