In today’s Vlog I share spiritual perspectives I picked up watching a recent film on cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar! Viewing time: 4:12 minutes
Winning is not about a acquiring a title, reaching a position or being feted with a reward or recognition. Winning is the ability to enjoy – and trust – the process of Life!
Last evening (IST), in a last-ball turn of events, West Indies defeated India, in the T20 game played in Florida, USA. Had anyone else been the cause of India’s defeat, we cricket-crazy Indians would have perhaps shrugged it off. But the man that fell to the wily Dwayne Bravo was MS Dhoni, our Captain Courageous, Captain Cool, World’s Best Finisher….and the Mr.Infallible! A Twitter post that surfaced within seconds of the game finishing, read: “Is it the end of the Dhoni era when he causes an Indian defeat?” And this morning’s Times of India led with this headline: “India done in by Dhoni!”
Very uncharitable, avoidable sentiments, I thought.
The reactions to this game’s outcome reflect how culturally unforgiving we are as a nation, as people, and how obsessed we are with winning and success that we find it difficult to be graceful in defeat or failure. It is this attitude that’s evident in all that we do – we are so driven by wanting to succeed, wanting to win all the time, in whatever we do, that we are quick to pounce on anyone who slips, stumbles, falls and make them feel incapable and incompetent. And because we see so much of this happening to so many people around us, when we do fall, we are very harsh on ourselves too. Such rabid stances are totally irrelevant and uncalled for in Life.
Life, like cricket, is just a game. In cricket at least you can go on appeal to a Third Umpire or a Match Referee. In Life, there is no appeal possible, no review possible. You simply have to keep on playing the game, keep on living with what is – no matter what happens! Over their lifetimes, everyone gets their share of glory, their share in the sun, their moment in the spotlight. In fact, after you journey through Life long enough to have seen success, money, name, fame, love, loss, sorrow, shame and awakening, you come to a conclusion that it’s the process of Life that makes it interesting. The process only involves living Life well, enjoying each moment by living it fully, thoroughly. In the end, it will not matter what you won, how much you won, who you defeated and how you lost or how much you lost. The only regret that you may find meaningful enough to review – and perhaps traumatic to handle – is of the Life that you did not live. So, our only focus and priority must be to live the Life that we want to live. And live it very, very well – each day doing the best you can in whatever you love doing. If you are an actor, be the best actor you know – it doesn’t matter if you get an Oscar or not. If you are a gardener, be the best gardener that just immerses herself in her plants – don’t worry or bother whether others think highly of you and your choice of vocation. We must have the spirit that Jalaluddin Rumi, the 13th Century Persian poet spoke about: “I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying who listens or what they think.”
My own awakening has led me to believe that in Life, the journey, the adventure is the reward. Success, failure, win, loss, victory, defeat, these are just social labels. They, without doubt, come in the way of happiness. And so these labels must be expunged. Only then, to quote Rumi again, can we “enjoy the pure wine being poured without complaining about the dirty cup!”
There will be times in your Life when you can’t force its pace. The best thing to do then is to simply watch Life ooze by beautifully – drop by drop, moment by moment…
It’s surprisingly raining steadily in Chennai today. We are experiencing an unseasonal heavy thunderstorm in the middle of peak summer. There are several things that we are waiting for, pregnant with hope. At a macro level, we await the results of the Assembly elections for several states, including our own, Tamil Nadu. Some business opportunities that we are pursuing remain, yet again, painfully unclear at the moment. And both our children await professional breakthroughs. So, in the midst of all these great expectations – of results, opportunities and outcomes – just standing by and watching the rain fall can be both a magical and a torturous experience.
Yet, that’s the way Life sometimes is. Each day will be slow, dreary and hard to live through. You simply have to hang in there as nothing you do will work for you. All you can do in such a time is to believe that Life is teaching you to keep the faith and develop patience.
Nobody loves a problem situation or one that’s filled with uncertainty. So, really, no one wants a challenging phase in Life to prolong – joblessness, a business slowdown, a critical health condition or a messy relationship drama. But what can you do in the face of Life’s onslaught? As they say in cricket, when the bowling is intense and difficult to play, simply let the ball go past you. Don’t stick your bat out, don’t play a rash shot in desperation or you will lose your wicket! So it is with Life too – when it becomes uncertain and painful, you can avoid the suffering by simply accepting that your Life, for now, is playing out in slow motion. Actually, why must Life always be fast paced? Why do we need to be running from meeting to meeting, chore to chore, commute to commute all the time? Why must everything be an agenda item or on a To Do List? And why must everything be crystal clear?
A good metaphor to hold is that of a clock that’s ticking away even in a thunderstorm. Un-fluttered. Unmoved. A strong mind is like the clock. It remains untouched by the vagaries of Life. Neither exulting vainly in success nor tormented in failure. Neither running amuck nor sulking. It just is…it goes on ticking, as long as it can, no matter what the circumstances are.
I have learned that faith is not about a God or religion. Faith is knowing that everything happens for a reason. And since the reason will not always be immediately evident, you must have patience to last a trying phase! And eventually the reason does show up! Always!!
Life is not a 100-meter race. If you rush through it too fast or keep brooding its slow pace you will surely miss the scenery! And since you can’t ever go back in time or Life, the most intelligent thing you can do is to live fully every moment of the Life that’s playing out for you, enjoying its inscrutable beauty and counting your blessings!!
As for me, I am simply watching the rain fall and listening to its inspiring rhythm! And I am thinking what a great blessing it is to be spared two days of scorching heat this summer!!