BOSTON—Most of us eventually realize and understand the concept of time. After running as fast as we could and miss the beauty of small little things in the process—our relationships with our grandparents, parents, relatives, friends and our own children—we finally come to a point of halt in our life and try to remember those beautiful moments we have lived.
I do this quite often myself and feel grateful that somehow some sort of a wisdom dawned upon me to reflect upon past moments while I am still young enough and am able to correct and relive many things that I did not pay attention to. As the saying goes: it’s never too late.
When I think back, I know I was a man in hurry—always chasing something, and running after: good grades, good schools and universities, learning English (and Spanish), being popular, famous, writer/reporter, foreign correspondent and a businessman, getting married and having children, and the list goes on. It seems there was no time to pause and enjoy what was already there.
Recently, I read somewhere that when people in a research were asked what were the most precious moments of their life, a vast majority of them did not even mention the moments when they received an award, bought out their competition or sold their business at a hefty price, became CEO or received the promotion they wanted in their career. Their most precious and beautiful moments were the little moments of life that they never paid much attention to: a time spent with parents or grandparents or close friends and relatives, visiting a place, sharing an intimate lunch or dinner, giving or getting an unexpected gift or even a good gesture by someone or receiving a simple heart-felt thank you or a compliment. This all now makes so much sense.
When I was running fast or was on the so-called fast track, I thought I have plenty of time—only after this one more thing is done, and one more thing and one more thing. This disease of one more thing, however, never ended. And this all happened to me despite my well wishers and people with experience repeatedly told me to take it easy and enjoy the moment on hand. But like many others, I was bitten by this bug of one more thing.
Although the time has been running at the same pace as it did a few years ago or a few billion years ago, now I want to hold the time—even for a few moments. It is impossible, though. How can anyone hold time? The nearest I have come to holding time is consciously merging myself with the time, meaning living every moment as it comes and enjoy every bit of this as if there is no tomorrow. It does not matter how bad or how good the current time is. As long as I am breathing and I am conscious, I am okay and I am blissed. I am just cruising along times effortlessly.
When I think about time, an Indian mythology comes to my mind: the story of king Kakudmi and his daughter Revati. Kakudmi was the king of a beautiful and prosperous kingdom called Kusasthali. He had a beautiful and talented daughter named Revati. When Revati reached her marriage age, her father could not find a suitable husband for her. So, he took Revati to Brahma-lok where Brahma, the creator of universe, lived to seek his advice. Unfortunately, when they reached Brahma-lok, they found that Bramha was enjoying a musical show. They did not want to disturb, and thus waited outside until the performance was over, and then reached Bramha.
When King Kakudmi presented a shortlist of candidates for his daughter’s marriage to Brahma for his advice, Brahma laughed loudly, and explained that time runs differently on different planes of existence, and that during the short time they had waited in Brahma-lok to see him, 27 chatur-yugas (a cycle of four yugas, totalling 108 yugas, one yuga ranges between 1.72 million years to 864,000 years, depending the yuga) had passed on earth.
Brahma said to Kakudmi: “O King, all those whom you may have decided within the core of your heart to accept as your son-in-law have died in the course of time. Twenty-seven chatur-yugas have already passed. Those upon whom you may have already decided are now gone, and so are their sons, grandsons and other descendants. You cannot even hear about their names. You must therefore bestow this virgin gem (i.e. Revati) upon some other husband, for you are now alone, and your friends, your ministers, servants, wives, kinsmen, armies, and treasures, have long since been swept away by the hand of time.” (translation from Wikipedia.)
Brahma finally recommended Balram (Krishna’s brother) on earth for Revati. When they returned to earth which they regarded as having left only just a short while ago, they were stunned by the changes that had taken place.
That is the nature of time, and for all of us, time is now—this very moment. George Harrison defined time beautifully: “It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”
Yes, we cannot relive past, but can certainly reflect upon. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, the English writer, poet and academic, said the following on time and reflecting:
“I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been
Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair
I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring
That I shall ever see
For still there are so many things
That I have never seen
In every wood in every spring
There is a different green
I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people that will see a world
That I shall never know
But all the while I sit and think
Of times there were before
I listen for returning feet
And voices at the door.”
Don’t rush. Don’t chase. Just relax and enjoy this moment. Everything you are running after is just inside you. Find that and live in an everlasting bliss.You are enough.
(Mr. Mishra is managing partner of the Waltham, MA-based integrated inbound marketing and PR firm The Mishra Group. He writes about his three passions: marketing, scriptures and gardening.)