Towards mindfulness-Ashwin Shankar

Ashwin Shanker
(with Kind Permission)
THE HINDU, June 23, 2019

A pocket watch is going through a hypnotizing motion.

It happened during yet another terrible day at work. I was frustrated with my boss, who simply wouldn’t listen to my suggestions to better the code we were cracking, and would favour my partner’s opinion over mine. Despondent thoughts crept into my mind — the politics, the favouritism, the bullying, all of which seem to come to no end.

I thought I was about to explode, and I quickly retreated to the washroom. I closed the door behind me and pulled the lid down to sit on the commode. I wanted to tear up, but the rage wouldn’t let me give in to my vulnerability.

It was at that moment when I observed the slow ticking of the second hand of my watch.

It was the right kind of rhythm that my mind needed amid the chaos around my work life.

I thought about how the deliberate and irreverent movement of time, captured in this tiny device, would have witnessed both the happiest and the saddest periods of my life. The slow, rhythmic movements of the second hand tell me that this too shall pass. All I had to do was to hold on.

Regardless of how uplifting or upsetting that particular moment is in our life, there is no option but to accept the fact that things could change for the better or for the worse in the very next second. The moment cannot be controlled, but the mindset can be.

The calming realisation woke me up from my mindless slumber, and as I walked back to my desk I realised that most people around me are living their lives asleep.

I am glad that I listened to the timeless advice that my watch gave me, instead of reacting to my impulses. The ticking helped cut off the emotional time bomb.

The second hand is all about bringing your mind from a state of chaos to one of order. The minute hand will, however, sharpen your focus by bringing your attention to a dial that almost looks stationary, but is also moving forward, every minute. It has a hypnotic effect.

Have you ever wondered how many times a day you check the time? A study by a U.S. newspaper showed that Americans on an average check their watch once every 12 minutes. What if you could convert those moments into those of mindfulness?
By simply observing how each second passes by, we could reach a certain calm state. Then every moment would not be just about knowing what time it is, but about what best we could make of that time gifted to us.

Zen master Osho believed that by simply observing and moving our attention to one thing, we could raise our state of self-awareness; it morphs to a form of mindfulness.

Remember that mindfulness can never be something to be achieved or something to be desired for, because every desire has a chance of being a disappointment if not met.

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