Lessons from a chai wala

Lessons from a chai wala


Have you noticed how the road side tea vendor makes ‘kadak’ chai?

Besides adding all ingredients to water and putting it to boil, at a point, when the chai-in-progress starts boiling evenly, he takes the vessel in his hand and starts swirling its content. So that, while it boils, it mixes evenly.

What if the water with its ingredients resisted getting boiled? Like most liquids with high viscosity do? Notice how it gurgles and groans in heat. Often giving off mild explosions of resentment. And what will happen if you try to swirl this liquid? The liquid that is dense, viscous and resists movement? It will spill over. It will get thrown out of the system. For, the system is looking for harmony in movement and ejects anything that resists the movement.

Think of yourself. What do you do in the midst of the swirl and twirl? How do you respond / react to systemic movements?

You see it as a disruption and that’s the first biggest mistake you commit. There is no disruption – systemically speaking. Everything is in constant movement, which also is random and seemingly unpredictable. It’s beyond the capacity of human mind to predict any trend in such randomness, besides a distant approximation. But that’s what you want. Right? And when you find that missing you build strategies to ‘restore’ status quo. You make counter movements to resist. You resent doing all this and the more you resent the harder you try. Till either you are ejected out of the system or you give-in. You surrender to the systemic forces.

It took Buddha six years to give-in and surrender to such random movements, in search of enlightenment, before he attained it. It took six years for a man who had dealt with the density, the viscosity of his egoic existence. What about you? How heavily does your ego weigh down upon you? It can neither accept change nor give-in. It keeps fighting and warring against forces. It does not allow you to sense the movement and the subtle shifts happening every moment. And worse still, it does not allow you to respond with fresh action to the stimuli. For, the past that you are lugging encased in your ego has ‘best practices’ stored in its memory, from where you react. The more you find it futile, the harder you strive. The harder you strive, stronger is the push back. And thus it goes on and on.

What comes in the way of your giving-in? Your surrendering? It’s the same ego – your mind-made understanding of what you are – the dark, dense cloud of ignorance which parents both your pain and pleasure. If you had allowed your pain to lead you where you must go, surrender would have come easily. You not only resisted it but also found escapades into momentary pleasure which raised your threshold of tolerance. Thus delaying the process of surrender.

Being buoyant with systemic movement, being responsive to random forces around you is not a skill to be learned. Fortunately, all of us (including any creation in Nature) come programmed with such abilities. What you need to learn is to be able to recede to the center of all movement, the eye of the cyclone – within you – and a be a witness to all that is happening within and without. By and by you will reclaim your innate ability to sense and respond, to let-be and let-go and most importantly to tread lightly and with buoyancy on the surface of the earth. By and by, you will let go of your illusion of doing what you believe you should do and shift your focus to being alive. In the moment, every moment. And by and by you will move from the joy of pain and pleasure to a space of peace and everlasting joy.

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