Yesterday I had an experience – rare one in so many years of haven flown all over the place. I had a flight back home after my workshop with one stopover. During the first leg of the flight, mid air, we suddenly experienced a terrible shake-up. While the captain did warn us before we took-off about possible turbulence en-route, this was fairly more than a normal turbulence. During those 20 seconds or so, I saw firsthand what happens to people in case of an emergency. For the first time I kept calm. Instead of closing my eyes, i kept it open and looked outside. It made me feel i was being tossed around by someone just for fun! Everyone was shaken. Thanks to the captain (and to God, prayers, etc too) we were again flying smoothly –but most people kept looking at each other in disbelief, disbelief about seeing each other not dead or was it that we were still alive. It was my first experience of scenes that i see only in a movie or read in a book. Scary it is!
The truth is somewhere deep down at those moments and for a few moments after that, we think about the value of life. We think we must drop everything and do what matter the most. But in a few hours we are back to what we normally do in life. We forget that ‘Life is a like a dew drop on a lotus leaf’ and that we experienced it a little earlier. We forget the knocks and shocks of life when they are delivered in small quantities. We don’t take the effort to understand how to live life. We don’t do what we are born to do. Why? Because we misunderstand life! Somewhere deep inside us we fail to understand that what happens to others (death) can happen to us as well. Such little reminders that tell us about the fragility of life is ignored with the dangerous assumption that it won’t happen to me and if it does, i can handle it much better. Both of us fail on occurrence.
I was back home and spent the evening at work. It was only before going to bed; I casually mentioned this to my wife. We had a lovely little chat about the importance of that lesson and discussed how we can narrow our distractions further. These knocks and shocks are only to remind us to get back on track, not to demotivate and make us give up on life. This misunderstanding is what has made us miss the beauty of the subject of philosophy, in particular ‘Vedanta’.
If you are conscious, aware and alert there are many situations in life that give us this message – but we miss it because of our ignorance and distractions. If you learn to stay alive and alert every moment to the happening at that instant, life will be more happening!
This is the central message of Vedanta – learn how to use the time given to you to evolve and reach your kingly state from which you have fallen.
I am writing this blog today because I was given a chance to stay alive – and I hope to do things that fit more closely to what i can contribute. What will I do with everything I accumulate, if 20 seconds mid-air can make everything redundant? What will I do postponing all close-to-heart activities in life, if 20 seconds mid-air can end the journey? Then there must be something more to life. Don’t wait for harsher knocks and shocks as reminders to start living life.