Understand. Don’t interpret.

Let’s understand first and not rush to interpret each other. Most situations turn messy and most relationships get knotted up because people don’t want to understand. And instead they have interpreted others.
Osho, the Master, shares this story of his favorite character, Mullah Nasruddin. Mullah was coming back, totally drunk, in the wee hours of a morning. As he passed by a cemetery, he saw a signboard above a bell, which read, in big letters: “Ring for the Caretaker”. So, Mullah did just that. He rang the bell. Of course, the caretaker woke up with a start! He rushed to the main gate, sleepy and in a state of shock at having been woken up rudely. When he saw a drunk Mullah Nasruddin there he became even more angry. He asked: ‘Why? Why did you ring? Why did you call for me? What is the matter?” Mullah looked at the caretaker in disbelief, then looked at the signboard and then looking at the caretaker again, blabbered loudly, “Now, I don’t get this. Why can’t you ring that goddamn bell yourself?” The caretaker looked at the signboard again. It was written: “Ring for the Caretaker”. And so, now, the caretaker knew, why Mullah had rung the bell! This is the issue we are all confronted with. We interpret instead of understanding each other. Did Mullah understand what was written there or did he interpret it? For if he had understood it, he would have rung only if he wanted the caretaker to come and assist him with something. But because he interpreted the message on the signboard, he rang the bell for the caretaker!!
How often are we guilty of behaving with people and situations like the way Mullah did in that story? We don’t even listen most of time. We rush to conclusions even as someone is saying something. Even before someone has finished speaking our minds have formulated a ‘fitting’ reply. If we will listen, we will understand. But if we don’t listen, if we don’t pause to think after reading something, we will interpret. And most often our interpretation is completely wrong. Because everything in an interpretation is an analysis of what that something should be, could be or will be. It is never an acceptance of what is or never about just being!
Take any of your Life situations __  a vexing relationship issue, for example. Ask yourself if you have tried to understand that person or have you interpreted her or his actions, words and thoughts? If you had understood, as you will discover, there would not be an issue or misunderstanding! So, now, you know what to do! Don’t you? Stop interpreting. Understand. And peace will follow!

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Do whatever it takes to simply live in the now!


It is indeed ironic. In this age of awakened consumerism, your Life is the ONLY product that comes WITHOUT a warranty, without a service or replacement guarantee and without a User Manual. There’s a remote control device to your Life but it certainly is not in your hand!

Think about it! This is THE absolute, real, unvarnished truth!

How different, and so how much more comfortable, Life would have been had it come with a User Manual at the time of your birth? You could then have quickly learned to live and not exist. You could have avoided mishaps and wasted experiences by consulting the manual’s Troubleshooting Guide. If dissatisfied with your Life you could have sought a replacement or pressed into play a service guarantee. Interesting perspective, isn’t it? But, really, as you well know, none of this is possible.

So how do you live a Life that you have no control over, no guarantees about, and that offers no ‘easily downloadable’ guidelines teaching you to live it well?

Simple. You live it one moment at a time. Savoring what is! And yes there’s one thing that Life unwittingly guarantees__with unfailing precision__that it will continue to amaze and surprise you. No matter what you know, you will be continue to be baffled by Life! So, the best way to live is to live with greet each moment in Life with childlike amazement. With curiosity. With glee.

After all that you have tried, tested, tasted, experienced, learned, unlearned, found, discovered, lost and gained, in Life, you will come to realize that Life’s just a simple mind-game. Where the mind continuously tries to take you away from the now, into a dead past or a yet-to-be-born future. And you, through your deeper understanding of Life, must learn to bring your mind back to attend on the present. It’s a fun game. And just like you learn to play Angry Birds or Poker, better and better, with practice, you will learn to live in the moment better by simply focusing on living__again and again and again! So, the key to intelligent living is to lose the mind. Make the mind powerless by not heeding it. By not giving it much attention. Give the moment all your focus. All your attention. Order your mind, as it tries to work you up with worry and anxiety or pin you down with guilt and hurt, to focus on what is. If it is a flower you see, give that flower all you have. If it is this post, give it all your attention. Master Ikkyu defined Zen as “Attention! Attention! Attention!”. Thich Naht Hanh calls this mindfulness. Eckhart Tolle calls it celebrating the Power of Now. Osho calls it simply being. Different words. Different labels. All point to the same state of acceptance, joy and living!

Nordstrom, the global retailer, who has a matchless reputation for service quality, has a one-line standard operating process manual. It says, exhorting its team members to deliver world-class service to its customers, “DO WHATEVER IT TAKES”. Borrowing from Nordstrom, and given that Life does not have a User Manual, perhaps a good, simple, one-line, standard living process guideline for Life would be: “DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SIMPLY LIVE IN THE MOMENT”.

There’s a story that I remember reading in a book by Osho. It is a story of Mullah Nasruddin, Osho’s favorite character! One day, goes the story, Mullah Nasruddin’s son comes home crying saying his friend, who had borrowed a toy was now refusing to return it. Mullah’s son grieves the fact that he trusted his friend and his trust now stands betrayed. Mullah comforts his son. And promising to teach him to deal with such people better, he advises his son to climb up a ladder. The boy follows his father’s instruction. When he has reached the top, Mullah asks him to jump down. The boy hesitates. But the Mullah convinces him that he will be safe because he was going to be caught in the Mullah’s safe hands. The boy jumps. The Mullah moves away just in the nick of time. The boy falls hard on the ground. In shock, in disbelief, he starts wailing as the pain tears through his leg and grips his lower back. Still sobbing, he demands an explanation from his father as to why he betrayed him. Mullah Nasruddin explains, that he moved away so that his son never trusts anyone in future. Trust no one. Trust not even your father. That was Mullah’s message to his son.

Unfortunately, we too have been brought up the same way. By both our social environments and by our parents’ compulsions. We have been taught that to be cunning, street-smart, clever is more important than being trusting, caring, forgiving and loving. So we have been living our lives this way. Without knowing, without realizing, that the absence of trust is the cause of all grief in Life. Fundamentally, learn to trust creation that if you have been created, it means that you have also been given all that you need to live a whole Life, fully, meaningfully, joyfully! But you__and I__go beyond needs and press for wants to be met. And when they are not met, you become untrusting of Life. You grieve. You seek answers, wonder why there are no guarantees, why Life is being unfair and such. To live in the moment, just trust the Life you have, for what it is, as it is, in that moment!

Gautama, the Buddha, taught the world, TATHATA. It meant acceptance of what is, of the moment. Buddha said: “Whatsoever happens, happens. Nothing else can happen, nothing else is possible. Don’t ask for it to be otherwise; be in a let-go, and allow the whole to function!”

The whole here is Life itself. It is working perfectly well. And for you. The way it must. So, let it be. Don’t ever seek guarantees from Life. Because there are none! Simply tee off, living in the NOW, every single moment!