Monday, April 10, 2006

Barefoot In the Park

Chewing on it again..

"It is not the greatness of a man's means that makes him independent so much as the smallness of his wants”

William Cobbett

I experienced this, in my first tryst with truth while living at the Yoga institute, learning Yoga sutras and asanas. Apparently it was a mandatory stay prior to the year long teachers training course, prompted by the 'love for anything Indian' phase. Insiduously, however, I was ' trained' in more ways than just in Yoga. I had no intention of becoming a teacher, especially after the course, since I felt it unethical in teaching solely the physical aspect of yoga, when it was meant to be ideally viewed as a body-mind relationship. Instead I taught at the Institute , for a while, where the purity of tradition was maintainable. The other reason I taught there, I confess, was selfish. I had to be in shape to be credible, so it compelled me to regularise my practise.

Once there, I was surprised to discover how little it is that we actually need. Life was suddenly, uncomplicated, simple and peaceful.

The routine we were made to follow was perhaps a way of life for our ancestors.No big deal there. They would have been possibly amused at the sillinesss of us having discarded that pattern, so assiduously worked on by them, in the first place.. Arising before dawn, meditating, positively energising oneself and ones surroundings, asanas, pranayams, frugal , healthy , nutritious, vegetarian diet, spiritual ponderings, efforts to contain ones thoughts in complete awareness,bonding with fellow 'yogis'.

It was unimaginable that we, as in product of our times,a fairly pampered lot, fairly accustomed to our taken-for-granted- luxuries, would take to this simplified version of hermit-like life with amazing adaptability. Makes one wonder at the play of genes, and their responsibility towards this ready acceptance. We might have been a rather sane species , I suspect, in our previous 'yogi' avatars. Or am I speaking only for myself here? :)

At the end of our stay, none of us wanted to leave. We had felt cocooned and safe. Our body had been nourished, de-toxified and refreshed. The soul felt rejuvenated and cleansed of the burden of seemingly impervious impurities. We were as good as new.

Having to return to the world which now seemed strange, wicked,and bereft of innocence and its appreciation, made us misfits who had been condemned to hell after having had a taste of heaven. After teary farewells, much hugging, promises of undying friendships, keep-in-touch pleadings, we were grudgingly transported back to our homes by clueless family members,who having just witnessed an overly dramatic, emotional scene, were not quite able to fathom what the hullabaloo was all about, especially since at the commencement, a couple of weeks ago, we seemed a motley group of mature adults. This transformation was understandably, unimaginable.

The question that befuddled however was 'How does one replicate the peace of that life 'inside' whilst in the world outside?"

Difficult but not impossible. After years of R&D, yours truly is gifting you the kernel of 'her experimments with truth', tried and tested, guaranteed.

What is needed is unwavering attention to the goal and a regular self analysis. Incorporation of the basic tenets of a yogic life, as much as possible, particularly in the areas of thought processes, diet patterns and exercises. Willful avoidance of falling into the trap of the 'dil maange more' mentality, so cleverly advocated by our ad gurus but so detrimental to our 'dil'.

Apart from that , blueprint of a methodical work plan. In an effort to demolishing the wisecrack " it is so simple to be happy, but so difficult to be simple", let us show our mettle by proving it simply wrong. Begin at the beginning and sort out seriously, a 'things that make me happy' list. This is as good a start as any.. If you happen to be the 'romantic' kind, to whom the chirping of a bird, sound of the brook, silence of the mountains, echoes in the hills, lapping of waves on a sunlit evening, is music, then things are off to great start. Read further.( Give up, if the list includes, an island in Greece, art ,as only 'Van Gogh' or such like)

Recommended additions to the list,open to alteration from subjective perspective, chai and pakoras on a wet ,wet day, R.D. Burmans melodies, Mirza Ghalib's Ghazals, the first bud on your precious black rose plant, a "mama, you are my best friend " card from your kiddo, a warm, cheery,toothless smile from an old beggar woman who you treated to Paani Puri, the koel on your windowsill, the earthy incomparable aroma of the first rain, watching your fave film cuddled in the darkness of your room,undisturbed and free to sob heartily, being blown over by random acts of kindness from complete strangers, feeding oneself guiltlessly to huge helpings of Black Forest, while feeding the music system with Kitaro and Julio, marvelling spellbound at the myriad colors of sea-life, feeling the cool of a baby's cheek, sharing notes such as these with your fellow beings. If any or such as these ,are capable of soaring your spirits to dizzy heights of sublime bliss...you got it made. There's nothing to worry.

Life will turn out to be as joyful as a walk, barefoot in the park.

Additions from my erstwhile commenters are most welcome..Ah ha, another one on my list.. I love reading your comments:)


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12 comments:

Sanjay said...

That was a really nice piece.

Ok so let me make your day by saying that I must come to your site everyday, even if I do not comment. It is a must on my list.

As for the other items on it, apart from making provisions for a Harley davidson, I cannot disclose the exciting bits.

Chameleon's Karma said...

The things we used to appreciate are the things we took for granted. The glass of happiness and satisfaction gets bigger and more difficult to fill up. The routine of wanting more is a daily inevitability. In todays world wanting more is all we know. Social icons and television always promise happiness and satisfaction as long as we keep doing “this” or keep buying “that”. The tolerance level for happiness shoots way up, and what ever satisfies us now, must be more complex then what did satisfy us a week ago. If only we could learn to appreciate the things we take for granted, and the things that are not so complex, we could then be ultimately satisfied and remain happy forever.

Kaveetaa Kaul said...

Hey Sanjay,

Thanks a ton..You have made my day.
Y'know my sitemeter shows close to 3000hits in a couple of months. Only wish friends would have left footprints of their visit here through their writings as well:)..No harm done. Atleast there are pals like you n others ..

Harley Davidson..Not bad..then what? Sorry to break your bubble, but it is momentary ..till John Abraham goes for his nxt bike..I'm not into these..only guessing.


Ck,

On the dot..its a slippery slope..linking happiness with material acoutrements..bound to betray you. The japanes with their sony, nikons have been playing around with exactly this weakness, .buy till the next model offers a digital of another 20 variations..Elusive..ever elusive

Or else how does one explain the broken heart of Prince Rainier of Monaco, or Princess Diana, or Aristotle Onassis.. he died a broken man.

Advisable to lay our bets on loyals like the ones I cited above. They are always there on call and will never cease to provide you with inner peace..condition being ofcourse that one begins to re-affirm their intrinsic worth .

So no taking for granted all the free goodies..And like you put it tolerance level'to be maintained at par.

Chameleon's Karma said...

And hey, I've started coming here as well - atleast twice a day and leave my 2 anna bit.

One day, I'm sure, I'll get to sup the Rogan Josh!!!

Kaveetaa Kaul said...

Ck,

Hmmm..'iraada gar musmmim ho toh chhoo le chaand taaron ko'..

Keep at it..Success was nought for the faint hearted:)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Where? when? how?

I want the roghan josh too n I have been coming here regularly. I promise all the anonymous's are Moi.

and for the walk in the park..made me pause and think.. Life can be made simple. people dont let you do it.But one does need to be reminded to re-assess..and i will be doing that now..the list is a good idea.

monika said...

the best way to keep happy?

sex..simple, easy and available

doublebarrel said...

Hi,

I have read both you articles in the featured posts of sulekha. I have even left a comment there.

Good work and keep writing, especially pieces like this one.Its a calming influence. thanks.

I also loved Monikas comment. Pity no forwarding link.

Hey mon, agree with you totally.

Y dont you leave your link n I leave mine.

Kaveetaa Kaul said...

Anonymous,

Sorry.. moi no believe toi:)

Thanks for pausing to think though

Monika,

Just curious ..is it your handle or nee..I mean was this name inspired from RD burmans ..Piya tu? If yes.. Interesting.
as for your comment.. thats intereting too. Though it makes me believe you are in your 20's, n therefore understandable.

Doublebarrel,

Yes I remember reading on Sulekha..Thanks.

For writing here too.

also please to remember this is not a dating site..LOL

I am sure Monika thinks the same way..But I guess you were merely being flippant..So no harm done.

temporal said...

hmmmmm

mirza ghalib cds?---that have to be jagjit's

living up north will add 'fireplace' and some 'red' to make the evening a bliss

Kaveetaa Kaul said...

add to that some mali seekh kababs and bhuna mutton chops..

delectable

Kaveetaa Kaul said...

Oops make that malai seekh.

yes who but Jagjit!!