Yesterday I sent my car for repairs. The fan motor suddenly broke down and I had to have it replaced along with other parts. The shop where I sent my car to is a nearly 1.5 miles away from where I stay.
So because I couldn’t thumb a lift from my buddies, I decided to walk to the auto repair shop. Although it was blazingly sunny and hot from morning till the early afternoon, it was rather cool in the early evening, about 5.30pm. And walk I did.
While walking, I realised that there are things I didn’t know existed along the way although I use the same road every day when I ferry my son to school. For instance, there’s this small pathway inside the LRT station. And the wildflowers growing by the roadside. And some very well renovated houses.
We live our daily lives in a routine, robot-like manner. We get up, get ready and rush off to work or somewhere. We never take time to stop to smell the flowers. That is to say — we don’t take time to see what is there and appreciate the things around us.
Before I owned a car, I loved walking. I can walk 3km everyday without effort. And I’d notice anything fascinating or out of the norm.
I am reminded of a talk given by the famous Ajahn Brahmavamso, the British monk now residing in Perth, Australia. One day he was travelling by car back to his monastery in Perth. It was a nice, sunny day and he suddenly had the urge to walk. He told the driver to pull over by the road and walked all the way back.
Along the way – the colours of the flowers suddenly emerged brilliantly all around him. He could smell the fragrant flowers, enjoy their cornucopia of colours. Looking up, he could see the azure skies. Maybe see an eagle hovering up in the air. He was utterly amazed at just how many thing you could see, enjoy and appreciate – just by slowing down.
The point of this is – we are so caught up in the troubles of the world. We don’t seem to have time ourselves, our family.
By slowing down, we may actually see what is there. Hear what is actually there. For instance, see the beauty of nature or the happy look of your children’s face when they pander into the car to go to school. Or hear what little children have to say, which could serve as your life’s lesson. Or listen with your heart as your partner shares his/her problem with you.
A couple of years’ back, I drove to Fraser’s Hill alone. Sat down near the Paddock. I revelled in the quiet and silence of the place. So I calmed my mind and focused my thoughts onto just a single leaf. By doing so, my troubles just miraculously faded away.
You see – the leaf is synonymous with our life. When it is young, it is green. As it grows by the day, its fresh colour will turn darker until it dies and wilts away. Then another leaf will take its place.
That is the same with our lives. As we solve one problem, another will crop up. What’s important is what are we going to do at the moment.
Life is fleetingly short. Like the leaf, I grow older by the day. But I am glad I had taken the time to appreciate what is around me and learn a good lesson in life.