The Calm Balm

Peace comes from within, don’t seek it without

Buddha

 

Sometimes I wish how easy life would be if we’d known better, if only there was a help number available to call the higher intelligence and find out all the solutions to any problem plaguing our ease. Is it a possibility that there is in fact such a route to reach out, available, only we choose to be uninformed about it?   Everyone has their own method to get out of stress, some resort to talking to someone they trust, some get trapped in indulgences of all sorts, then there are some who chose calm to clear the suit of inside rage that blinds us of our senses.

 

To be calm is the highest achievement of the self

Zen Proverb

 

We all have seen those ‘Keep Calm’ posters that wittingly quote some of the practical life situations we find ourselves into thereby instructing us to hold onto the composure. The entire juxtaposition behind their conception is in fact quite funny; these posters were originally created by the British Government to raise the morale of the British public to prepare for the Second World War. The way I see these graphics is a two levelled instructional setting where the first one “keep calm” is telling us to revert to our organic state, the second one contradicts the first level by subtly nudging us towards something materialistic and inorganic, something with an attached purpose. This reminds me of a very famous story of a stone cutter who feels disgusted at the thought of being just a stone-cutter, he wishes to be more, re- incarnates as millions of varied living species to be finally born as a stone, standing untouched and strong in its own glory, “what can break a stone, it thought…booom!!”, it meets its end when it is broken into tiny shards by none other than a stone-cutter. At first he wanted to grow and do better which is only naturally human, but his seeking nature in each birth gets attached to its individualistic ego which becomes the means to its own end!

 

I want to live like the water

Mystically unbroken

Dissolving every dispute

Whether silent or spoken

DP

 

We are always moving around in this never ending spiral of pursuit and want only to find out that whatever we want is in actuality can never be owned, it can only be chased. At the end it would be just the learning that goes beyond the rims of this world to another. Here is another short story that wonderfully extracts the exact premise of this thought:

 

One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the hope of catching a fish. About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working hard to make a living for himself and his family.

“You’re not going to catch many fish that way,” said the businessman, “You should be working harder rather than laying on the beach!”

The fisherman looked up, smiled and replied, “And what will my reward be?”

“Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!” was the businessman’s answer.

“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman, still smiling.

The businessman replied, “You will make money and you’ll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!”

“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman again.

The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman’s questions. “You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!” he said.

“And then what will my reward be?”

The businessman was getting angry. “Don’t you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let your employees catch fish for you!”

Once again the fisherman asked, “And then what will my reward be?”

The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!”

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “And what do you think I’m doing right now?”

 

Peace, it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of all these things and still be calm in your heart

 

So now one should ask, is there a fruitful way to get rid of a stressful condition, and is there a life hack that can save us from some self-inflicted sting that follows inevitably? The answer is yes! Between this constant tussle of quest and desire, pursuit and want, the only way to find the middle ground is to stop at the quest and forget about the desire, keep pursuing and stop wanting. Next time you read those posters, read no further than “Keep Calm” and there you have all your answers!

DP

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