Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
Normally whenever one is asked as to what is truly desired or prayed for, usually, we declare that we are looking for happiness and peace.
The problem is both happiness and peace are non tangible as well as evasive chaps.
What is happiness and peace of mind in reality? Very often when I look back to my battered past, I have realised that I have been in a state of happiness and peace but most of the times never even appreciated that state till something or the other put me in a state of unhappiness and unrest.
Does one have to be in a state of conflict and ill ease to value contentment and peace of mind? Quite often there is nothing truly happening and one goes about one’s day in a capsule of normalcy and unless fate is truly roggering one, normalcy, usually is a safe womb of nothingness. I equate those times of normalcy as peace and happiness, which can eventually only come about when you nurture that state of quietude and calmness.
I nowadays pray for an uneventful day. It is a safe zone to be. Uneventful means at least external conflict and unease are kept at bay. If all is quiet on the external front, internally there is no true reason to be at unease and that is a good enough state of serenity to be in.
Writing this garbled outpouring, I sit on the balcony, watching the sky. It’s rained somewhere. Patches of the sky are pregnant with grey clouds which seem to be moving about with no particular hurry or mission. The sun trying its best to peek through, so the sky behind the clouds is beautiful gold. There is breeze in the air. The house resounds with the soft caress of chants. There are two crows, who seem to have a lot to talk about. One of them obviously has difficulty in hearing thus the loud conversation. I can see kids playing in the garden and now can partially see the sun. It is truly beautiful. I am in a state of stillness. I doubt if anything can surpass this state of calm nothingness. So, because I took the time to see the sky, the crazy crows, the peeking sun, feel the wind on my face, see the movement of the clouds, I have for maybe a few minutes found my state of tranquility and thus have found my peace. I am certain this state of serenity will not for last long, but that is fine, as may be the greater the state of unease, the stronger the possibility of one enjoying tender moments just to exhale in harmony with oneself and everything around and within me.
Who knows may be when I am about to leave the body, it is these moments which might flash in front of me, making the entire pass over serene.
Happiness is a state of mind. What can give us happiness now may be a cause of discomfort later on. And vice versa. Peace is a state of being. You can insist on being in a state of calm stillness and make it a priority and who knows, through most of the day, a certain sense of calmness may pervade within, even though nothing extraordinary might be taking place…..or in our words….there is no logical reason to be happy and have peace of mind.
I have realised, though I fail embarrassedly too often in the day, that when one makes peace of mind and a state of calmness, one’s priority, one usually finds ways of holding on to serenity for a longer period of time. How much do you and I want peace? How desperately do we want a state of calmness? If there is an urgency for peace and calmness, we will enter the arena of conflict or reaction, with less foot in the mouth frequency.
The first thing that will happen is that our reactions will reduce, as nothing creates disharmony within and outside, as the propensity to react; silently, voraciously or violently.
The crows seem to be having a board meeting. Now two more charlies have come and the chaps are stone deaf. Anyway, where was I? Yes, when we stop reacting, we start being more open and compassionate. I feel most of our issues are due to our capability of reacting like viral fever.
As I have mentioned earlier, usually, a bout requires two boxers in the ring. If you walk away, sit back, and calmly talk, at least from your side, the ability to hold on to one’s centeredness is greater. If peace of mind is one’s priority and that peace of mind brings about a state of relative happiness, then the more distance we keep between reactions, the greater the chance of one being able to just be in a state of stillness.
And like a string of pearls, each pearl being waves of moments of harmony, one can start each day making a necklace of calmness to offer to one’s God, Goddess, Guru and most importantly to oneself. Please, I understand clearly that there will be moments and days when one will feel crushed by the weight of circumstances, adversity, desperation and depression, but I can only hope and pray that those days are spaced far in between each other, but even here, if one perseveres for calmness and peace, the crushing burden will be marginally easier to bear.
The more often one can be in a state of calmness, the more ingrained the level of serenity and eventually one is embraced with a sense of silent happiness.
Seeking any gratification for the soul and spirit from anything external is like expecting to convincingly explain to a person who since birth has not been able to see, the colours of the rainbow.
External stuff will give gratification to only that part of us which is made up of the five elements. If one is fixated on the external, then yes, external gratification, for a while, appeases one’s senses connected to the flesh. Nothing wrong with that, I am all for external gratification, but if one is truly talking of happiness and peace, then one will learn that one needs more to be in the state of harmony within, than what the credit card can bring home.
Now the crows have flown off to where ever crows go at night. It is twilight now. A plane passes through clouds that now seem darker. Two healthy clouds are in the process of embracing each other making the patch of blue sky slowly disappear. That moment of sheer bliss has passed. But the memory of it shall linger for a long time. I am sure for whatever little time it cocooned me in her warm embrace, must have for sure done something to enhance my overall wellbeing, body, heart, mind and soul.
Life will move on. Our loved ones will leave us or we leave them. There will be strife. Unrest. Agitation. Tears. Heart break. Ill health. The graph of life will have peaks and lows. The important thing is we remain still within. Grasp at small moments that calm us. God, Goddess, Guru, all calmness, are within. It is how passionately one wants to hold on to Them.
Lord Krishna has said that Those who remember Me at the time of death will come to me. Do not doubt this. Whatever occupies the mind at the time of death determines the destination of the dying; always they will tend toward that state of being.
The fact is that we are in a state of physical death each moment. Our body is preparing for the great pass over each moment. We are moving towards the final good bye where our spirit shall be yanked out of our bodies and this journey has begun from the very moment we were born and occupied a body.
Did Lord Krishna only refer to the final crossover? Or did He mean, to think of Him, God, Goddess, Guru, every moment, as the body is dying and cells are dying and breath is dying each moment. Even if He did mean the final separation of the spirit from the body, to be in the moment of pure oneness with Krishna or one’s God, Goddess, Guru, one needs to bring forth the consciousness of living in a state of stillness and peace or calm acceptance and surrender within, to be able to know how to hold on to Him and Her, when the final good riddance comes forth.
We have got a lot of stuff wrong. At least I have. But I do pray that you and me, begin to nurture short embraces of stillness so that when the time truly comes for us to get wings, we are already living in brief states of Oneness or calmness or harmony or whatever name one wants to give the state of being.
Be blessed always.
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha