Sunday, February 8, 2015

Being calm in a crisis

I happened to speak to a friend today who is a regular meditator. She greeted me warmly, her voice and tone not betraying even the slightest trace of unease. I asked her if it was a good time to speak to her and she answered that she was on her way to the hospital to visit her husband who had a heart attack the previous evening. I wished her well and said the reason I called her for could wait and I could understand her current state of mind very well and hung up.

This is not the first time I have encountered a person so totally normal and calm even at a time of grave crisis. Another meditator friend in Australia was once dealing with a person who was mentally disturbed on the phone and when she hung up and I asked her something inconsequential, she answered with total calm which did not give a slightest hint that she was dealing with a crisis (the mentally disturbed person was a student on a course and the course manager called on the intercom for him to talk to my friend).

I thought of it then and those thoughts returned to me today---was it important to be peaceful and calm at all times even when one was facing a crisis? Many would say yes, we all want to be calm & peaceful but I was thinking of the merits of actually sounding alarmed when one was infact alarmed! It helps your co-workers to know that there is something serious you are dealing with and perhaps you can be spared of some inconsequential chatter. Maybe it would signal for help if someone can provide help.

But yet, my friends are serious, long term meditators. They are always very calm and peaceful--or atleast I have never seen them lose their cool in any situation. Does it become a habit, a part of one's life? Is it that they really don't mind people chattering away about unimportant stuff when they were dealing with something really serious? Do they really completely live in the present moment, that every moment is a  new situation unencumbered by past judgments and evaluations. Incredible!

Personally it made me aware how sensitive and attuned we should be to the person we are speaking to. If I hadn't asked my friend this morning if it was a good time to speak to her, she would not have told me the situation she was in. If I hadn't asked my Australian friend what the phone call was about (soon after my unimportant question) and if I could do something to help, she wouldn't have told me anything. To me this was an important lesson. To listen deeply when someone is speaking to you. To give them your undivided attention and connect with their inner world. Because a person who is calm may actually be dealing with a crisis and may need your help---sometimes just a listening presence.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My hands

My fingers are swollen
My wrists are swollen
And so are my hands
I find it difficult to hold a plate in my hand

Opening bottles are job that
I have to ask for help
And sometimes even for getting dressed.

Are these hands really mine?
Are these the ones that cooked and cleaned,
washed and ironed clothes without a stop?
Are these the ones that reared two children,
and held their hands when they needed support?

Are these the ones that marked papers,
and wrote on the white board?
Are these the ones that drew pictures, painted, quilled
and made flowers of pista shells?

For 50 long years they worked
and now need a break, rest and some care

As long as the person has grit and determination,
this is only a pause, a time for reflection,
a time to be grateful,
for all one has received in abundance