Joys of the journey

Watching my companions inside a train recently, it struck me that travellers can be placed in two categories – those whose thoughts are centred around their destination and those that look forward to the joys of the journey.

The former sit impatiently with a bored air or lose themselves in sleep. On reaching their destination, they alight with alacrity and are off once again seeking another destination. The latter, on the other hand, make friends, talk amiably and take in all the sights that come their way. When they alight, they may be tired, but their spirits are high. For them the journey holds out as much excitement as the destination does.

Many of us overlook the fact that the journey through life is quite as important as the destination. There are those who are so ambitious that nothing matters but the goals that they set themselves. They hardly realise that the press and pressure of attaining them leaves them no time or inclination to savour life as it happens. All they want is to achieve their aims. They throw themselves into the task, avoid having fun and neglect loved ones. As a result, they slowly and steadily isolate themselves and lead a demanding and lonely life. They ride roughshod over the needs and feelings of others, but are scarcely aware of it. They hope to be calm, relaxed and happy once they get things done, but this never happens because as soon as one goal is achieved, another takes its place. Happiness and contentment elude them right to the end.

The wise ones are those who realise that nothing is more important than inner peace and the simple but profound joys of life. They are aware, of course, that there will always be something that needs to be done, that projects have to be completed, deadlines met and problems sorted out. However, they also keep in mind that there is a time and place for everything, that health and happiness come from doing one’s best and maintaining a sense of proportion. It has been well said, ‘No man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow’s burden is added to the burden of the day that the weight becomes more than one can bear.’ The purpose of life is not to get everything done, but to enjoy each step and live a life of fulfillment and joy.

This little story sums it all up with unmistakable humour. A fisherman was lying in the shade of his boat on the seashore and gazing at the beautiful scene around him. A management consultant came by and said to him, ‘Why don’t you do something with your life instead of simply wasting it in idle occupation?’

The fisherman immediately sat up and asked him what he wanted him to do.‘Go and catch more fish,’ he advised. ‘For what?’ asked the fisherman.‘So that you can make more money.’

‘For what?’‘To buy a new boat and catch more fish.’‘And then?’‘Eventually after working so hard, you can sit back and relax,’ said the consultant.

‘But don’t you see, that’s exactly what I am doing now,’ exclaimed the fisherman with a big smile!

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