Is it possible?
Is it possible to be in the middle of ‘’corrida de toros’’,
without a shed of blood on ‘’traje de luces’’
or to be involved in all worldly affairs without getting really involved,
keeping your soul intact & pristine
It happened on one of fine spring morning when the sun was crisp and cool refreshing breeze was a bonus. The weather, which people always complaint about, was just too perfect. However, unsurprisingly, London tube stations were extremely busy and the uptight pilgrims of capitalism were ready to start their day by their very first ritual; tube travel to Square Mile or Canary Warf.
He lives in east London and takes central line from Gants Hill, followed by a change over at Stratford for Jubilee line to reach business district in Tower Hamlet. Like every other day, he left home in a rush ignoring the spring springing in Valentine’s park, playful birds in the pond, a swan arching her neck and flapping majestic wings, a group of Canadian geese pruning themselves and energy radiating joggers fulfilling their commitment to healthy life. He even ignored someone he himself resembles, nature wise. He was more like greedy gulls, more interested in the snapping up at the bread.
At the station he bolted on the escalator flights but that was not enough to penetrate through the closing doors of west bound train to Ealing Broadway. He had to wait another five minutes to get on the next train. As soon as Leyton station was passed, he warm up himself for a sprint to catch another train which will take him to his office, a 26th floor desk in a skyscraper. ”We are now approaching Stratford, please change here for National rail, Jubilee line and Dockland Light Railway”, announced the tube driver. The doors were open with a thud and he leaped out with lighting speed. It was not easy to navigate through the morning rush but he somehow overtook as many as fellow passengers he can and reached stairs at platform five which will take him to Jubilee line platforms.
His first step on the stair was a head on blow to a gentleman coming in opposite direction. What an idiot, he thought. In a few steps he tried and successfully dodge a mid-aged woman but situation visibly annoyed both of them. By the time he was downstairs, dozens were emotionally hurt and he was boiling with anger. He was upset as it seems everyone in the world is blocking his way to success. Everything that could go wrong was going wrong. He turned around to curse shameless, manner less, rude illiterates who do not have direction sense. But as soon as he turned back, the very same moment he froze. His brain cells processed the information gathered through his eyes and sent a signal back. The brain signal moved few muscles and carved a smile on his face. He realised that when everything seems against you, blocking your way, making your efforts fail; one must look back to check if he is going in wrong direction, check if one going down on a stairs that is supposed to be used by upstairs traffic.
Focus: the most important virtue but the most difficult to achieve.
Mahabharta, an ancient Indian epic, explains the importance of focus in life through a story. Once guru Drona was teaching his disciples (Pandavas and Kauravas) the art of archery. He placed a wooden bird as the target and asked each of them to aim at the eye of the bird and was asked to describe what they see. Most of them said that they can see the trees, the branches, the leaves, the sky, the bird and its eye. The sage asked these disciples to wait. Then he asked his favourite disciple Arjuna the same question and he replied, “I only see the eye of the bird.” The sage said, “Very good, then shoot.” The arrow went straight and hit the eye of the bird.
Another inspiration story is about Spencer West. He is a Canadian who achieved something extraordinary only by the virtue of his commitment and willpower. At a very early age he lost both of his legs below pelvis to a spinal disorder and doctors assured him that he will never be able to walk and be able to lead an active life. But he proved doctors wrong.
He climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro!
He trained hard for 12 months to be physically fit for the ordeals of tough African terrain. But I am sure his mental training in these 12 months would have been even more daunting. There must be thoughts of failure cracking whips on his nerves, chilling his bones. But in the end he achieved what he strived for only through FOCUS.
These two stories, both fictional and real life, elucidate the moral that we cannot achieve our goals until we are focused.
But is it really as simple as it sounds?
We focus on a task by concentrating our mind at it. Hence, one cannot achieve focus until he has full control over his mind. But our mind is fickle. It never stays at one thought. One moment we think about one thing and very next another beautiful thought replaces it. One moment a task is most important and within no time another takes priority. Forget about material/non-material things; we are not even able to focus on human relationships.
Several ancient Indian scriptures talk about difficulty of controlling mind but the most appreciated text comes from Bhagwat Gita. In one of the verse, protagonist Arjuna explains his frailty about controlling his mind, ‘’O Krisna, the flickering mind is certainly turbulent strong and obstinate; I think that subduing the mind is more difficult than the wind.’’(Gita chapter 6 verse 29).
Controlling mind is difficult, but it has to be achieved because?
It is not just to have materialistic success but to have harmony in life. Power of mind, thoughts and concentration can be understood but Charles F. Haanel’s quote that says ‘’Thought is energy; Active thought is active energy; concentrated thought is a concentrated energy. Thought concentrated on a definite purpose becomes power.’’
Hence once we have focus, we can concentrate all our positive energy in the task at hand. We can think about more possible ways of removing hurdles and identify new opportunities. This is a stage where even failures become a stepping stones and nothing can come between you and your success.
Please share your thoughts about importance of being focused, situation where it helped, difficulties you may have faced or any other relevant point that I may have missed 🙂