‘Wait’, I thought. I suddenly saw my mind wander across the universe. This was my moment of realising that instead of observing the road I was going wild inside. I instinctively admonished myself at losing five precious minutes in reckless imagination that had no bearing on my present. I had been fooled again by the mind. It had entered through the back door and my feeling inadequate at my mind’s terrible wandering was yet another trick of the mind.
The way out of this messy entanglement was simple. I said to myself, ‘come back dear mind and observe without judging.’
I was back on the road. I saw a construction site with over one hundred workers and shops and temples crowded with men and women dressed in colourful attire. I saw children returning from school and cricket matches on the narrow by-lanes of Mumbai. Occasionally I would judge these events or wander off into the past or to the future, but as I gently brought back my mind to the present, I had entered the ‘Awareness’ space.
The exercise lasted over fifteen minutes and this daily practise of ‘observation’ over the last three years has helped me handle disputes and heated meetings more effectively. I can check my judgements more often and my close friends have also appreciated my transformation over the years.
How does Observation help?
Once during my travels to different monasteries, I shared my room with a colleague who had the habit of forgetting his keys when he left the room. The room had a self-locking door. Often he’d be inconvenienced on his return as I wasn’t in the room. I casually mentioned this to a young monk who assisted us.
One early morning I was scheduled to travel far and would return only at night. My friend had already left the room and was at the temple doing his prayer practises. My young assistant suddenly realized that if my friend hadn’t taken his keys with him he’d be stranded outside for a long time. In a split second, amidst passionate hurrying, he ran to the temple, gave him his keys and joined me in my travel. There was a lot of planning and phone calls happening then; we got busy during the day, and returned at night.
To be continued…