Picture source: Internet
English Version (Sorry for poor command of my English language)
I have been reading self enrichment books for 20 odd years, both in English and Chinese. And for the past 2 months, I have even indulge myself in books about meditation, religious practise and inner-self.
But even so, I do not see any improvement in my knowledge, let alone wisdom and even when it comes to writings about my own thoughts, it seems to have stopped at a certain level. This does trigger my thoughts about my capabilities to grasp concepts or am I just reading for the sake of reading.
And what troubled me most is that many philosophies / concepts are easy to understand but when it comes to practising them, they become humongous tasks, hence preventing me from searching for the inner peace that I have been looking for.
At times, I just wondered: why then am I reading these books when they can’t help me at all?
Interestingly, I have chanced upon the same Zen story in different books recently. It is about a short conversation between a person and a Zen master.
Man: “Zen master, can you tell me are you specially different from commoners?”
Zen Master: “Yes.”
Man: “What’s the difference?”
Zen Master: “When I am hungry, I eat. When I am tired, I sleep.”
Man: “But that’s what everybody is doing, I can’t see any difference.”
Zen Master: “Of course it’s different! Commoners let their thoughts drift while they are eating, and dream while they are sleeping. But for me, when I am eating, I am eating, I think of nothing. When I am sleeping, I don’t dream. That’s the difference.”
When I repeatedly read this story from different books, it was like something that tickled my thoughts and I began to ponder over the statement.
I gradually realised (it will be an overstatement if I say “understand” for truly understanding is still far fetch) that I have not been truly doing everything with full concentration, including work, read, love others, love myself and even penning down my thoughts and photography etc. It is true that even simple things like eating and sleeping, I have not been able to really eat and sleep quietly and peacefully.
And this is most apparent when I was meditating.
For the past one month, I have been calming myself down from 9pm onwards, getting ready for my prayers and meditation. And as I was chanting my prayers with my eyes closed, I thought the chanting would allow me to focus and concentrate (since I need to remember the prayer) but it didn’t happen that way. My thoughts would gradually drift away and even though my mouth was chanting silently, my heart was not on the prayer.
Buddha has once said this: Life is just a matter of breathing in and out…
And meditation is supposed to be focusing on our breathing and clear our minds.
It’s always easier said than done.
The other thing that I noticed is that when I was reading and chanced upon a statement or paragraph that seem to enlighten me at that moment, my thoughts will again drift and whatever words that fall into my eyes are no longer registered in my mind.
Even when I was penning my thoughts, I let me mind ran wild and very often, my essay lost the original meaning which I wanted to write about.
I couldn’t truly concentrate on what I want to do as I begin to realise that we are all taught to be this way subconsciously. The society has been advocating enhancing productivity by multitasking. Even computers are built to run many programs at the same time. And that is what the world is looking out for now. Being able to multi-task has become one of the “strengths” in this world (I could have mis-interpreted the word “multi-tasking”), not realising that it may have increased our productivity, but on the other hand, it has lowered the quality of our work.
Many organisations have been preaching lowering cost but yet maintaining or even enhancing productivity. Workload of the workforce are increasing every day, month and year. And “double hatting” became one of the popular approach, where a person is expected to take on 2 roles with the pay of 1 man, resulting in a tired and weak workforce in the whole society.
When I observe what is happening around me, I came to realise that I am not alone. I could see many people were multi-tasking during lunch time when they are having their lunches. Their eyes were glued to the small smart phone screen, either chatting through messages, surfing or following up on Facebook and social media news.
Almost everyone is trying to “enjoy” themselves while eating, cherishing every second and minute to catch up with their “personal” lives. No one is truly focusing or concentrating on their food and I contribute this to current world that we live in now.
We have all not learned how to eat while we eat and sleep while we sleep. We try to achieve many things at the same time, causing our lifestyle to be so hectic and tiring.
If we are to think deeper, I believe that many famous works in this world (music, art, sculptures etc) are a result of full concentration and focus, when those artistes have had only one thing in their mind when they created their masterpiece.