The lockdown got extended again but ever since the curtains first went up the lockdown, my mind has often oscillated to that ten day meditation camp I was part of, nearly three years back on the outskirts of one of the sleepy villages near Hoshiarpur, Punjab. It was for the first time ever, I attended such a camp.
The day of arrival there, still stands fresh in me. There were people –the peace seekers –as I would call, from almost everywhere, including many Europeans, Americans and Australians. The large lotus pond, with stunning blooms in muddy water offered a rousing reception: a scene that prepared us, for what we were here for.
Before the orientation hour, we mingled–busy peppering each other with how the daily routine here could sail. The orientation commenced with collection of our mobiles and other electronic devices, which were termed as the biggest distractions, and having given away the addicted possessions that were to be returned during culmination of the camp –came up the following announcement: “Your meditation sessions will daily commence from 4:30 am and go on till late evening with short breaks. And to remain faithful to your mind, as per the norms here, none of you can not only talk to each other but also shun any kind of gestures for communication. Make no mistake of any eye contacts too.”
Listening, we gazed in surprise at each other one last time before weaving our way to our assigned rooms, surrounded by a canopy of rich trees. And, no television in them, as expected, was of course good for us. We also cleaned our rooms on our own, and so went with clothes or dishes post meals that sparked independence in us
The following morning, it all began with a traditional bell’s sound as wakeup call at exactly 4. The same bell marked our daily routine and kept us on our toes. With advancing days, it became harder as our sessions turned longer. Even sitting on the floor for so long was painful, and on top of that, not being able to express feelings with each other seemed so irking at times. It was amusing when we had to remain tight lipped while walking next to each other during our short breaks. It truly made us all feel, as we stepped in a different world as we also conceded at end of the camp. However, we knew we were helping ourselves being here, and the restrictions too were in our favour.
But there were not all who made it to end of the camp as many also gave up and left the camp in between, some also by end of day one while some even on the second last day. Thankfully, I was one of those who went on till the last chapter despite it wasn’t an easy affair, may be because I religiously kept the old adage ‘no pain, no gain’ in mind.
The day, the camp finally ended –our joy knew no bounds –not for just for getting connected to meditation but more importantly for not giving up as some had. We congratulated each other, and promised to make meditation –a part of our daily ritual, for the utter peace it sprouts, and the clarity it offers. Thankfully, I still do.
Coming to the current lockdown, unlike the meditation camp, our routine is in our very own hands and we are in our very own homes–but inspite of it many of us still consider ourselves as caged. Though, the lockdown again got extended, but why ever decide to give up? Rather, why not laud the ‘additional time’ it has given us and continue using it to help ourselves, may be taking up tasks we couldn’t take up in the weeks gone by, or simply discover more hobbies to excite our lives.
And most importantly, taking cognizance of meditation, why not sit alone with our ‘mind’, keeping all electronic distractions away as it can do wonders for us, if we are ready to unlock it from the many shackles we created for it, train it for our better future and take its help to continue discovering ourselves. In fact, daily talks with our mind can make all the difference in our life, and surely this time is an opportunity, we may never get again.
William Hamilton, a Scottish metaphysician rightly recapitulated, “On earth there is nothing great but man; in man there’s nothing great but mind.”
So, Why not sit with it, for ‘new me’, ‘better me’ and keep our attitude bright, in any further extensions we are currently oblivious to.
(The writer is a former staff author of Hindustan Times)