The counting shed is on the right, at a 24 hour race organised by Sri Chinmoy M.T.
Happiness can be a strange thing. The things we expect will give us happiness sometimes fail to live up to our expectations. Yet, when we stop chasing happiness, we can find happiness in the most unlikely of situations.
Counting at a 24 Hour Race
For 24 Hours, Runners run around a standard 400 m athletic track. Every 2 minutes or so your runner will pass by and as a counter you note down their time. Now, the first thing people might say is why? Why run around a traffic and isn’t it boring to spend 24 hours counting a couple of runners go past every 2 minutes? The strange thing is that the first hour can pass quite slowly, and you start thinking this 12 hour shift is going to be a long time. But, after a while time starts to slip by. You enter a different world and become absorbed in the fortunes of your runners. You become inspired at the collective efforts at self transcendence. I also enjoy the gentle banter and jokes with the other counters in the counting shed.
(see also: Counting Shed by Sumangali)
If you were thinking of moments of happiness, you wouldn’t expect ‘work’ to be there. The thing is I actually really enjoyed doing the dishes, even though I was working in a ‘Little Chef’. It was a very simple work where you could get into a routine. There was great satisfaction in transforming the dirty plates into clean neat piles. Dishwashing was my domain, I was responsible for keeping it clean. The important thing was the attitude to washing. If I thought about the job I would think – there are many better things I could be doing with my time; I don’t want to be a dishwasher for the rest of my life. However, when I ignored these thoughts, when I just focused on the present moment and the action of washing dishes, time flew past. It became a meditative action because I was just focusing on the act of dishwashing and was concentrated on the job in hand. And I really enjoyed it.
Monty Python Silly Walks
Once a year, with friends from the English Sri Chinmoy Centres, we put on a very informal plays and skits. The idea is to have fun. My contribution is performing Monty Python sketches and in particular the John Cleese silly walk. I love watching Monty Python, but, when you perform it yourself, it offers a much greater level of enjoyment. In a TV age, we are so used to entertainment being passive, that we forget how much entertainment we can have by actually taking part in something. It is innocent fun, and having a good laugh is one of the best medicines for the mind. see: Monty Python Silly Walks at Youtube
Racing up Hills
I do enjoy racing my bike. Sometimes you get frustrated because you are not as fast as you would like. But, generally cycle racing is very good. I love the sense of achievement, the stretching of your own abilities and seeking to see how far you can push yourself. For some strange reason I really love hill climb races – basically races up a hill. Last week was the National Hill climb Championships in Matlock, a 2 minute climb up a hill of 20%. Half way up I felt dizzy in the head, all the blood had drained to my legs. It felt like I was dancing on the limits of my capacity. But, I felt really happy when I finished the race!
My earliest memories of singing was going to a school choir practice and singing very badly so they would have no chance of asking me to join. Actually, I had no need to try and sing badly, I could have just sang to the best of my abilities and I wouldn’t have been taken. So it was rather surprising that later in life, I would get so much from singing devotional songs composed by Sri Chinmoy and others. Singing can awaken a different part of our being. It can take us out of ourselves an in particular make us feel there is much more to life.
Question for the readers – Do you have any unexpected moments of happiness you would like to share?
Have there ever been times when you thought wow, i can’t believe I enjoyed that!