Thursday, September 30, 2010

Life as it is now...

These days are tough. Especially Mondays and Thursdays are packed with heavy teaching schedules. I teach in 2 Universities--University at Buffalo & Uni-SIM. I begin teaching at 12 noon--first Statistics for 2 hours, and then Social Psychology for another 2 hours and on Monday evenings Organizational Psychology for 3 hours. On Thursday evenings it is Developmental Psychology for 3 hours.

Teaching includes hours spent on preparation and marking/grading . So though the other days of the week are non-teaching days they are taken up for preparation & marking.

So where does my practice (Vipassana meditation) figure in this kind of schedule? Fortunately I have had time for it. Morning practice is regular as usual, but on Mondays and Thursdays as I am out of the house from 11am to 10pm, my evening sitting meditation gets affected. So I usually sit for a few minutes in the staff lounge of SIM just focusing on my breath (natural respiration). Challenges keep coming up during the day, and I am able to meet them calmly, and with equanimity.

Recently, my phone fell in water and stopped working for sometime. I dried it and waited for a day; it started working the next day. When it stopped working, I was a trifle disappointed, because it was my lack of awareness that caused it to fall in water. Then I was reminded of Goenkaji's story he narrates in 10 day courses--about a wrist watch. It goes like this:

I own an expensive wrist watch and due to some negligence on my part, it falls and breaks. I feel very very sad and lament that it was such an expensive watch, I can't get it repaired here in this country as its spare parts are not available here...My wrist wrist watch... such a wonderful watch... how proud I was of this its sad...

However, let's say, that my friend had an expensive wrist watch and again due to some negligence on his/her part it falls and I feel the same way as I did when mine broke? No...on the contrary I am gleeful..and I offer advice, I sermonize to him---Oh you should have been careful---such a watch--you cannot fix it here in this country because you won't get spare parts for such a watch.. ..
I am not sad --in fact happy--such a foolish, careless man/woman--doesn't know how to take care of his expensive watch...he didn't deserve to have that watch!

No body is unhappy over the breaking of a watch..... It is only our attachment towards the watch (especially if it belongs to us) that makes us unhappy. Such deep attachments we have towards our belongings--our watch, our phones, our cars, our possessions......

They are only things after all...they come, they also go..and can be replaced too. The faster we understand this, the less problematic our lives will become. What we have is this present moment and in this moment life gives us so much that we can be grateful for. For me on that day when my phone stopped working, Raja was there to pick me up from SIM and transport me to Singapore Polytechnic where I had my evening class. I was fortunate that my life was made that much easier.. grateful for these moments, grateful for having him there in my life.

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