Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Jottings: Slice of life - 32

Jottings: Slice of life - 32
I regularly meet Mr Khan in the Sauna. He is 75 years, slim with a healthy glow on his face. His routine , like mine is to swim for 30 minutes, sweat himself out in the Sauna for 15 and then possibly do some cardio exercises. Though, we exchange pleasantries, not much by way of conversation has happened before yesterday, when he called out to me and said
"You swim with poise ,unhurried technique and without any sign of distress.. I enjoy watching you swim. I thought I must tell you.."
Coincidentally, I have been wanting to compliment Khan on his own style. For a man of his age, he swims with consummate ease. I reciprocated his compliments and added:
"Yes sir, Thanks so much. My objective is not to push myself to the point of exhaustion, or develop a V shaped body, or to improve my muscle strength or health, or to look good. No, none of those things. I swim because I find it extremely relaxing. When I swim my Brain is utterly quiet. The only tactile sensations I have is the soothing touch of water as it laps the crevices of my body, and the soft sound of water as my strokes cleave through it. Other than that, there is this ineffable silence. Every now and then, a chance insight into what I have read or thought or contemplated would flash through, but besides that there is only this organism floating in water. Thanks, of course to the good technique I was taught as a child, I really don't have to think about how I swim. That's a great bonus... In fact sir, I am a teacher and when I teach, I have the same feeling of lightness and intensity as I have while swimming.."
I personally think all of us should at least discover one activity in our lives from which we could come out completely refreshed, and not tired, ridden with pain, anguish and mental agony. Daily work could help us be in that state, but for most of us, unfortunately, work is burden. Not enjoyable at all. Though we may argue that it is not so, but deep down, work is something people do for money alone and there is no playfulness about it. We are extremely serious to the point of hurting ourselves. Very rarely, would you find someone in whom work, self fulfillment and joy go together. That's indeed a blessing, if it happens. Even among my teaching community, to which I am passionately aligned, I see around me so many teachers going through the motions of the job without their heart in it. They are tired after a class, because there is no joy while doing it. I am not saying one cannot feel tired. But there is a different quality of tiredness which arises when one can push themselves to the very limits of their abilities with joy and abandon. Like 100 meters sprint runners, who will pant and puff after zipping past the finishing line, not because they are tired, but only because their entire being for those 10 odd seconds was completely immersed in the act of running. And when that act ended their energy needed to vent itself in pleasurable exhaustion . Thats what I call sheer involvement dissolving itself into joyful tiredness. All of us experience such moments, when we have stretched ourselves well enough lovingly in whatever we do. It may be eating, talking, exercising, having sex, reading ,working on an important project or anything that grips our entire being without any internal division. During such moments, the body-mind experiences a heightened quietness, a natural ease quite different from what we experience otherwise.
God bless...
Yours in mortality,
Bala

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