by Sankit Mali from India
What would you do if your bike stops at the traffic signal and then refuses to start again? Why all of sudden people in the lane want to show that they have those irritating horns? How would you react if the situation persists and you end up spending thirty minutes in the middle of the road ? What best can you think in these provoking moments?
Well, frustration and anger were natural reactions. On one hand I was thinking that somehow, with some miracle this machine should start and I reach to destination at the given time. On the other hand – I wanted to scream at someone, I wanted to curse everything – the bike, the company which manufactured it, the Indian roads, the spare parts and so on. As this frustration became unbearable and when I didn’t find anyone to vent out my frustration, I called my younger sister and screamed at her for not maintaining the bike properly and not telling me in advance that bike has serious problems.
That didn’t resolve the problem, the bike didn’t move an inch ahead but I hurt my sister and the situation actually worsened.
Somehow at that time I became aware of my own self. Moment of awareness struck me. I started thinking – Why I am not able to accept the situation as it is and not the way I want it to be? Isn’t it a test of practice of Vipassana meditation? Why I am not able to detach myself from the situation and see the situation from an independent perspective?
Suddenly my mind was flooded with these scathing questions. Those few minutes of awareness calmed my mind to a significant degree. I became attentive – I thought expectation is the root cause of misery. Expectation that should start out of miracle is unrealistic. Step by step, I cleared my mind , identified the probable root cause, dragged my bike to a mechanic and explained him probable reasons for bike failure. I left rest of the things to mechanic and patiently waited till the bike was repaired.
I realized the root cause of my frustration – expectation of the effect without eliminating the cause. My thoughts of irritation, blame, anger hijacked my mind for those thirty minutes frustration and that hijack prevented moments of awareness – moments in which I can think rationally and logically. I have reacted to the situation instead of responding it.
I immediately called my sister and begged her pardon. Saying sorry to her was not easy(that’s story of another day).
Reflecting back, I have only three things to say.
First and perhaps most important thing, there is difference in knowing the path and walking the path. I have read hundreds of books of awareness and on top of that I mediate everyday for at least 30 minutes. But still at times, in certain situations I still crumble and lose the awareness of the moment and end up in misery.
Second, be genuine when you say SORRY to someone, that genuine feeling is reflected in your voice, eyes and body language. Don’t try to fake it, it doesn’t work. At the workplace, sometimes we have tosay sorry when we don’t mean it. I have tried it and it reflects in your behavior. So beauthentic when you do this.
Third thing, I realized is it takes immense courage and maturity to say a simple word; it’s not that easy when your mind (EGO to be precise) comes into picture. You have to overcome the illusions of mind which distract you from saying SORRY. The only good thing about the whole incident is I immediately reflected on the entire incident, shown maturity in saying sorry to her. As I am writing this, I am telling this to the whole world but I am not afraid or my EGO is not into the picture. If I made a mistake then I HAVE made it. That’s it, no sugarcoating. Still I do not know – How that moment of awareness flashed through my mind at that moment of sanity.
Often people ask me – how 11 years of practice of Vipassana meditation affected mylife and what are some of the benefits I got from this practice. Often I tell them incidents such as this. For me, Vipassana is not another theory but it’s a way of living.
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