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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5 thoughts on “Moments of Satori – experiencing one’s true nature”
Thanks for sharing my post. I would be very happy to clarify doubts or participate in discussions about my experience.
Interesting story, Sanket! I have had many similar experiences in my career as a teacher, though it was the students and not a motorbike that tested my practice – which at that point was Zen. At one point I had a little sign on my podium to remind me to take three breaths before responding to any situation that aroused anger or irritation. Didn’t always work, but it kept me thinking about it! When it did work, I could actually feel the sensations connected with anger begin in my belly and rise up through my body, ending with pounding in my head and a blast of reactive thoughts! If I was good, I could wait til that third exhale and then say something that didn’t make the situation worse. That didn’t happen too often. I often wonder had I discovered Vipassana earlier when I was teaching, would that have made me better able to be aware and control my responses…
Here’s an interesting parallel experience from another blogger:
Recently I was going to office on my Scooter, when suddenly it became silent. I found that the petrol tank was empty and the nearest pump was 2 KMs away. I was getting late for office. But without losing my temper or calmness, i just pulled the scooter to the pump. It was very hot afternoon and it took me 20-25 minutes to pull the scooter to the pump. On reaching there, I was told that petrol is out of stock. I still did not lose heart. I asked him how far the next pump is? Just then the petrol tanker reached there. I filled the petrol and went to office calmly. I was happy that i did not lose my calmness even a bit. I have been practicing Vipassane for last 10 years.
What a good story. I’ve been thinking lately that however much we practice, it’s sometimes difficult to overcome that automatic ‘fight/flight’ response that our ancestors developed over so many years. It was essential to them but not always good for us. It’s great that Vipassana helps.