If you can remember, during the Pad Yatra in 2009, I started a “Turtle Club” for a group of my friends and students who could not walk as fast as their own teams, so we had to put all of them together in what we jokingly called “The Turtle Club”. Lately, I realised that I should be nominating myself happily as the chairman of this club.
You all must have noticed that I have been slow in sharing news and photos. I have been enjoying all the facilities that are slow. Somehow, I feel that we should sometimes take a break from the fast track and slow down to look around us. These days, as much as possible, I try to take trains from one destination to the next. I must tell you, taking trains in India is the best experience you can ever get. Even though the tourism board and the railway authority are not paying me, I am offering my service as a fellow Indian to encourage everyone to take trains in India whenever they can. This sort of journeys will become a yesterday’s memory very soon. Once rapid development takes over, once more people want to have quick journeys, slow and noisy but beautiful and amazing trains that we can still find all over India will slowly disappear. In the train, we can experience so many things. We can see the different villages, we can talk with people sitting in other cabins and we can buy some local delicacies and enjoy them if we have strong stomachs. The trains in India are known to have many varieties of food and hot masala tea. I always gain weight after a long train journey. If you are interested in practice, you can take out your mala and your holy text to do your own practice, no one will mind what you are doing!
I remember when I was very small, I used to take the toy train journeys in Darjeeling. Those were the golden time of my life. I can still remember the smell of the burning coal, the “choo choo” noise made by the train and the company of different kinds of people. Even up to today, I still have a great interest to look around in the train, what are the people doing, what are they eating, what are they talking about, where are they going… There are so many activities to connect with each other and there are so many chances to be connected. Whereas now, we are not really connecting with people, we are connecting through buttons with visual identities, who may not even exist.
Don’t stay at the computer for too long. Give yourself time and space to be connected with nature. The external nature will bring you closer to your own nature. If we keep looking outside for something, for happiness, for peace, for love, for luck, for bliss, we will never be able to find them, because they are all within us. If we cannot develop or find these positive qualities within ourselves, then we will always be affected by the external situations. To have this inner development, we have to slow down, listen more, talk less, pay more attention to our inner voice and pay more attention to the present, instead of thinking about the future and regretting about the past. I always admire my gurus whenever I look at them during meal times, they completely pay 100% attention to the food and even if the world collapses, it doesn’t matter to them at that moment, they are 100% eating, enjoying and appreciating the food. For us, most of the time, our mind is everywhere. Therefore we cannot appreciate even our food, our family, our job, our friends, forget about appreciating our own spirituality.
Today, most of the people who come and see me tell me that they are easily burned out and that they cannot rest in peace. Our minds become like wild elephants, constantly spinning with thoughts, ideas and deadlines after deadlines. So even if our physical activities are not that active, we are merely thinking and giving ourselves useless stress. Most of the time, we kill our own possibilities by being restless. I think to a certain extent, restlessness is the direct opposite of confidence. So I would like to suggest that all of us, myself included, should always take out some time to be turtles. Take the trains and slow yourself down. Give time to YOU yourself. Slow down, we will have clearer vision, we will be able to see life’s details with a sense of gratitude. Even if we are facing a lot of difficulties externally, we will not be affected because we can appreciate even the difficulties or obstacles we are facing due to our understanding.
Don’t you agree that whenever we slow down, we see things clearer? We will definitely appreciate our life a lot more! Nevertheless, I will write again when I find some time.