A while ago one of my friends, from college degree days made a post in Facebook. It was a photo of avalosu podi. (fried rice powder, a staple food). When she got it from her neighbor she thought about our degree hostel days and all seven of us and the way we used to eat it. Our gang mate Deepa was the source of our avalosu podi then . After every vacation Deepa would come back to the hostel with many big jars of avalosu podi lovingly prepared by her mother . Every weekend one of us would make small avulose balls by mixing it with banana and we all used to sit together and eat it . So it was not at all surprising to see a comment by Deepa saying it was the best time of our lives and then she added saying “ didn’t know it then”
When the question “the best time of my life ‘popped up, my memory too went back to this college time. I should admit that it was a fabulous time with no responsibility as such but tons of great friendship, pure enjoyment and mischievousness.. A time when nothing else mattered much. But I didn’t realize it then ..
So it seems most often we associate the best time of our lives as something that happened in the past. I asked myself. Why is the best time to me associated with something in the past ? Why it is not now ? It must be that we are constantly either living in the past or in future in our mind and that we are not grasping or enjoying what is happening right now in the present moment . Our minds are in constant motion thinking of things that have occurred either in the past or things that may occur in the future. Therefore we miss seeing what life is offering to us right now in the present moment.
Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment and appreciating and being grateful for what we have. By appreciating the present moment we are able to accept what we have without fighting against it and change what we can, without resisting it. In the bible Jesus said to the people who came to listen to him to be like children then heaven will be theirs .To me the interpretation is all about being in the present moment. If we look at a child we can see the mindfulness the child displays. When he plays he is in that moment, neither in the past nor in the future and he immerses fully in what he does.
In 2007, Washington Post conducted a social experiment. In Washington D.C., at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning , a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about forty-five minutes. During that time, over 1000 people went through the station, most on their way to work. After about three minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule. At 10 minutes a 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.. For 45 minutes the musician played continuously. Of 1097 people who walked by, only seven stopped and listened for a short while. Twenty more gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.17 He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theatre in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music. People who were passing him was in hurry, most were not being aware about what was happening then and there around them. They were preoccupied and didn’t even hear the music by the one of the best musicians in the world.
The easiest way to reorient ourselves to the present moment is by taking a few deep breaths. When you find yourself thinking about dinner while playing with your child take a few breath look at your child and focus on your surroundings and reorient yourself and enjoy the present precious moment you have. When we do a task, instead of labouring through and constantly thinking about finishing the task, we can try to become aware of every step and fully immerse in the progress.
Let us be mindful and aware about the present moment and circumstances that we are in today. Let us be aware of the choices that we make each day. Let us observe and accept what we have and change what we can. By not seeing the precious present and what it offers today ,I think in years to come I may say that 2016 was the best time in my life, but didn’t even know it.
Thinking about a dear friend of mine who says the best time of his life is every day, when it brings him lots of smiles and laughter, from simple daily things. Like him, let me say today is the best time in my life..