(Images artist :Gaurav Bose)
‘To nourish the soul’ is a term that I kept finding around me. A term I am inspired to follow. ‘How’? I wondered, ‘Does one nourish the soul’ ; is it to be found in meditation, prayer, spending time in nature?
Following the message to help the soul find nourishment from the maze of the mind and the world, I went for a walk in the park. Along the pathway I found a mini basketball in the bushes. I let it be hoping the kids who it belonged to would return to find it. Soon as I sat to meditate, I noticed some kids looking for something. I wondered, ‘do I go and tell them where it is, or do I meditate and not disturb my soul?’
I pointed them towards it but they looked in the wrong bushes. So I got up from my bench and went and got it. It made me realize, often we look for solutions, in the wrong places. We’re looking for solace, for fun, for peace in the material world, and it isn’t there. It doesn’t last. So we begin to look for meaning, real meaning. And sometimes we need help.
Meditation is supposed to help, I always thought, a panacea for many troubles. As I sat to mediate a thought struck me. A tree always needs nourishment, especially so after it has weathered a storm. It doesn’t struggle with that, like we do. It accepts it and digs its roots deeper to find more water. It doesn’t walk away from all humanity, because humanity troubled it. It finds its core and nourishes its deepest roots. It gives shade to people, becomes a home for birds, spreads its branches out to give and take some breaths. It simple does, what it is meant to. It embraces its inter-connectedness with all life.
We humans don’t always do that. We don’t acknowledge that we’re parched or that the branches are broken. We don’t accept the inner bark drying. And we look for solace in worldly things. Or we want to get really mad and shun the world.
Till we get a message to nourish the soul.
So I sat in the park, to just be. Two girls were playing with the ball. A new game one of them invented. Two players stand on either side of the bush. Player no 1 has to throw it into the bush and it has to bounce off to the other side where player no. 2 stands. Of course, the ball got stuck in the bush. What happened? Did the girls feel bad, did they keep trying? They just had fun. It didn’t hold them back, didn’t trouble them. They didn’t blame and wage a war within themselves, with each other or the world.
They continued to enjoy the game, they enjoyed what they had, and finally they changed the goal of the game. They made the so-called obstacle , part of the game. The new game was ‘lets see how deep our ball goes into the bush.’ It was the playing that was important, the way, more than the achievement of a goal.
I smiled so much to myself. Grown ups would have called it failure, called it silly , called it downright foolish to create a goal with such a big obstacle. For the children, the obstacle became a way, they saw the options, they saw learning and worked from their creative simple spirit.
And the kids had questions. So I sat to finally meditate (which isn’t just happening because of the kids, and I am laughing at my attempts to try to find peace by shutting my eyes when what I want is right here in front of me )
I felt someone very close to me and opened my eyes to see the two girls. I smiled and asked them ‘what is it ?’ They said ‘what are you doing?’ I replied‘ Meditating, do you know what that is?’ A little girl said ‘yes’. ‘How do you do it?’, I asked her, wondering how she would explain this very serious act. ‘They taught us at school’, she said (I love this school), ‘You have to sit up straight, close your eyes and breathe’.
I chuckled, how complicated we make simple things, trying to study them, get them right, create theories around them. But this is all there is, ‘ sit up straight, close your eyes, and breathe’.
The girls ran away to ‘loto’ they said. That is the Hyderabadi local word for some lazy rolling. So off they went to roll in the grass and I just watched- enjoying their happiness.
Nourishment for the soul 🙂
Note: How do you nourish your soul? Do share in the comments section.