Hit the brakes!

When you stop competing with time, you bask in the promise of today, write Bharat & Shalan Savur

Say ‘No’ when something doesn’t sit right with you.

Surekha says she is always spraining her ankle. She doesn’t know why. How can she prevent it? she asks. Such accidents occur when the body cannot keep pace with the racing mind. It becomes all awkward, clumsy, unco-ordinated and… a muscle is pulled, a ligament twisted, a nerve pinched.

It’s living like the workaholic who was seen jumping up and down impatiently, frantically waving his arms at the horizon. When asked about his pre-dawn ‘exercise’, he replied, “I’m urging the sun to hurry up!”

In direct contrast, you’ve witnessed the result of the sun’s slow, steady, majestic ascension in the skies. Indeed, the sun’s pace is our natural pace — no rush to be anywhere, no anxiety to beat time.

When you follow the sun, you’re more consistently active rather than undergoing intense bursts of activity followed by crashes of exhaustion. Your body blossoms, mind matures, spirit flourishes.

Being completely present

I remember when we met the Dalai Lama… At the end of a lovely hour, his staff was urgently ushering us out, but the Dalai Lama serenely continued speaking in his normal measured tones as if he had all the time in the world for us. We stood enrapt. Outside the room, there was much hustle and bustle, but in the room, it was quiet and calm as if the very air was holding its breath. It was an unforgettable experience.

When the mind races, we miss out on things essential for our well-being — the experience of appreciation, satisfaction, contentment, of loving and being loved… So, please slow down, give yourself the time to love, to be peaceful, happy, to breathe naturally.

The Dalai Lama gave us a lifetime of love by being fully present with us. Please be fully present with yourself. Sip coffee contemplatively, pause every now and then and dwell on the beauty around you without thinking of your projects. When you stop competing with time, you bask in the promise of today.

To paraphrase Tagore’s poetic wisdom: restfulness belongs to activity as eyelids belong to the eyes. Often, the day begins and continues badly because once your mind awakens from rest, it instantly starts racing all over the place and scatters itself. No, no, no. The secret to a sweet life is to start the day with a central thought such as: “Thank you, Life, for one more beautiful day. Thank you.” This way, you focus your mind on a thought of gratitude — thank you; you align your mind with a positive thought — one more beautiful day.

Your being gets centred in this peaceful alignment. From this centred sense, you act calmly, not react frenziedly. That which reacts is the ego, which is off-centre. It wants to please, impress, live up to its self-image of how smart, quick, efficient and effective it is. Please understand, your ego is only the phantom-personality you project, not the person you are.

The egoic personality jumps up and down, shouting, “I’m the do-er! I’m a perfectionist!”, and twist goes the ankle. A person who acts from the centre works at a normal, comfortable pace resulting in less anger, more love, less anxiety, and more sweetness.

Here’s what to do

* Practise, practise, practise living at a peaceful pace. Take an entire day off occasionally. Float in non-doing, non-planning from a quiet, centred mind not pushed by pressures.

* Strengthen weak body spots regularly. Sit on a chair. Raise your feet slightly off the ground and rotate the ankles 10 times each clockwise and anti-clockwise. When the ankle strengthens, do armchair cycling. It raises the calming serotonin in the brain and the world rights itself. Make cycling your central activity — the hub around which all other activities revolve.

* Get organised. A to-do list lets you know you’re in control and constructs an inner poise, a sense of equilibrium.

* Say ‘No’ when something doesn’t sit right with you. A ‘No’ reverses energy-blocks and keeps your life beautifully ‘On’.

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Hit the brakes!

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