Our actions bring us face to face with situations both pleasant and not so pleasant. Our life is kind of an endless cycle of: facing a choice then choosing and acting on it and then facing action’s results which again throws some choice before us. At least at gross physical level it continues like this until we die. Remaining stationary probably won’t bring choices.
After a recent and quite anxiety filled experience of missing a flight my mind would not stop examining the emotions I went through during that experience. Today when those stupidly anxious moments are over and I’m comfortably sitting in my study, I thought it will be interesting to rewind the film and try examining various dimensions.
Whenever I face a somewhat difficult situation following three paths are possible to go through the experience:
- I may not have anticipated the situation and when it arises I become anxious. In this case going through the situation will very likely be stressful.
- I anticipated the situation and am mentally and logistically prepared to navigate through it. It is likely to be less stressful, at least emotionally.
- I just live in the moment, concerning myself with taking right (right and wrong are again all relative terms) actions and remain detached from the outcomes that they may produce. I have not been able to follow this path all the time.
Most of the time we go through path #1. After going through this path sufficient number times some of us learn and move to either of the paths 2 and 3. Some of us get stuck in #2 for a long time. Those who are blessed move, by His Grace, to the third path. I generally read and hear the Mystics say that eventually all of us move to third path.
It has been raining intermittently since past few days here. The track marks left by trucks and tractors on the softer ground near few construction sites here are filled with rain water. While walking back from the mess after lunch today I noticed a construction worker washing his hands and filling some plastic container with the rain water that was collected in one of the track marks. My hygiene-conscious mind pops the thoughts like ‘why is he risking his health by using that dirty water…’. The analysis had started — “Perhaps he is not aware of the health risks posed by such dirty water. Otherwise he would not be using that water.”
I too had done something similar long long time ago. I used to play and even wash myself with rain water from the village pond when as a 7 year old I lived in a village in Punjab. I wasn’t aware of the real “risks” then 🙂 May be, I also didn’t care back then.
If I try to relate this behavior to numerous other actions and thoughts that most of us do and think, we are not always sure of the real implications of our thoughts and actions. Particularly, if someone does something wrong to someone, it is highly likely that the individual doesn’t know what he/she is really doing. Knowing at times can be painful — it can slow you down. At times you just want to be in a state when you do not have to act or think anything — just be still be detached.
Another related question that arises is: what is knowing and being aware? At the worldly level, aren’t all these things outcome of our conditioned mind? I often find myself saying (or rather judging) “I know such and such thing is good/bad“. How did I know what was good or bad? Aren’t such concepts defined by the conditioned environment I have lived in?
It is heartening and immensely reassuring when Someone tells us that at the thread-bare level everything here is a thought and a concept. ਸਬ ਕੁਛ ਬਸ ਇੱਕ ਖ਼ਿਆਲ ਜੇਹਾ ਹੀ ਹੈ … ਉਸ ਤੋਂ ਵੱਧ ਕੁਝ ਨਹੀਂ. I sometime wish there were more people around me who could really understand all this. Or may be I’m a bit eccentric.