Friday, February 03, 2017

Meditate on this!

A high school friend offered to drop me at home from another's friend's home where a dozen of us (or more?) classmates had gathered to eat and chat.  Even as he smoothly negotiated the chaotic traffic, he was at ease talking with me..

I am always amazed by people who can successfully do more than one thing at the same time.  The other day, I was talking with students while trying to get the overhead digital projector to turn on, and I ended up shutting down the entire system!  "I cannot multi-task" I admitted to them; some were hysterically laughing at my clumsiness! ;)

"Tell me, Sriram, you don't have any responsibility, right?  You don't have to make decisions that affect people's lives," my friend commented.

That is true.  But, it is also irrelevant and immaterial, as Perry Mason often declared in the courtroom.  Nobody forces us to be in positions of authority where decisions have serious consequences.  As Harry Truman said, if you can't stand the heat then get out of the kitchen.  Right?

But, yes, in my role as a commentator and critic, I don't make decisions and, instead, am always reacting to decisions made by somebody else.  We both have our roles to play.  The world needs ditch-diggers too!

Some roles are more stressful than others, no doubt.  Like being the Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.)  Remember the Ebola days and months?  The Zika scare?  Every decision the CDC director makes, or does not make, will be analyzed by the informed and the idiots alike.  How does he--Tom Frieden--handle it?
I have not said this publicly before. But yes, for 40 years I have been meditating twice a day. Twenty minutes, twice a day.
With all the gadgets rapidly spewing something or the other, people seem to be more and more manic in their behavior.  On top of that, the stress from having a president who is ready to take the country to war via a tweet at three in the morning--East Coast time, which means here on the Pacific Coast we are just about getting ready to catch some zzzzzzzz's.  It is, therefore, no surprise that there are meditation tips everywhere I go.  I like this series because it is all about the stuff that daily life is.  And, hence, how one could be mindful even in those daily tasks.  Like when making coffee:
“Approach making your coffee the same way you approach meditating. Be completely here and now in the present moment, centering your attention exclusively on what you are doing and feeling. Being mindful of how you make your coffee shows you how to be mindful in every part of your life.”
As the friend will vouch for it, that is exactly how I am with the coffee that I make and drink.  It is a ritual that demands my complete attention.  The "here and now" is all I am with the coffee.  I cannot even recall the last time I made a coffee to go.  Go where?

It is a meditative experience brewing and consuming the magical elixir.
Smell the aroma from the coffee grounds as you put them into the coffee filter. Breathe in their deep, rich, intense fragrance.
As you pour the water into your coffee maker, notice the clearness of the water, hear the gurgling sound. Listen to the first drops of water as they sizzle into the carafe; notice the color of the coffee.
Watch the steam that rises, swirling in the carafe; be mindful of the ethereal nature of your inner self.
Smell the first delicious whiff of your coffee as it begins to brew.
Listen to the sounds the coffee maker makes as it brews your coffee.
When the coffee is done brewing, let it sit for a moment or two to attain its full flavor.
Let yourself sit for a moment or two, to obtain the full flavor of meditating.
Yes!  Especially when all I have to do after that is to critique somebody else's decisions! ;)



Ramesh said...

Agree with everything you say about the coffee, except that I would like to add "The Hindu" to the mix !!

Oh yes, your decisions affect others much more than most people do. Unless you are a very senior person in any organisation, commercial or otherwise, what you do does not really affect others very much. Most of us in the corporate or government world are just mere grunt workers.

On the other hand, teachers affect others profoundly - for good or bad. So you have a far more important and enduring effect on others than I ever will, my friend.

Sriram Khé said...

Yes, "The Hindu" for you ... and our own respective papers as well. This ritual is not merely about the coffee or the news, but is about meditation--even when reading news that is all about chaos in the world!

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