Insightful encounters

We thought it will take only 45 minutes on a Saturday morning. We were going for my younger daughter’s PTM (Parent teacher meeting) in the school.

I sat down next to the driver and put on the navigation. I saw that it would take 55 minutes. I immediately conveyed that to my wife who was sitting behind with my younger daughter. Our faces showed our anxiety. I immediately put on my mask and sunglasses. In the next 10 minutes, there was hardly any conversation. We were all trying to assimilate what went wrong. On my part I started internally blaming the driver who arrived late by 30 minutes. In fact, before he arrived I had painted an image of the driver. He had asked me some basic questions. He asked me for the location which I had already shared in my request, he asked me for apartment details which he couldn’t find, and in the end, reported late by 30 minutes. So as we traversed through the traffic on our way every time I noticed that the estimated time of arrival kept increasing. But we learned one thing from our daughter that day sitting in the back seat. She was speaking about other things and laughed her way out and she was not worried about it at all. We missed to attend the PTM.

On our way back we noticed that we will be again late for our 11.30 appointment and so we decided to take that call and attend the virtual session sitting in a cafe. We got there on time, settled in a seat, and attended the call. We gave our daughter her favourite picks from the cafe and we sipped hot black coffee. In the session, there was a discussion on the subject of consciousness. I started engaging more on those thoughts and that led me to do a little bit of research thereafter in the day. Its simple definition is “the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself or in other words the state or fact of being conscious of an external object, state, or fact.

I had planned a single car for the day. I was finding it difficult to cope with the drivers’ histrionic outbursts like cribbing about traffic, excessive honking, getting aggressively close to the vehicles ahead of us, checking phone regularly, not responding properly to our requests, making faces, and not using GPS. I started checking for a new driver and vehicle for the second half of the day. We reached home by 1.30 PM and I was left another two hours for my next journey. I asked my wife and daughter to get down and proceed. My wife understood what I am up to. I signed off the driver and gave my peace of mind. I wrote down my feedback on the sheet and told him only one thing, ” If you do not love your job, others will know it”.

As I walked into our house my wife asked me, “You must have given a class to the driver”. I said, ” Yes and I signed him off”. She said to me that she also wanted me not to travel with the same driver in the second part of the day.

I had lunch and also was planning what all I need to carry in the event I face huge traffic and a bad driver. So I had planned my iPad and also made a mental note of some courses which I can do on the go. As I got into the car it showed that to reach the destination will take one hour and 25 minutes. But finally, we reached there it was nearly one hour and 45 minutes. Additional 20 minutes thanks to traffic. But this time I got a very courteous driver who followed navigation and had a professional demeanour. I invited him also to have coffee inside as I sat down with my friend of yesteryear and we started discussing the status of our lives.

I was amazed at the depth of his scientific knowledge from the old days. But today I was amped up after hearing about his spiritual knowledge. Call it serendipity or synchronicity he started discussing with me the subject of consciousness after we finished that nice filter coffee. I started jotting down on my iPad notes some of the points. He is in his late 50s and is looking forward to his superannuation next year. His energy level is contagious and as I left him I wished him good luck, and good health and thanked him for the session on consciousness.

I asked the question, ” Did we have a good day”? My answer initially was to say “No”, because negative experiences always tend to dominate. But upon further introspection, I validated that as I was aware that I was going through a bad experience that itself was a good experience. As I looked back at the time from morning 9.30 AM to 9.45pm when I reached home it was amazing to see how things went.

As a scholar said in his sermon on Advaita (non-dual) Vedanta. It is not religion as it is generally understood (belief in something, faith in something), it’s quite the opposite. It is understanding something, realising something , seeing something. It is about our daily experiences of seeing , hearing , smelling , tasting , touching , waking , dreaming and sleeping. Our daily lived experiences and applying a certain philosophical logical investigation to it based on experience and reason we come to a startling insight about ourselves.

They say insight is the capacity to see – into a person or a situation. For me, there were two insights. The first was the “real revolution of the evolution of consciousness” which is a big catch. The second was about time which was shared by my coach and friend in the morning session, a new definition of time is “the interval between two experiences”.

My lesson from this insightful encounter is that we are always on a journey from not knowing to knowing. After the day’s discussion on consciousness and the Advaita philosophy, this quote by Rumi finally made sense to me…

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