Meditation!

We lead a complex life and there are many reasons for it. There can be a real-life situation like a death or a birth or a perceived situation. In birth and death there is nothing perceived. Many situations arise in our life but situations are perceived differently by each person. Many times, perceptions are different because we observe things or get information about situations out of context. “Pramod is a terrible person to deal with, even his enemies will never say this!” My close was talking with someone about me. That someone only heard “Pramod is a terrible person to deal with”, and not the complete sentence; he thought that if a close friend of Pramod is saying this, then it must be true! This is how the perceptions get created.   

People meditate or pray to connect with our creator! Each has his own way of doing things in life. To me, a pursuit of anything where there is no benefit commercial or otherwise, is meditation. Why meditation is done? Meditation is done to achieve peace of mind; our mind is flustered many times because most of the situations in life are not under our control. We are travelling and the flight or the bus is late. You want to attend a meeting and there is a big traffic jam! You want to buy that house but you are way short of funds. There are situations galore and you want to remain cool! Is it possible? Is it practical? What does a near atheist like me do? I generally never pray, I never meditate in the conventional way. How do I relieve my stress? In the last few years, I have found that when I am writing my blogs, I feel serene! I am very much engrossed in writing and during this phase, I am not flustered. This is especially true when I am writing early morning after I have had my quota of sleep.  

What happens when we meditate? There are any number of methods for meditating but the end result is expected to be the same. The peace of mind! Once we master our own technique for meditation, we are sort of floating on a different level! The atmosphere is relaxed and we feel that there is positive energy around us. Meditation brings control on our mind to some extent. Controlling mind is one of the toughest things in this world. To me meditation and control of mind are synonyms. Why does our mind waver? There are many things happening in our life, simultaneously. Our mind has its own way of arranging and rearranging things going on in our mind. It prioritizes in its own way.

You may be going to office by bus or by train. Your mind will not bother about this event, normally. But you need to be in your office at least half an hour before your normal time to prepare for an important meeting. Then this simple event of going to the office on that particular day will be on the top of the agenda in your mind! This is because it is an important event for that day. Similarly, there may be more than one thing on priority on a day. You have had a major disagreement with your spouse or the partner, you have lost money on the share market, your boss has given you a piece of mind for no fault of yours; the list can be unending on a particular day! This is when your mind goes into a spin, you toss and tumble, you remain agitated.   

You try to meditate but you cannot concentrate! Your thoughts are jumping from one end of the spectrum to the other. You need to practice to meditate. You cannot learn to meditate overnight. Meditation, after all, is getting control on the mind! Your mind is a funny thing. You get waves of thoughts like sea waves are generated by the wind, one after the other. Your mind is like a small bird, at one instance it is on the terrace of the building opposite you and the next moment it flies to sit on the tree! There is saying in Marathi about the mind, “मन चिंती ते वैरी न चिंती!” What it means is that when our mind goes into a spin, the thoughts or conclusions it generates, will not come into the mind of even our worst enemy! Yes, during this stage we are not in a position to think properly, we are not able to decide properly. Meditation comes into the picture at this stage!  

Why we are not able to meditate? Why we remain in the vicious circle of so many thoughts in mind, hence the indecisive state of mind? Ability to meditate with your own method is very important in life, both professional and personal. In our “busy” life we forget this most important aspect of life! We go for walks or Gym (hopefully) to keep our body fit. Meditation is a way of keeping your mind fit for your life’s journey! Our journey is much more pleasant when both our body and mind are kept fit! It is in our hands.  But many of us forget or say that they don’t have time for the fitness of the body as well as the mind. Almost none have time to keep their mind fit! Meditation is for Sadhus, Gurus, Monks and oldies. Humans cannot be more wrong!   

What can we compare meditation with? Is it like a river? No, a river in monsoon is turbulent like our mind. Is like a lovely summer breeze? Cyclones show us the fury of the wind like our mind. Is it like clouds, those serene ones which show nature in its full glory at the sunrise or sunset? No, the monsoon clouds can really give us a feel of Lord Shankara’s Tandav Nrutya!   

But yes, we can compare it with our travel by air. The flight takes off and if you are lucky you go to sleep! Except for the mild whine of the engines, the daytime atmosphere can be serene outside. You may see some beautiful Sunrise, which I saw while landing at Bucharest once. Once while travelling from Pune to Delhi in monsoon, there were dark clouds at Pune and they continued for an hour. But once we reached the cruising height, I could see the nature at its best. After an hour we crossed into white cloud zone and the beauty continued. I was travelling alone, seated in the window seat and felt out of this world. There were no other thoughts in my mind and whatever anxiety I had while at Pune airport, about next day’s meeting, simply vanished.   

Lack of meditation and exercise changes your persona. I have a friend who has gone through a lot of ups and downs in life. While in college days, he was a jolly and happy person. I met him a couple of times after 45 years. He has not tried to correct his physical fitness. The way he talks and writes, one feels pity for such a person. He is neither here nor there in life. I am sure he does not meditate, this is reflected in his frustrated behaviour with others. I feel that he has other difficulties in life, which we don’t know about. But I feel that he will get peace of mind in the golden phase of life if keeps himself bodily and mentally fit!   

Saying prayers, saying OM, singing bhajans, writing, painting, singing, dancing, observing nature are various ways to meditate. You may add your method to the list. But please, please meditate regularly. Find time for keeping your body and mind in top gear!   

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Does this generation have time?

The other day, a school time friend, Pradeep wrote a comment on Facebook, after reading my blog, “Who has time for Snails & Tortoises?”

This blog was about the thoughts that came to my mind, how we are losing the art of taking things easy. Some things are beyond our control but some are not; like the information and data that we get is enormous and because of that we tend to process everything fast and continue with that habit all the time! But we can take some things easy if we want! It’s up to us!

Pradeep said in his comment, “Pramod, you have written a great blog but do people have time to read such a long piece?” In today’s time, reading 1200 to 1400 words is a lot of time to give to something which shows no tangible returns. If one had to read the 10000-word document for next day’s office meeting, after reaching home at midnight, it is Ok to give time for it. Next day’s meeting is a crucial meeting and there are direct tangible returns.

There are friends like Vijay, Ganesh and Arun who consistently give their opinion on what I write. Friends like Dilip also share an adverse opinion with me. This contemplates me to think, review and sometimes make minor changes in style which to me is essential. Shrikant feels that my blogs sometimes become too conversational. I also read many blogs and I also read about blogging. I have found that this method suits my style better. I feel that I am basically a storyteller. The human brain is a very interesting thing; I think that HE has designed an unlimited archives section in our brains. Once I go into writing mode, my hard disc starts whirring fast and suddenly a right story is accessed. I was writing a blog a couple of days back, “Man and the Machine”.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2018/11/13/man-and-the-machine/

Suddenly from the archive, I remembered the event called Gimli Glider, Air Canada incident. I had read about it a few years back. But HIS design is such that the appropriate address in the archive section was accessed, instantly. This story enhanced what I wanted to say in that blog.

I m k! Hw r u? I lv u 😘. This is the language the young gang uses. But to me, they use this language in their personal communications. Formal communications do remain formal. I was trying to remember from my school time. I was a reasonably good leader, but I was zero in elocution, the writing was only meant to get through in the exams. I had classmates who could paint, write stories and poems, take part in elocution and do so many things. But this percentage was small. I am sure that in today’s young generation too, this percentage may not be high but I can tell you that it has increased. This is due to the exposure and resultant confidence that kids acquire. Like me, there could be late bloomers.

So, Pradeep, “Don’t worry! There will be bloggers, story writers, novelists and painters AND readers.” Each generation has its own specialities, its own expertise. To me basic things don’t change, what changes is the way it is done, the way it is produced and the way it is distributed and expressed. I have understood the modern vehicles like FB, WA, Instagram, LinkedIn pretty well. I use them as my tool for distributing what I write, long or short, serious or funny! Subjects may change, topics may be different. I have full confidence in the young gang. They will read what they like and they will do what they want. Don’t underestimate them. In cricketing parlance, we wondered who will replace Tendulkar. But in came Kohli, now that Kohli is reaching 30, there is Shroff on the horizon, Rishabh Pant is also there!

I am lucky to be neighbours with my daughter and granddaughter, Rhea. All of five years old. I have watched Rhea grow and I am sure everything is fine with this world, as long as we allow it to be! Rhea loves stories. She wants to listen to stories while going to sleep while eating food. She makes stories and tells stories. She plays games where she holds a pencil as a mike and makes announcements, copying her teacher. Her imagination is flying sky high, all the time, because we let it fly. Let there be a thousand butterflies in the world, let there be hundreds of bright stars in the world. She sketches, paints and draws because she is taught and encouraged. Yesterday at the airport she and I played races for some time; suddenly she said, “Now let us play a race, who reaches that pole the last wins the race!” Look at her different way of thinking. I am sure such incidents must be happening in homes where the parents the grandparents find time for the kids and enrich their life! Yes, my 18-year grandson also reads my blogs once in a while!

So Pradeep, the speed of life has gone up exponentially but to channelize the energy of the young ones in the right direction is in our hands. So let us do it. I know all is well this world. This is about a young painter Manasi from Nashik, (about 26 years of age). She had written about how intensely she felt about doing nude paintings. But as she could not get find models; this simple middle-class girl showed fantastic courage to use her own body as a nude model! In times of shortages, we share with others what we have. This generation and ones afterwards will be short on time but they will find ways and methods to share it with others to enrich life. After all, there is life after FB and WA!

I have started this journey of writing after the age of 65, it is the journey taken up for enjoyment; I don’t expect any commercial returns. I am sure encouragement from friends like you and Sukanya on FB, my encourager in chief Jaya will always keep me writing. There some friends who always read but don’t comment. But whenever I speak with them on phone, they discuss my writings, give encouragement and suggestions. And there are some friends, who used to comment once in a while but now have gone on silent mode! But thanks to WordPress, I know you guys read my blogs! Thanks a million!

Father Time

This is the description of father time on Wikipedia page: Father Time is usually depicted as an elderly bearded man with wings, dressed in a robe and carrying a scythe and an hourglass or other timekeeping device (which represents time’s constant one-way movement, and more generally and abstractly, entropy). This image derives from several sources, including the Grim Reaper and the misattribution of Cronus (not Chronos) as the Greek Titan of human time, reaping and calendars, or the Lord of Time.

fathertime

Typical statement that we make casually about Time is “for next xx hours/days I am just going to laze around and do nothing”. This of course is essential to recharge our batteries or sometimes plain necessity if we are tired. But I feel that in this beautiful world Time is the only finite thing that we own and it is depleting every second. The beauty is that we do not know how much time we have and so we do not have time to waste! In this scenario I feel that we should handle time more carefully.

We treat time very casually and most of the time we feel that Time can be bartered with money. If you are a doctor or an engineer or a scientist, you should be spending more time doing things in which you have the expertise and interest. We do not learn to delegate things and waste our time in doing mundane things. I will give some examples under Indian scenario. I know of people who go and buy their milk every day, though at a very nominal fee milkman delivers milk at home. Laundry man comes home to take clothes for ironing but our friends will go to his shop for the same. What is the value addition?  When things can be bought online we go to shops and purchase items there. If we are buying branded stuff it is easier and faster to do it online. It is ok to go to malls/shops if you want to have fun time and eat out. When cars are to be given for servicing, dealers provide facility for pick up and dropping the car back, at a nominal fee.  Most don’t do it and waste their time as dealerships are far. We had a friend in Canada a real expert in engineering field; once we went to his house and he was irritated that he could not do his research as he was forced to perform mundane things at home, which were very expensive to outsource. What I have said is about better time management but there are more important things than that.

We all have our dreams. But in drudgery of day of day things, we put our dreams on back burner. Dreams may be small, they may be big but dreams are dreams! This is where the finite Time comes into picture. We forget this finite element of the Time and always think that we will follow our dreams later. Does that later ever come? We need to learn to find golden mean within the parameters of work, making money, life’s other responsibilities.

Dreams can be from eating a meal at a fancy restaurant in New York, to laze on beaches in Australia. It could be visiting Taj Mahal or going to the Moon. But dream practically. Your dream may be to climb Mount Everest! Age and physical fitness come into picture. Again never follow the dictum, “My friend is doing so let me try”! Never do that because circumstances are different. One important aspect is that we should think about your spouse’s dreams too! You may be able to withstand a drive through Saharan desert in summer but your spouse may not be fit enough!

All said and done, don’t postpone your dream to tomorrow. Because tomorrow may be too late. I am not saying that you will not be around tomorrow but circumstances can be different tomorrow. Some are lucky to have ideal situations almost till their finite Time is over but many are not that lucky. There can be variety of reasons that will not let you follow your dreams.

Here is a story which I read on the net.

 A lady who was a painter at heart was travelling with her boy-friend. They met a man whose vehicle had broken down. When they were helping the man, the co-traveler told them his story. Traveler had a lifelong dream to make an overland trip across and around the whole of the Australian outback.  Husband & wife both worked jobs they didn’t like, saving all the money that they could and foregoing holidays each year, all the while planning their perfect journey. ‘The holiday of a lifetime’ he called it.

Finally the day arrived.  They had the best equipment money could buy and a pair of first class tickets. On the flight, they had sipped champagne, as giddy as children.

The problems had started the very first night.  They had driven out and pitched their ‘top of the line’ tent.  But his wife’s arthritis had instantly flared up, and the humidity didn’t agree with his lungs, so sleep would not come.  From there on things had only gotten worse.  So much worse that by the end of the first month his wife had given up on their dream, changed her ticket and flew back home without him.  He had stubbornly vowed to complete the trip but admitted to himself that he was having second thoughts about it. 

It had come on fast, like a rush of cold water on the lady, as they were driving away and watching the traveler recede downcast, in their rear view mirror; her heart had broken a little and, in that exact moment, she’d decided to give painter within her (the thing that she had always secretly wanted to do but had always put off until ‘later’) a real shot. After the lady reached her destination, she chucked everything and just decided to become a full time painter!

Every decision is a trade-off.  What you choose to focus on will determine the very shape your life and your character; for good or for ill.

Everything, everything comes down to time.

So come now, do not delay!

It is much later than you think.