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  Opinion   Oped  16 Jul 2018  Mystic Mantra: Chasing an illusory bliss

Mystic Mantra: Chasing an illusory bliss

Moin Qazi is a well-known banker, author and Islamic researcher. He can be reached at moinqazi123@gmail.com
Published : Jul 16, 2018, 12:35 am IST
Updated : Jul 16, 2018, 12:35 am IST

Hold fast to life, but not so fast that you cannot let go; we must accept our losses and learn how to let go.

When we’re speeding along, we violate our own natural rhythms in a way that prevents us from listening to the real throbs of life.
 When we’re speeding along, we violate our own natural rhythms in a way that prevents us from listening to the real throbs of life.

I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery — air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy’.
— Sylvia Plath

One morning, I had to have pathological tests as well as an X-ray as I was down with a bout of searing fever and crucifying pain. The required machines were located in a building at the opposite end of the hospital, so I had to be wheeled across the courtyard on a wheelchair.

As we emerged from our unit, the sunlight hit me. That’s all that was to my experience. And yet how beautiful and wondrous it was — how warming, how sparkling, and how stunning and brilliant! When the first shafts of sunlight glinted, life cheered me with a loving radiance, rippling the gentler nodes in the womb of my heart.

I looked to see whether anyone else realised the sun’s golden glow, but everyone seemed to be shuffling in great hurry, most with their eyes fixed on the ground, confused and dazed, their hands clutching medical files. Then I remembered how often I, too, had been indifferent to the grandeur of each day, too preoccupied with petty and sometimes even mean concerns to respond to the splendour of it all. The insight gleaned is really as commonplace as was the experience itself: life’s gifts are precious and abundant — but we are too heedless of them.

When we’re speeding along, we violate our own natural rhythms in a way that prevents us from listening to the real throbs of life. In the bustle of our everyday life we forget that at every turn, there is always a piece of wonder and a sliver of beauty to be savoured. To put it in the words of Jane Austen: “To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment.”

Here then is the capstone of life that we lose sense of when life makes paradoxical demands on us: never be too busy to starve yourself of the wonder and the awe of life. Be reverent before each drawing day. Embrace each wonderful hour. Seize each golden minute. Even ordinary things have the power to touch a heart. Simple things like a man ploughing his field, a woman pulling water from a well, a village girl trekking with a bundle of firewood stacked on her head, a grandma feeding a baby cow, a fisherman heading out to the sea — all are images which tell us that the world is a marvellous piece of beauty, and every slice of it offers a salve to the eye. We can use these silent moments to soften our pain, assuage our hurt and salve our grief. It is only in such gentler moments that we can feel the melody of our lives and perceive the astral beauty of the divine.

When those lovely moments are gone we remember in hindsight a beauty that faded a love that waned, a music that receded. But we remember with far greater pain that we did not see that beauty when it bloomed, that we failed to respond to love with love when it was offered, that we failed to enjoy the music when it resonated.

Hold fast to life, but not so fast that you cannot let go; we must accept our losses and learn how to let go.

Tags: life, mystic mantra