I've seen Anup, the Maali, spend a whole morning uprooting a portion of them in the garden. In the middle of hot summer days, he crouches, moving patch by patch, uprooting the weeds one by one - in an endeavour to remove them all. And he does it too. For a day or so there are no weeds to be seen, but then suddenly, like an underground army that's strategized to reclaim lost ground, it emerges as if by sleuth. They're all over the garden again and he gets down to removing them all over again - it's a never ending process. I once asked if it irks him to have to do this day in and day out, for it seemed like a thankless task. He said it did, but with the gravity of one rooted in the wisdom of the soil, he added "ab kissi ko toh karna hai, toh kar leta hu!"
Each day as I enjoy the grass underfoot and see the weeds sprawling across the lawn, or don't see them, I remember this conversation. It's so profound that I think it would be foolish to forget. We each have our chores in this world. Some we've chosen consciously and some we've inherited karmically. As Anup the Maali would advise it's got to be done, it's fallen in your lot, so may as well do it with grace. Easier said than done, isn't it?
For me, the most tedious of chores is not that different to what Anup the Maali does. I'm referring to weeding out the mind with its needless thoughts. Unlike his process where he tugs at a clump and uproots the offending weed, dealing with the mind is quite a bit different. But not unlike the weeds that stubbornly return, so do these thoughts, that doubt, that chide, that worry and more in the same vein. What I find most annoying is, having to deal with them, in some situation or other, or even with the same person, again and again. It never seems to end. But,as always, nature has her ways of reassuring. For today, I despair less of the relentless thoughts in this mind, knowing that weeds are persistent things and there's no point cursing them or one-self. I just need to do what's needed - weed them out, again and again.
Thinking about this, I passed by the Champa trees and took a long-long breath, with my nostrils deeply immersed, reaching towards the aromatic yellow centre of her sensual, creamy-white petals. It's such a sweet fragrance that one whiff just isn't enough. I've created a sort of ritual where I stop by, any, one group of flowers and take three long breaths. After each, sweet and aromatic breath, an almost involuntary thank you is voiced out loud. It’s just automatic, as if my soul is utterly grateful for this divine fragrance. And it is unquestionably divine, filling me so totally, in that moment with a sublime sense of being y- where regardless of how the day has unfolded, I feel so totally in love with life.
I want to hold onto this beautiful moment. I sit down on the bench a few yards away, facing the Champa trees and begin to write my thoughts on my iphone. I know that I'm trying to prolong a moment that's passed and can't be reclaimed. But writing has this way of indulging the senses in reliving the moment in memory. Recreating the scene or essence of, through words is akin to meditation, where my mind is totally focussed upon what I've seen, felt and experienced. It's not the same moment, but it's equally sublime.
I've countless things to tend to upstairs. The evening is passing, I don't really want to leave but soon a couple of flies come and sit on my arm, shoulder, legs, nose - just about everywhere - irritating me. I try swatting them away, and continue enjoying the summer evening pregnant with the promise of rain, but it's no good. Ants begin crawling up my legs and more flies flit around and sit all over me. I'm swamped with these creatures, as if nudging me to get up and get down to working again. I'd like to linger, but head upstairs instead, to tackle my share of thankless chores.