I live in a monastery in Mumbai, with over hundred monks, and we serve a community of over five thousand members. Twenty nine year old Rajeev is an active member of our congregation and he has a candid story to share:
I wondered why I was generally restless and agitated. My life was like that of any other man my age. Besides I was financially stable and my domestic life was not that bad. Then why, I wondered, was I irritable. My wife would complain that I wasn’t like that when I married her. She accused me of changing a lot in the last few years.
I got my answer one evening when we drove to a program in the western suburbs of Mumbai.
We were travelling in a tempo traveller with twenty monks from our monastery and I was coordinating the drive, class at the venue, dinner, and the drive back to the ashram. As the monks silently chanted on their beads or spoke softly amongst themselves on the way there, I felt a sense of peace being with them. I couldn’t help contrast this with the terrible traffic on the streets where drivers honked, swore and cut lanes dangerously to get to their destination fast.
I knew I had to ensure our host and a team of other organizers were ready with the necessary planning for the event. It had to be meticulous. I repeatedly called a friend from my mobile phone, only to explain that we’d take another forty five minutes. Then I called another friend, and asked him if the flowers and gifts were packed. Then another call, and finally we reached the destination.
More action and running around at the program. We left late at night. On our drive back, again I was on my gadget: calling or texting someone, watching videos and listening to music. In the midst of my gadget frenzy activities, I caught the eyes of one of the monks, who seemed to be enjoying at my expense. He smiled at me, relaxed on the seat and carefully observed what I was doing. I smiled back at him and he just said one word that blew me away: ‘RELAX’
At that very moment, I felt as if a lightning bolt had struck me.
The monk gently got up from his seat, came to me and said, “I’ve been observing you since early evening. I know you had to get many things done but honestly, what’s troubling you now? Why don’t you relax? The program is over and we are going back to the ashram.”
I sat frozen. My mind went blank. I knew he had hit the bull’s eye. In just five seconds, I discovered the answer to a problem that had been plaguing me for years.
I never relaxed all those years. I thought being busy was not only a sign of my sincerity, it was also cool. But now my paradigm changed. The rest of the journey I chanted with the monks and did a few simple breathing exercises.To be continued..