12282008 - ... and then the king learnt his lesson !

These random thinking sessions bring out a lot of things in me. I was retrospecting and this story poped up.

Long ago, there lived a king ( name, place and date are immeterial ). He was rich beyond anyone's dream, he had everything, a prosperous kingdom, loyal subjects, kind wife, nobel ministers, witty son, good allies, but he was not happy. For some strange reason, he was always worried about what-will-go-wrong-tomorrow.

A wise man visited his kingdom one day, and the king decided to seek some advise from him. The king explained his problem. This is what the wise man had to say, "Oh Great King, i have a solution to your problem, but to understand the solution you have to perform two tasks for me". The king agreed. "The first task .. " he said, " .. is that you have to go around your palace once by holding this spoon full of oil in  your hand, but you must make sure that you do not spill a drop of oil from the spoon !". The king, very carefully walked around his castle without spilling a drop of oil and returned to the wise man. "So, what did you see around your castle, Oh King ?", asked the wise man. "Nothing sir, i was soo involved in not spilling the oil, that i really could not concentrate on other things", the king replied. "Ok, that is very nice, the second task for you is, to go around your castle, with the spoon full of oil, but this time, i want you to look around, and see things, and tell me what you saw". The king agreed. He finished his task, and returned back. "So, my lord, what did you see ?", asked the wise man. The king replied, "Sir, i saw how big my castle was, the carvings on the wall of my castle, how organized my soldiers were in protecting their kingdom", he continued, " i also observed, my garden, the flowers that had bloomed, its smell, the cool breeze, the trees, the birds, their sweet chirpings, the sky, it was all very pleasing to look at, it was like, i had entered a different world, a world that was pleasent, a world that was peaceful". To this, the wise man replied, " .. and yet, you still hold the spoon filled with oil". The king was amazed. The wise man continued, "In your first task, you were concentrating so hard on not spilling the oil, that you failed to see other things around you, and in your second, you opened up, you concentrated less on the oil and started looking at other places that made you realize that there is a world other than the spoon in your hand. This is the same thing that is happening in your life too, you conentrate on things that are yet-to-happen, that you forget to see the present. Open up your sense and start living in the present. There is no point in introspecting your actions of past, especially when you cannot change it, and there is no meaning in thinking about the future which you cannot control, change your perspective of veiewing things and enjoy the present", saying this, he the wise man left the kingdom. 

What happened afterwards is not important, perhaps the king changed his perspective of seeing things and found happiness. All of my stories have a happy ending, and this one is no exception :) 

Now, this is a very common story that many of us might have heard, the jist being - stop living in the past / future and start enjoying the present, or something similar. But, what attracted me to this story is the nature of the king. Very recently i had been to a para-gliding event near jakkur. When i was flying high, half the time, i was worried about what would happen if the hooks of my parachute came loose. This one thought crubbed my involvement in enjoying the situation. That day, i sat and i thought, what made me think in that sense. The answer was very simple. I did not trust the hooks. Many a times, while driving my scooter with my mother, i have heard her say "go slow" or "drive carefully", but i always reply back, saying, "i know my limits and i am well within it". It is this "limit", that causes the problem, and its all in my thinking. I thought that the limit of the hook was 80 ( just giving some number so that it makes more sense, you can substitute the number to the amount of weight the hook can withstand ), but in reality it is much higher than that ( say 120 or 140 ), and even though the instructor had given us clear information, my mind, some how, did not agree with him, and this made the para-gliding experience great, which would have been greater if it was not for that single thought ! 

After this experience, i realized that people know their limits. I cannot just go and put my own limits, sometimes to enjoy things to the fullest, i have to learn to trust. I have kinda tried to implement it, and believe me, it works wonders. Now when i sit in a vehicle, and the vehicle starts going faster than my "minds-limit", i close my eyes, feel the air brushing through my face, convince my mind, saying, the driver knows the vehicle's as well as his limit, so relax, and just enjoy the experience.

I know its kind of wierd example to quote, but i am sure you can relate this situation to something better, perhaps preparing for an exam and not anticipating what questions may come in the paper tomorrow, or just enjoy cooking, and not worrying about how others will react by tasting it, or just saying thank you to your bus driver who drops you safely to your destination without giving a damn about what your collegues in your bus think about your actions. Try it out if you can relate to this post. It really works !!!