Letting Everything Be My Teacher

Yesterday morning a heavy downpour interrupted my plan for a walk up in Mont Kiara. Nevertheless we went ahead after Lai Fun suggested that we could walk anyway, with an umbrella – indeed a brilliant idea. Unlike the huge crowd that usually throne to this hill on weekends, today’s scene was deserted with only a handful of people making their journey. On my way up the slope I met two friends – an unassuming encounter which embarrassed me.

The first friend whom I met during my walk was one who stays much further away from the park compared to my very own distance to the park. She took the effort to walk despite raining cats and dogs, with an umbrella. It was refreshing to see such initiative and yet, at the same time, I could not help hearing the familiar chattering mind in my head commenting about the excuses I gave for not walking this morning due to the rain. It was a self-admonishment of sort – judgments and punishments.

A kilometer further from where I had my first encounter, my second friend called out my name. I reciprocated by expressing my wonderment of his commitment to his regular weekend walk despite the rain. His reply indeed surprised me and made me seriously pause and ponder – “rain is part of nature unfolding so why would it deter me from walking?” It woke me up from my own unawakened state. I saw the rain as an obstacle – which in reality was simply an excuse, by giving my power away, of what I am not willing to be responsible for – an attitude of complacency.

There are two interesting lessons here for the mind. That in every situation, there is always an opportunity for awakening, provided that I encourage self-inquiry to what I am experiencing. The first encounter triggered my unworthiness – an opportunity for me to reclaim power from the meaning I gave to myself. Embarrassment and guilt. Was it true? What was it that unraveled in me? Was it necessary? What ideas was I having at the background of the mind that was fertile for such negative thoughts to arise? Why am I subscribing to those thoughts? There are much room for observation to what arrived at the mindscape when I allowed myself space to stay mindful and alert throughout the entire processes. It is so much easier to be aware when I am alone, more so in the midst of nature. It is this reason that I forgo having friends around during my walk so that I could listening silently to what comes up in my mind.

The second encounter triggered wisdom in me – that I have forgotten to see everything as nature, instead of threat. How easily it is to fall prey to the old patterns of conditioning where we expect the world to subscribe to our needs first before we embark on journeys that are essential to our well-being and growth. Behind the façade of these excuses are habits of procrastination, of not seeing priority in wellness. Many a times I too hear comments expressing that meditation is a luxury “hobby” and can only be afforded after one retires from worldly gain. Obviously those who made such comments have misunderstood what meditation is. But what is more true is that we trade peace for security. Ironically there is no security when there is no peace. We see worldly gains, instead of a healthy mind, as a passport to a safer and secure life.

Rarely are we being taught that peace is found within instead of without and that wisdom when developed is the cause of our security rather than the possessions which in truth, make us more insecure and vulnerable, instead of safe and free.

The journey is personal and my choice is wisdom over anything else.

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