A significant aspect of our evolution as human beings is to move from passion to compassion.
Almost all of us are passionate about things we love__perhaps in varying degrees. But it is equally important for us to be compassionate. In Urdu there’s a phrase called ‘rehmat ka farishta’. ‘Rehmat’means compassion. ‘Farishta’ means angel or messenger. While passion is an expression of pursuing what’s most important for the individual, compassion involves pursuing what involves another/others. Passion gets us success, compassion brings us peace.
Each of us, without doubt, has the opportunity to be a ‘rehmat ka farishta’, an angel of compassion. What better way to explore that side of yourself, than now? A Manic Monday, when you are dealing with post-weekend blues, is great opportunity to be compassionate. Reach out and touch someone who you don’t know today __ may be a hot coffee or soup, may be an old blanket you don’t use anymore, may be a prayer for the one you cross on the street. Just including others in your thoughts is an act of compassion. It can set you off on this wondrous journey called self-realization.
When you are infected by compassion, your life acquires a new meaning. A rare, addictive, peace engulfs you. The capital ‘I’ in your Life loses significance, you stop obsessing with yourself and you start looking at the world, and its beautiful people, around you. That’s how you truly awaken!
Why are Monday mornings manic? Because, we make them so!
How would you deal with a Monday if there was no concept of weekdays and weekends? If every day was just the same. Where you did what you love doing. And you worked, relaxed, chilled out, played, enjoyed, ate, slept – all of it, at complete ease with yourself! Well, this is possible, if only you dropped the labels that you have stuck on the days of the week. Manic Monday is a label. ‘Thank God It’s Friday!’ is not just brand, it’s a label. Weekend is a label. Drop all of them. Just treat each day as special, as a miracle, and see how you feel. And how your days and weeks feel.
People struggle with achieving a work-Life balance because they think of work as drudgery. They are forever lost in it. They think that they have to slog to earn-a-living and that “some day” their lives will become better. But when does that day come? At 60, when they retire, if they are lucky, that is? Which means for 40-odd years you have been working your butt off so you can finally “enjoy”. But what happens if you have a health condition at age 60? How active can you be as you walk into the evening of your Life? There’s no pointing reaching a dead-end, literally, and wishing that you had taken another road in Life. A work-Life balance is never achieved, it is taken – because the opportunity was, and is, always there.
The day you started your career and you made a choice to work in a particular industry, in a profession, you either chose to do what you love doing or you traded your passion for earning money. If it was the latter, either you had to love whatever you decided to do (if you can’t do what you love, that is) or you go back and change your career. There’s no point in wasting the years, the only available, irretrievable years of your Life, by thinking you can earn now and live another day. Even now, it’s not too late. Just take stock of your Life. Either quit what you are doing and go do what you would love or start loving whatever you are doing. Treat each day then as an opportunity to live drenched in that joy. See the miracle then. No more stress, no more deadline pressure, no more seeking a work-Life balance. Your “work” then becomes “living” the Life that you love living! And each day becomes a celebration!
When you reach this state, you will realize that you will have all the time in Life for doing everything. You will work more efficiently and effortlessly. And there will be a never-ending song playing in your heart. Then Mondays will cease to be Manic. They will be Magnificent!
Sometimes it’s a great idea to be doing nothing!
On another Manic Monday, this thought seems too idealistic and improbable perhaps. But have you considered doing nothing? No meetings. No agendas. Just goofing off on a working day?
There’s a heavy downpour just now….as I write this! I have had a rough start to the day and to the week. So, I decided to do nothing for a while. I simply chose to hang around. As I paused to reflect, a truth about Life became more apparent than ever before. We are all so used to a frenetic pace of working that when Life slows down, as it sometimes painfully will, we think something’s wrong. And remain keyed up about the “slowness” of things.
However, a high-pressure week’s start is, I believe, a great time to revist and revive the art of doing nothing. Doing nothing here clearly means “not having any business to transact, or schedules to worry about”. But it doesn’t mean being unproductive. In fact, you can learn so much about Life without having to rush through it. You don’t even need to travel. You don’t need a resort. Even if you stay at home, choose to do what you would normally not have the time to do. Just examine your street from your window. Watch people passing by. Hear the birds. Listen to the music from the noise that vehicles passing by make. Feel the air in your lungs. Spend some time on the pavement. Or simply watch and listen to the music that the rain creates. Witness Life playing out in front of you. You will evolve and awaken more than you would attending a “vipassana” Program or a Silent Retreat. You will heal.
A Zen proverb says, “Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.” So, allow Life to slip into you, touch your soul and show you a glimpse of bliss. If you like it, do more of doing nothing. If you don’t, well, it is so simple__all you need to do is to rush back to rushing!
Here’s wishing you a magnificent Monday and a wonderful week…
At the breakneck pace at which our daily lives travel, Monday mornings are simply a magnified version of the turmoil in us. Being patient on a Monday morning, therefore, may seem like a feat. In reality though, whether it is a Monday or any other day, patience is the only way to connect with Life’s beauty and magic!
A business associate who leads HR in a large client company called me unusually some time back. It was around lunchtime here in India. I was perplexed. Normally this gentleman would text me or write me a mail. I did not pick up his call as I was at lunch. After lunch I found a message from him that said he was just calling to say hello! I called him back!
Answering his phone he said: “Sir, this Monday morning when I came to work, our server crashed. I had tons of work planned for completion today. We also had to work on hundreds of appraisals and issue increment letters. The IT folks told me it will take all day today to restore operations to normal. I was first very angry. Because I wanted to finish all that we had planned. Besides, I have to travel on work from tonight. Then I said to myself ‘What’s the point in getting angry? Let me just take it easy!’ So, I said, let me call and connect with people who I had not spoken to in six months. I decided to call just so that I reach out. If they are available great. If not, they would know I tried connecting! After just a few calls, a feeling of calm overtook me. My anger disappeared. And I felt great joy in re-connecting with people.”
My friend here has just stumbled upon Life’s greatest secret: that taking Life as it comes is better than expecting it to go to clockwork precision. There really is no point in fighting Life. Because it is a zero-sum game: you can’t win against Life and Life was never playing to win! Life’s beauty lies in things as they are, in people as they are, in events as they happen. When things don’t go your way, accept them for the way they are going! This attitude will ensure that you practice patience in each situation__however stupid or serious it may be. We all go through mad, manic Mondays or simply, some bad-hair days! The traffic snarls. The heat, especially at this time of the year, in India can be cruel. Everything, everyone can be driving you crazy. Patience then is the secret to experience peace. It is in fact the only way to live intelligently.
A cool song composed by A.R.Rahman from the 1994 movie ‘Kadhalan’ (‘Hum Sai Hai Muqabala’ in Hindi) comes to mind. The catchy lyrics had this inspirational line – ‘To win in Life you need a Take It Easy policy’! And whatever is driving you nuts or not going your way this Monday, get inspired by this song, and my friend’s experience, and simply ‘Take It Easy!’….