Tag Archives: #gratitude

You Have To Earn It.

I did a couple of Bollywood Dance workshops for kids at a library during the summer holidays. The library staff had been reaching out to me for a couple of years, but the timing worked out this year, so I said yes, mostly out of guilt and also at the happiness she expressed when I responded to her email.

My parents are in town, so we made a day trip of it. I was not expecting much, and this was my first time teaching kids who are in the range of 3 yrs – 8 yrs old. Both sessions went well – the kids all joined in, even kids who were too young tapped their feet. They all followed the instructions and happily danced away. Even the library staff, teachers and kids – grandparents joined in.

After the session, a couple of kids came up and gave me a penny and a rubber band – bracelet (which is a very precious commodity at their age) as a gift. A couple of kids gave me hugs, and a few of them came over and said how much they loved it.

As we were driving back, we were discussing the gifts, and it made me wonder. These kids knew me for less than forty minutes, and they were showering with me affection right after that. They are so free with their love and displays of affection. What happens to us when we grow up? People have to earn our love and friendship – it is no longer freely given. We no longer get recognized for doing our job – we need to go above and beyond our duty to distinguish ourselves and gain recognition. What has changed in the value of love from the time we were kids to the time we start working that it has become such a scarce resource. And we are not talking about diamonds or even chocolates which cost money – we are just talking about appreciation, simple gestures of gratitude which are free but priceless at the same time.

So, at work I am of the mindset that if somebody has done something to evoke the feeling of gratitude in me, then they hear about it – it does not matter whether we have achieved the result or not. One of my peers got us external help that enabled us to move forward, and I told him how grateful I was – and he said, ‘Don’t thank me, yet’. I told him – I will, it’s my choice, and I did. Why do we have to wait to express our love or gratitude unless they have proven something – are we not capable of feeling gratitude and love just for the heck of it. Somewhere in our civilization process, we have lost this beautiful practice of expressing love and appreciation. The irony is we chase after happiness even though we have it. We do not accept it because we are waiting for something grand to happen before we take what we are already feeling.

How will you give gratitude and love freely?

I am here to serve

I did my first 10-day Vipassana course in Delhi, Gurgaon. Vipassana meditators run all the Vipassana courses on a volunteer basis – nobody is paid. They do it because they want to and genuinely too. I had to do two more courses before the desire to serve arose in me.

I remember standing at the door in Dhamm Dipa in London and saying aloud for the first time in my life – “I am here to serve.” Vipassana changed my life and continues to change my life – it is hard work, I won’t lie, but it does change the grand canyons I have built in mind consciously or unconsciously. This blog is dedicated to Vipassana and S.N.Goenka who brought this course to the rest of the world from Burma.

If you have ever done one of the 10-day courses in Vipassana as taught by S.N.Goenka, then the following will resonate with you – more so if you have served.

One of the rules we have to observe is segregation between males and females – they have separate quarters, separate dining rooms, etc. When we (dhamma servers as Goenka Ji likes to call us) are preparing meals in the kitchen, you will hear statements like
– Is the female rice ready?
– Do we need Male Olive Oil?
Everything is divided into three categories – female, male or serve because that is how we partition food and prepare the dining rooms and set the food out.

Second, gongs – I never wear my watch in Vipassana because life is so simple and everything is announced with a gong. There is a morning gong that wakes you up, gong before every lunch, gong after breaks, gong before group sits. If you miss the gong – the course manager will make sure you don’t forget. And I remember the first time I rang the gong – the vibrations from the gong centered me to the core.

Third, silence. It is a silent retreat. You do not speak unless asking for supplies or questions for the teacher when you are sitting a course. While serving there is talking but very less, and all the students are silent. There is something about the quietness that lets you hear the incessant chatter of the mind and move towards just observing it and not becoming it. Nine days of silence increases the depth to which you explore with every course.

At the end of the course, Goenka Ji says that one of the reasons there is no charge for the Vipassana course is – “What price will you pay?” The teaching is so invaluable there is nothing you can pay that can compare to the value you get. There are some things in life which are truly priceless, and Vipassana is one such gem for me.

I am eternally grateful
– to Buddha for discovering it
– to all the teachers who maintained the teaching
– to Goenka Ji who helped spread it to the rest of the world where I could receive it
– that I got the human birth
– that I was born in a period where dhamma in its pure form is being taught

My heart overflows with gratitude.
May all beings be happy!