‘Hide And Seek’ ..A poetry piece on— ‘how I met my sly cat?’
Hiding in plain sight, Was this sly little cat—
A voice in my head hissing; “You’re lost and I’m here to find you I’m here, look at me You’re looking for me and that’s all you need.” I stop in the middle of the day, as I hear all this in a muffled voice; Almost unrecognisable those words. Just a soft empty sound that stays- In the middle of my coffee break; In the traffic, amongst loud honking; While watching my dog breathing. It’s there with me this presence of a peace, A sort of feeling like being watched. It’s not the creepy-being-watched; No! No! Not even stalker alert! It’s just a sense of warmth and a sense of relief. (Sigh) I feel home in the middle of the day, Sitting in this room and this bed I call mine I suddenly get this urge to let time just float away and watch it still.
Hiding in plain slight Was this Sly cat—
Every time I went looking for it And tried to grab it; Slipping away like sand the soft fur Leaving behind empty spaces, Empty minds, for noise to fill in. Will can put up a fistful fight, And force is just vain; It stealthily settles next to your back Just when you’re not desperately looking. I tried and tried and failed; Failed at giving it a permanent space. I just wanted it to feel home, in me; But it had his own ways, His own ways of making his presence felt; His own ways of being. So I began to meditate.
Hiding in plain sight Was my sly little cat— Well he’s my pet now And I call him peace.
A tailor bird almost never sits still and if you’re a bird watcher you’d know; its incessant tweeting can be painful to some. I want to start by narrating this beautiful encounter one cloudy morning on my terrace. The tailor bird decided to do something differently that day, which left me a different person in some ways. It was honestly lucky I spotted one, perched motionless on a branch almost a meter away from me; like a breathing statue, in the quite moist air of the early morning. We were both letting the stillness soak into us. It felt like we both felt each others presence, almost a conversation without any language. What was so special about this moment anyway?
I met silence that day. I don’t know if the tailor taught me something or it was just Bangalore weather working its charm, I was mesmerized.
Silence can be felt anywhere and everywhere and you don’t have to be any special place for it. One of the Fridays in June this year, as I stepped out of my room, my mom in her usual morning-tea spot expecting a ‘good morning’, was being confronted with a dumb charade. Unable to convey my point I wrote a note- “I’m not speaking the whole day”. I could tell she was happy inside—one day of peace. This experiment didn’t mean I was going to lock myself up; I went about my day normally. My curiosity to Vipasana Meditation led me to this challenge, and it wasn’t as easy as I had in mind.
I almost blurted out when emotions took over at any point. Just like all other bad habits, I realized, we have made this a habit to keep talking all the time. Unnecessary details and information being discussed, explain ourselves more than needed and repeat sentences till the listener wants to run away.
I recall being at Echoes in Koramangala (Bangalore), a unique restaurant, which is mostly managed and run by specially-abled people who are hearing- and speech-impaired. They gave better service than any regular restaurant and I was in awe. How little we need to say to convey what we mean. Just a few gestures and nods can also suffice. Actions speak louder than words and this was like a mind opening experience. If you’re a foody then all the more reasons to head there.
We don’t need to be loud to get the point across to the other person. Subtlety will be louder than your loudest words as read in a recent article, “Those who use the nuances of silence as their most effective communication tool. Indeed, how well we use silence in communication is an indicator of our emotional intelligence. Those who speak less are heard with more care and taken more seriously.” Times of India Vineetha Nangia.
From whatever I know in Hindustani Classical Music, its’ said that there are seven Swars and they can be sung on different scales. The seven notes in music are like different sound frequencies. If all these frequencies are shut down only one big emptiness remains and that is silence. In Silence any swar gets created and silence bears that swar and becomes that frequency, then gets back to becoming silence. All notes begin from silence and end in silence. Hence silence is the biggest swar, can become anything from being nothing.
From the Big bang moment till now, silence kept fading away as the noise took over. Today people think silence can be found only in Himalayas (or secluded places). Silence is inside us and we can totally experience it if we just pause and focus on our own creation of sounds. From that one days adventure I am very cautious of the sounds I create. Keep noticing if I’ve kept the glass down louder than it was needed. I don’t use the horn so much when on the road, just wait up till it clears (whatever is holding me up). Surely noise pollution is something that each of us need to stop creating. Our DNA can get altered with the sounds around us, now more than ever, having this understanding we need to make a shift. If the tailor bird can sit still for a few minutes, I’m sure sure we all can make an effort too.
Have you felt this feeling of Stillness? Its not some trance mode, I’m talking about. Its that feeling that everything has slowed down a bit and your thoughts are coming to you one at a time, everything is in sync, your mind, breath and heart beat, the wind around you. Everything is under a calm spell. No, I’m not even talking about the famous ‘Shav-Asana’ in yoga.
This is the best feeling in the world to me. Its one of those rarest times, not that I had no ‘to do lists’ in my mind or I had done a major deed. It just comes when I make the effort to wake up and look at the sunrise, or feed some banana to the cows, when I meet small babies and they smile for no reason and I get to smile back at them, when I thank someone for their regular job and that’s made their day, or greet the old security guard I see everyday and buying flowers for folks at home for no reason at all. So, I figured that whenever it involves someone else’s benefit/happiness instead of mine it gives me this sense of calm and bliss. I could, may be, call it “Bliss-mode”.
I had a friend who would go out of her way to celebrate people’s birthdays, get them gifts, the dogs got their share of biscuits even if that got her late for a class and randomly get books for her friends. I know her secret of smiling all the time now, she isn’t crazy after all. Its inspiring to have people like that around you and know there are people out there waiting to bring a smile on your face for no personal gain.
I have been contemplating of how most of my days throughout the week is focused all around myself. My day starts with my workout time, then my bath and breakfast, my office work, then after I’m back home probably I’m learning how to cook for my happiness, or I’m mostly on the internet reading something for my own interest, watching sitcoms, lazing around. Oh! and the workout has been making me eat so much food I’m actually feeling sick of myself, “gluttony feels”. All this encouragement about “ME Time” on the internet got me too serious about doing things for myself. Bliss-mode was long gone and I was wondering what I’m not doing right.
Me- time is as important as Bliss-mode. You obviously need to love yourself and do things to make yourself feel good but there is a thin line between that and becoming selfish. Frankly, even I haven’t got that perfect balance. We must all try and find happiness in giving happiness is the mantra. I guess everyone needs to feel this way once in a while and its all about the balance.
It doesnt stay forever this Bliss-mode. We need to keep working towards keeping it on. You constantly need to water the plant for it to grow, you’re body needs constant supply of oxygen and the same way the feeling of bringing joy to other living beings and making a difference.
When you make a difference to the world, you’re existence gets more validated in your own eyes and it gives you this sense of satisfaction. There is no end to the kindness we can offer to this world around us and make it a better place. So look for what is the small thing that gives you a sense of peace while you make a difference.
“Even more important than the warmth and affection we receive, is the warmth and affection we give. It is by giving warmth and affection, by having a genuine sense of concern for others, in other words through compassion, that we gain the conditions for genuine happiness. More important than being loved, therefore, is to love.” His Holiness The Dalai Lama