Around a month back I did an experiment, and stumbled upon the secret of living.
It was the second Sunday of the month. The day was filled with boredom and laziness. It was the kind of the day when every hour of non-activity was succeeded by yet another. The lethargy had gripped my existence in a way that I barely got out of the bed. Only my body shifting from one position to another. A day of extreme inertia.
Even in such extreme state of inactivity, in this state of indolence, my thoughts constantly drifted from one to another. They meandered from thinking about the girl I met in a wedding last week. To the approaching deadline for a presentation due next week. And then about how I failed to come up with something smart to say to a colleague when he pulled my leg.
It was like my thought was controlled by a wild bird. A bird which constantly perched from one island of thoughts to another. Without stopping, without any control.
Suddenly, something snapped in me, and I sat up straight on the bed. There were a pen and paper lying on the table within my hand’s reach. Placing them in front of me, and with my eyes closed, I started observing my thoughts. For every thought about past, I made an cross -‘x’ sign on the paper. And for every thought concerning future, I put a dot – ‘.’. The sign of dash ‘-‘ I marked for the thoughts concerning present.
After around ten minutes, I glanced at the paper. It was filled with many crosses and dots whereas the dashes were conspicuous by their absence. The conclusion was straightforward. I was wasting my present, regretting or rebuilding my past, and worrying or imagining about the future. But the biggest irony is that it is what you do in the present moment, that defines both your past and the present. And in this thought, lies the secret of living
The realization dawned on me like the first light of the morning sun.
I realized how much countless of such precious moments I have been wasting, have been burning up in the thin air of nothingness. By ruminating about the past and the future, I was doing nothing but pushing hard against a wall, achieving nothing but a gradual diminishing of the most precious resource in the world – time.
There is a quote by the famous American Cartoonist, Bil Keane
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
We are, nothing, but a grain in a vast vast desert that has neither a beginning nor an end.Once you study the universe, you realize how small everything is. Even the biggest of our imagination is embarrassing when compared to the full scale of this universe. Everything dwarfs – the earth, the sun, and the galaxies -when we go farther into the cosmic scale.
Time and Space -the two dimensions of realities
that belittle everything we have seen and everything there is.
Still, such mortal human heart and mind are, that we cling on to the smallest of things of the past and the pettiest of concerns of the future. Our minds replaying the insignificant and the trivialities as if they mean something, that they could put a dent in this universe.
Then what is the answer? What do we do that breaks us from this anarchy of past and future? What is the secret of living.
I am too young and immature to answer such deep questions about the secret of living.
But I have felt that there are moments when we really love what we are doing, or are with someone whom we really love -it is then we live life, we live in the present, even for that single moment, but we really live, when the outside world zones out, all its chatter becomes a distant dream, when our mind and body transcends the physical three dimensions and move to a higher plane, where there is the only realization -without the confining chains of words and the mockery of rational explanations -where we are so lost in that something or that someone that our whole attention -conscious and subconscious -becomes one, like a singularity, and then time slows down, every moment lingers for eternity and we live a lifetime in each second spent in that moment.