Celebrate Life’s chameleon nature!

The best way to deal with uncertainty is to stop fearing it.
One of the biggest fears we deal with is the fear of not knowing what will happen if__and when__we don’t have enough data, don’t have information, don’t have an idea or clue or any guarantees of what will happen. But such a fear is unfounded. Think about it. There’s uncertainty all around us, all the time, in each moment. It is only the fickle human mind that imagines that it knows what’s going to happen in the next nano-second or in the immediate future. Life can and almost always changes with no prior notice!
We have a friend who wants to postpone a vacation abroad because his son is in final year in high school. The postponement is to allow for the child to ‘settle down’ in Life. Someone else is worried about what will happen if the company he works for is acquired by a larger company in the same industry that has a notorious reputation for downsizing. An investment banker I know laments the state of uncertainty of his investments and says he has been on sleeping pills each night! All these people are postponing their present out of fear of an unknown future that they think they control. So, what is the predictability, certainty, that these people__or even you__are clinging on to? The assurance of financial security? Or perhaps the fear of its absence?
Know this: Despite all that you think you control, nothing really is in your control. Definitely not Life! Know also that dealing with uncertainty is no big deal. You__and I__have been masters at this from the time we arrived on this planet. How did we survive the years we took to make sense of the world without knowing a thing? What if our parents were child-traffickers and not the noble souls that they are? Did we worry about our future then? What if we were left to die and were not picked up each time we bawled, demanding to be fed? Did we fear uncertainty then? Can you say with confidence that you will survive the next minute? What if there’s an earthquake? Or you have a brain hemorrhage? Dealing with uncertainty is therefore easy. Because you can say for sure that you will never ever know what will happen next. Despite all the steps that you take to control all that you can__you can never be sure what hand you will be dealt next in Life or that Life will deal with you fairly, squarely and predictably!

Uncertainty is permanent. By fearing something that’s permanent, aren’t you being foolish? Instead, deploy the intelligence that’s embedded in you. Accept that your Life will change. What is now yours will be gone. What was never yours will come your way. What you wanted may go to someone else. What you never want will arrive in your Life. And even if you do get what you wanted, there are no guarantees that it will stay that way forever. So, stop suffering and fearing what you can never control or determine. Celebrate Life’s chameleon nature and revel in its possibility to change in a heartbeat!

How I learnt to live with insecurity

All our insecurity is a direct outcome of our conditioning. If we drop our conditioning and accept the Life we have, we will at peace with the insecurity that abounds!
A friend called me this morning to congratulate me on my forthcoming Book – “Fall Like A Rose Petal – A father’s lessons on how to be happy and content while living without money” (Westland, August 2014). After he wished my book all success, he remarked, “AVIS, you have learnt to live without money. But don’t you ever feel insecure?”
I found my friend’s question very pertinent. Here’s what I told him.
To be sure, I too felt insecure when I first came face to face, eight years ago, with the reality that we were insolvent and our Firm was bankrupt. Of course, I was devastated by the gravity of our crisis and was very, very scared of where we would end up in Life. But resisting the insecurity, wishing that things were different, only made me suffer. And in my suffering I could not focus. I was always unhappy. When you don’t focus or are unhappy, how can you function? How can you think of even attempting to solve your problems? While I could make sense of the futility of my suffering, I didn’t know where to start or what to do. What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
That’s when I came across Osho’s, the Master’s, view of insecurity. He has said: We are all trained in the wrong way. Otherwise, security is something to be afraid of, and insecurity is something to be rejoiced. What exactly is insecurity? It means tomorrow is not going to repeat today. It means tomorrow you may not even be alive. It means that one has to live each moment as if it is the last moment. A Life of security will be simply boring. It will be like seeing the same movie again and again and again — knowing every detail of what is going to happen. Insecurity is the very fabric of Life. If you don’t understand insecurity, you can never understand Life. Everything will go on changing, nothing can be taken for granted; this is insecurity. You want everything to be certain, permanent. But have you ever thought what will be the outcome of it if everything is permanent? You eat the same food every day, you say the same things every day, you listen to the same things every day. Insecurity keeps people fresh, alive, adventurous — knowing that things can be changed. Even without their changing them, they are going to be changed. So there is great scope for change, for transformation.
Osho’s perspective indeed changed my entire outlook to Life. I decided to play the game of Life – rather than see it as a complex problem that I didn’t know how to fix. Soon, the game became an adventure. I saw that each day held something new – a legal twist here, an irate creditor who had lost patience with our situation there, bills to be paid for essential services like electricity and telephones when there was no money to even buy groceries, a health situation to be urgently addressed; yet each time we thought it was all over, help arrived from some unexpected quarter. No day, I discovered, was the same. Honestly, not all the stuff that came our way on a daily basis, however new or fresh it was, was appetizing. But however much I felt wasted at the end of each day, I woke up afresh and anew the next day. And took that day’s challenges head-on. Over time, it became clear to me that Life has all along been, and will continue to be, insecure. Now, I didn’t have that sense of security that a steady income could provide, yet when I stopped feeling insecure about it, and let go, and let Life take over, things happened on their own. I have learnt that my duty is to make my daily efforts and let the results take care of themselves. Even so, I don’t deserve, nor do I claim, any credit for the way I have learnt to live my Life. I just chose to accept the Life I got and I have. Why would anyone want a crisis, and as in my case, a state of acute cashlessness and worklessness – especially over the last 24 months?
This numbing phase of my Life has taught me to live with insecurity. There are days, several times in a month, when we really don’t know what will happen or how we will be able to provide for basics like groceries or public transport?  But we know fully well that we will be taken care of. Maybe this is what they call faith. Not in an external God. But in Life itself – that if you have been created and you are in whatever situation you are placed in, you will be cared for, provided for and looked after. This faith makes me – and my wife – last one day more, sleep well, and wake up the next day hopeful and ready to work harder at turning our situation around. This faith helps me be at peace with myself despite all that the insecurity that surrounds me.

Don’t sacrifice your happiness on the altar of fear

To be happy in Life, you must first tame a beast called fear.
Everyone wants to pursue what they love doing most. But they remain trapped in unhappy, monotonous work and Life situations because they fear going away from the beaten path.
Yesterday, I met a very successful journalist who complimented me on my first book which is coming out next month. He then quickly added: “I have been wanting to write a book, but somehow I am unable to get myself to take a sabbatical from my role as an editor to be able to invest time in doing what I want to do. I guess I have become a slave – of the job I keep and the salary that it pays me.”
I appreciate the candor that my journalist friend displays. At least he knows what’s keeping him away from pursuing his dream – although, in my humble opinion, he’s closer, as a journalist, to writing a book, compared to so many others who are in other vocations.
Actually, doing what you love doing and want to do, is so simple if you invest a little time understanding it. Think of the situation like this: You want to be an artist. But you are a banker, in a high-paying job. So, while being a banker, if you focused your attention on the experience of being one, your Life would be different; you would be happy. But all along your mind is rueing the fact that you don’t have time for art. So, how do you expect to find happiness while being a banker? The only choice is to change your career. But you are scared. You fear what will your family, or even society will, say. You fear failure__what if you quit your job and your efforts to become an artist come a cropper! What if you don’t earn a steady income being an artist? You fear financial insecurity__what will happen of your family, your children and their needs/priorities and such? So you sacrifice yourself on the altar of fear and choose to bury your joy, your bliss. And then comes a point when society has gone its way, others who followed their bliss have found success and happiness, and your family doesn’t need you to be provider anymore. So, fear has now made way to a bitter aftertaste of the Life you have led. You have the yearning for following your bliss, but either the opportunities are not the same or your energy levels have waned with age or both.
Often there isn’t a wrong road or a right road to doing what you love__there is only the one on which you feel joy. Often also, being on the road that gives you joy has only three destinations: Success (getting to where you wanted to go), Quitting and Delayed Success (meeting with delays, frustrations, challenges but staying the course and tenure). Success and Delayed Success lead to the same destination. And Quitting sets you off on a new journey, possibly to where you once started from but you are enriched and wiser from the experience!
So, why fear? In reality you don’t lose anything, in fact, you gain__because you are happy doing what you want to. And that’s what you want in Life, don’t you?

A Break-Up is not a bad thing to happen

When you are in a relationship, you face the prospect of a break-up all the time. Just as you face death, as long as you are alive! So smile and face whatever’s there, don’t just suffer being anxious and insecure.
A young friend is going through a break-up. It’s a difficult time for him and nobody really is able to make him feel better. Honestly, there are no right ways or wrong ways of dealing with such a situation. Although today’s generation is far more open and willing to share their stories on facebook, parents and family still find it difficult to counsel young adult children on this matter. Perhaps understanding how and why break-ups happen can be useful.
Surely, break-ups are very painful. You sometimes feel you haven’t been treated fairly or that you were never allowed to share what you feel or that you were used. Whatever may be the trigger, a break-up basically signifies a difficulty to relate, to communicate, to express, to appreciate and to understand. But why grieve over this? Just imagine: for years you grow up with a different set of people and then suddenly you develop this ‘liking’ and then this ‘unputdownable longing’ for this ‘new’ person in your Life. You possibly know this person for a few weeks or months or even a year or two – but that doesn’t match the number of years you know someone in your family who you get along famously with or the time you have known your BFF! Any knowing, any relating, takes time to evolve into a seamless understanding, a companionship. And all evolution involves upheavals. There will be fights, showdowns, sulking, anger, sometimes even feelings of jealousy, that will pepper the period of evolution. But before this evolution takes place, if you place enormous pressure on the relationship, there will be break-ups. That’s precisely how and why break-ups occur.
So, the foremost point to know and remember is that a break-up is not a bad thing to happen. If it happens, deal with it by facing it. Because it was always on the cards – from the very moment you got involved!  And if it has not happened, it is still on the cards. It may never happen either. And if it doesn’t, great! But when it happens, a break-up helps a couple review where each of them is coming from and where each of them wants to go. Now, if the destination is the same and they both feel the same way about the journey and being together on it, they may still make up and reunite. Making up often is a cleansing process – it allows for candor to help build a stronger bond. But despite all the efforts they make, if they don’t feel the same way, it’s best they just go their own ways. Why agonize over and endure each other?
I watched this movie Shudh Desi Romance (2013, Maneesh Sharma, Sushant Rajput, Parineeti Chopra, Vaani Kapoor) recently. I believe the movie’s story (and its honest presentation) encapsulates the essence of “companionship” versus “falling in love” and of “bonding” versus “being tied in a relationship”. True love is far more spiritual and pure than what happens between two people at a physical level. Always, all attraction is physical in the beginning. But, over time, a companionship blossoms. There’s an unstated, inexplicable sense of trust, willingness to share and being there for each other that develops. Sometimes, it happens in a matter of weeks. Sometimes, it takes months or even years. And sometimes the companionship never happens even though the physical attraction may still exist and be strong. Life’s journey though, over the years, as you grow older and physically weaker, is best travelled with a companion than with just a bedfellow. If you really want a great companionship with someone, then go beyond the physical qualities that draw you to that someone – seek to, over time, find out if you both relate to, enjoy and celebrate each other. If you don’t it’s perfectly fine – you don’t have to necessarily be this great Jodi No.1! Maybe your partner then is someone else, waiting for you elsewhere?
Life is beautiful. Don’t let it be ruined tending to or grieving over broken relationships where there’s no scope for revival. There’s nothing wrong if, through some pain, you gain insight on what works for you and what does not. Be grateful that you now know what’s best for you. Go wherever Life takes you. Maybe that’s where you will find your true companion…

Don’t try to control your Life – you simply can’t!

Wanting to control Life is like trying to hold on to water in your fist. However hard you try, the water will always slip away…leaving your hand wet, but empty!
I met a friend yesterday who said he was perhaps facing a mid-Life crisis. He had started off on his own some years back. Then, when that venture didn’t do well, he took up employment again. He had changed a few jobs in the last five years, he wasn’t earning enough money, his kids were growing up and he was clearly insecure about his future. He lamented, “I have this feeling that I am being led. I am no longer in control of my career and Life. I don’t think I will be able to put my kids through college at this rate.”
I explained to him that there never is a thing called a mid-Life crisis. “You feel crisis-ridden because there’s a turmoil within you. Your wants are in conflict with your reality,” I said. My friend wants a more challenging and well-paying job. He wants to save money for his kids’ higher education. And the reality is that he is having a mediocre job, that pays him just so much that he can make ends meet. Which means the reality is that he is unable to save any money. His insecurity, his gripped-by-crisis-like feeling comes from his wants. His reality is perfect as it is. His wants are what are disturbing him. I said that the only way he could change his reality was to work on it instead of worrying about it.
This is so true for each of us in our own Life situations. Our upbringing and education make us believe that we are in control of our lives. To a large extent it just appears to be so. You study hard, you graduate, you get an employment, you start earning and saving. When this pattern of progression is uninterrupted, it soon becomes predictable and also makes you believe that you have caused and controlled your Life and career. But ask those who have seen a series of interruptions early on in their lives and they will tell you a different story. Someone’s been dyslexic or someone’s been orphaned or someone’s had an accident leading to a disruption in academics or someone’s just not found a job despite good grades! Ask these folks and they will tell you that nothing is really in our control – that we are merely being led by Life. So, there’s really no crisis and definitely no such thing as early-Life or mid-Life or late-Life crisis. There’s just Life happening in its own unique way for you – all the while. Whatever’s happening is your current reality. Period. As long as you are focused on that reality and acting from that point of view, you will be fine. The moment desire steps in, the moment you start wanting the reality to be different or starting thinking of a future reality, misery will set it. You could feel anything – from anxiety to suffering – and all of them will be debilitating. 
This does not mean inaction at all. I am not advising my friend to live with his mediocre, low-paying job forever. All I am telling him is this – please look for a better opportunity, but don’t pine for it. Keep trying, but stop lamenting. Keep the focus on what you must do, just don’t concentrate on what you don’t have. Accept the Life that you have rather than trying to control it.
Life has been going on, is going on and will go on not because of you but in spite of you! This is the truth. When you awaken to and understand this reality, you too will learn to be peaceful and to go with the flow of Life!

Of freedom from insecurity

When you accept insecurity, it disappears.  
A friend called a couple of days ago. He is the head of operations for a multinational company. His company is very conservative and every single decision is controlled by the top management sitting in their global headquarters. My friend had over a decade built a reputation for himself within the company as a reliable and responsible manager. Therefore, he was allowed a higher degree of empowerment. He was, exceptionally, allowed to lead a couple of crucial processes in the India operation on his own. Which meant that he did not have to seek approvals for these processes from the top brass. But just this week, these processes too were taken over by senior managers at the corporate headquarters. My friend called me to seek my view on making sense of this development. “I am very uncomfortable that my empowerment is withdrawn. I have asked my boss why this has been done,” he told me. He was sounding very disturbed and the feeling I got was that he feared for his job. I told him: “You are feeling insecure. Which is natural. Accept your insecurity. Talk to your boss or senior manager and ask them upfront if the reason for this change has anything to do with their view of your efficiency as the process owner. If your insecurity persists, despite that conversation, go look for another job. If you get one that you like, move. If you don’t get one or don’t want to move even after getting another offer, at least you would have realized the value of  what you have on hand and you will be able to be more productive and efficient. Important, you will stop feeling insecure and disturbed.”
For various reasons, in myriad situations, each of us encounters insecurity. The best way to deal with insecurity is to accept that it is there.
Insecurity is a normal human response to situations that you can’t immediately make sense of. Metaphorically, you are groping in the dark. There is no light. Suddenly you feel lost. Lonely. You are filled with fear. What do you do? Well, you can shiver and shudder. You can cry in despair. But soon you realize that none of that can drive the darkness away. What you need is light – and you don’t have a source like a torch or a matchbox or such. So, when you understand and accept the hopelessness of the situation, when you embrace your insecurity, you will be able think with greater clarity.
When you think about Life deeply, you will recognize the truth that there is nothing called security. On the vast cosmic plane, the human being is as powerless as an ant is in front of humans. One event, and in under a moment, a Life is snuffed out. So what security are you and I seeking when we can never really escape the inevitable end, death? When you understand this quality – its impermanence – about Life, you will stop seeking security.
In the course of a lifetime, there will be a million, or more, occasions when you will feel insecure. Accept your insecurity every single time. When do that, your awareness, through your acceptance, will remind you each time that the security you crave for is a myth. Then insecurity will not hound and haunt you. You will be free from it. 

Kill that anxiety feeling before it consumes you

The feeling that we can’t live without something or someone is what makes us anxious and insecure. If we learn to deal with that feeling, we may even be able to live with any eventuality or outcome that we fear!

Yesterday a friend called to invite us for his daughter’s wedding. It was a special moment in his Life. His wife had committed suicide nine years ago. And he was left with two adolescent daughters to raise. So, when he called, the conversation touched upon how his girls had to cope with the loss of their mother and how difficult it was for him to explain to them why his wife chose to end her Life. “My wife was always insecure about our financial situation. Her fear that she cannot live without a steady income coming home each month is what drove her to depression and eventually suicide,” confessed my friend who is a self-employed professional.

It is often the fear of, or not knowing, what will happen that drives people to desperation. We are all gripped by this fear at some point or the other. None can escape it. The most effective way to deal with such a fear, with anxiety and insecurity, is to face them.

Instead of only asking ‘what if’ in any context, go ahead and answer that question. For instance, if you are facing uncertainty at work – meaning, if you fear a lay off – don’t just allow that ‘what will happen to me’ feeling to keep building up within you. Complete the scenario to the last detail – “I will sell my apartment or move to another city or leverage all my savings or whatever…I will survive a few months and then when I am totally broke, I will go live with my parents or brother or sister…and if they won’t have me, I will take up a small-time job and live within my means until I get the break that I will need to rebuild my Life and career.”

Play out the worst case scenarios, of whatever you fear, very granularly. You will be amazed how much you will benefit from such an exercise. For one, you will discover that whatever is the worst case per your imagination, accentuated by your fears, is not so bad after all. Your detailing that ‘what if’ script will reassure you that you can cope with any impending crisis. You will, over time,  also realize that the worst almost always never happens! And then you will further understand that all your anxiety and insecurity was such a waste of your time and energy!

Imagining the worst that can happen is not defeatist in any manner. It is the only way to kill feelings – like fear and anxiety – that may otherwise consume you. Your fears often blind you to your own resilience. Resultantly, you stop believing in your ability to face Life’s innumerable challenges. Looking your fears in the eye may not take any problem situation away. But it will most definitely help prepare you to meet that situation confidently when it arrives.


Befikr, Bejijhak, Bindaaz!!!

Live Life without worry, without doubt, with total abandon!

Amitabh Bachchan and Sri Devi: English Vinglish, 2012
Yesterday I watched English Vinglish (2012, Gauri Shinde, Sri Devi) one more time. I simply love Amitabh Bachchan’s cameo and how he encourages Sri Devi’s character Shashi to enjoy her first visit to the United States of America – ‘befikr, bejijhak, bindaaz’ – without worry, without doubt and with total abandon!

I believe these three attributes apply to Life too!

Most of us are tentative about Life! We seem to be keen on getting our economic resources in place before we enjoy the Life that we have. Resultantly, we find one excuse or the other to postpone living – to pursue what will give us joy. My classmate from college tells me that someday he “hopes” to do what he loves doing. He says his primary task now is to get himself out of a job which he loathes and find himself one that secures his monthly income. “I am full or worry, fear and insecurity,” he concedes. Another friend is “worried” that his son, who’s in 12th grade, is inclined to pursue literature and art, than take up science, in which he is brilliant. “I have no problem with literature or art except that he can’t earn well enough from careers in those fields. I am worried for my boy,” my friend laments. Someone else, who’s a self-confessed millionaire, does not want to set up a gaming studio because he doesn’t want to raise cash for it by liquidating his real estate assets. Another is stuck in a horrible, complicated, marriage but does not want to step out of it because there’s too much “property and assets involved.” To be sure, these are not isolated cases. Each of us has an insecurity issue – primarily concerning finances or relationships or sometimes both. These insecurities are consuming us. They are chewing us up from within. So, we are never living Life freely. Every key Life decision of ours is subject to certain conditions being fulfilled. So, no decision really gets made. And we stumble along through Life – incomplete and unhappy in our own unique ways.

All scriptures point to the ever-changing landscape of Life. Besides, from our own experience we must know that Life is not something static. It is like a river – ever flowing. So, to seek security in an ever-changing scenario, particularly through something as impermanent and perishable as money – or assets – is futile. Yet, we all seek security from just those same factors. All the time. And that’s why we miss out on living. We merely exist. Earning a living, alright, but never actually, really living!

To live fully we must stop seeking insurance from Life. When there can be no insurance against death, which is both the ultimate and the inevitable, why worry about Life? When we seek security, primarily through economic considerations, we are choosing to limit our living potential. We are living on the periphery. We are then living tentatively – so, we don’t enjoy ourselves fully.

It’s another Monday morning! And the season’s energy is simply awesome. Celebrate this energy by choosing to be befikr– without worry, bejijhak – without doubt and bindaaz – with total abandon today! And see how ‘abundant’ you feel despiteyour circumstances!


Fear and Insecurity aid and abet Life’s adventure

Insecure? Fearful? Just let it be.
There will be times in Life, when you feel insecure. When you will not have any idea what is going to happen. When fear will grip you. At all such times, sleep over the fear. Allow the insecurity to prevail. When you do this, you will discover Life to be magical. To be beautiful. Over time, you will conquer the fear and your sense of insecurity and turmoil will be replaced by a sacred inner peace.
Fear and insecurity are an integral part of Life. They take over whenever you seek predictability in Life. What is the predictability that you seek? That you should have money, that you should be able to provide for your family, that nothing should happen to any of your loved ones, that all your wants must be taken care of? But do you even realize that the predictability you desperately seek is impossible to achieve – money is impermanent, Life is impermanent and your wants are the cause of all your suffering? In fact, nothing is permanent. Everything is perishable. Even you or I have an expiry date – except that we don’t know what that date is! So, to feel fearful and insecure about an impermanent Life, or its various facets, is a totally unintelligent response.
The reason why you feel insecure in the first place is because of what you have been told. You have all along, from the time you could make sense of this world through your school years and through those in college, through your early adulthood and employment, been reminded to focus on everything impermanent – and to cling on to it. So much so that now, insecurity is a habit. It comes “naturally” to you. Which is why when you don’t have what you want you feel insecure. When you don’t have money it worries you. When you don’t have a companion in Life you feel lonely and fearful of the future. When you don’t have a job you feel scared and lost.
I met someone the other day who is exactly in the same situation in Life – not much money, no job and who had just been through a messy divorce. “I feel so insecure. I don’t know what will happen,” he lamented.
Surely, you have felt this way too at some point in Life. Just as the way I too have. The question here, as you will realize when you have a deeper understanding of Life, is not not knowing what will happen. The question is why do you need to know what will happen? The final answer to what will happen is that some day you will die – your Life will come to an end. How does it matter what happens in the interim if the ultimate end is well known and inescapable? Not knowing what will happen in the interim is not at all a problem. But because you conveniently ignore the impermanence of Life, you believe you must have predictability in it. The truth is that the interim period between birth and death is as inescapable a reality as the end itself is. So, the way to deal with your fear and insecurity is to face them as a fact of Life. Remember that they are the weaves that make up the tapestry of Life.
Try living with this awakening. Understand, accept and celebrate the impermanence of Life. Live each moment as if it is your last one. Then fear and insecurity will not cripple you. They will then, in fact, aid and abet your Life’s adventure. Life’s a bungee jump – minus the harness – really. Not knowing if you will survive the next moment or not is part of the excitement. It’s what keeps the game charged. It’s what keeps you alive. Those who embrace the uncertainty actually live, while those who prefer predictability merely exist
                                                                      

Immerse yourself in the moment to be free from worry, anxiety and insecurity!

The other day, I left my laptop bag behind at home while I reached the airport. I had brought along my carry-on but the laptop bag, which had all the important papers and even my wallet, was left behind. There was just about an hour left for my flight. It was still possible to salvage the situation and have the laptop brought from home, while I waited at the airport’s kerbside, but it was going to be a close call. Nevertheless, since we had no other choice, my wife decided to send over the laptop.
As each minute passed my thoughts raced in two, opposite directions:
  1.        What was with me? Was I getting old? And forgetful? How stupid of me! I felt the pangs of guilt gnaw at me. I was stuck in an already past, dead, moment and was wallowing in anger (at myself) and guilt over my carelessness, irresponsibility, whatever!
  2.        What if I missed my flight? What would happen to the client meetings planned for the day? How would I explain a no-show to my client? I had fast-forwarded to live in a future which had not arrived. This is where – and why – I was insecure and fearful of a consequence that was still not upon me!

As I stood at the kerbside, I was anxious. Yes. So I tried to calm down by telling myself to “Let Go!”. Just then a taxi pulled up in front of me. An old couple in their late 70s – they may well have been 80+ too – disembarked. They took several minutes to even walk up to the kerbside. The taxi driver helped set their bags down and waited patiently as the old man paid him his fare. Then the couple dragged a bag each, held each other’s hands, and slowly started to walk towards the terminal’s entry gate. The lady suddenly stopped and wanted to take the bag that the old man had slung over his shoulder. The old man gestured that he was fine carrying it. But the lady was insistent. She leaned forward, planted a kiss on the man’s check, rubbed his back (almost gesturing that carrying the bag was not a great idea for his back!) and took the bag away. Then, they inched forward, slowly, hand in hand, dragging their bags and disappeared into the terminal. I watched them for several minutes as they joined a queue of passengers checking-in. Then, even as I was lost in this beautiful display of togetherness, I felt someone tapping my shoulder. I turned to find my assistant, who had been dispatched by my wife with the laptop bag, standing there with my precious cargo.
Phew! My flight was due to leave in 25 minutes. I rushed in. I completed the check-in process and was the last passenger to board the aircraft! As I settled down in my seat, I thought to myself. What had happened of my worry and anxiety,  my anger and guilt, in the time that I watched the old couple. Those several minutes were completely different from what I was going through before they arrived. I was present in the NOW, in the moment, when I watched the couple. So, neither my immediate past – the guilt and anger over my folly – and nor my unborn future – the fearful ‘what-if’ scenario that my mind was painting – were of any relevance in my present! What mattered to me in the now was that I was witnessing a beautiful display of care, compassion and companionship! Not that I don’t experience living in the moment opportunities otherwise. But this one was special. Because it happened through a cosmic simulation, if we can call the ‘forgotten laptop bag episode’ one!
Life will test each of us in big and small ways. And it will test us all the time! The human mind needs no excuse or opportunity to cling on to a dead past or race ahead into an unborn future. When it dwells in the past or in the future then you are not present! Your mind then is controlling you. When you are present in the now, the mind is powerless. When the mind is powerless only you, the real you, remain. When you are, worry, anxiety, anger, guilt, grief – nothing can touch you! Then you simply are bliss!