If you have sensitive ears, this post is for you! While reading Rajneesh Osho’s ‘The Book of Secrets’ in which he discusses around 112 techniques to meditate, I came across a wonderful story – The Sound of One Hand. I can not help sharing it!
The master of Kennin temple was Mokurai, Silent Thunder. He had a little protege, Toyo, who was around twelve years old. Toyo used to run errands for the master and everyday he would observe seekers visit the master’s room to receive instruction in sanzen or personal guidance in which they were given koans to stop mind-wandering.
Toyo wished to do the same so one day, he put his head at the master’s feet and asked him for a Koan.
Mokurai refused initially but the child insisted, so the teacher finally consented.
Mokurai said – “Try to hear the sound of one hand. And when you have heard it, then come and tell me.”
Toyo bowed and went to his room. He tried and tried to listen to the sound of one hand but all he could hear was the music of the geishas, coming theough the window. “Ah, I have it!” he thought.
The next evening, when his teacher asked him about the sound of one hand, Toyo began to play the music of the geishas.
“No, no,” said Mokurai. “That will never do. That is not the sound of one hand. You’ve not got it at all.”
Toyo did not give up, every now and then he would find some sound but the master would object -“This is also not it. Go on trying, go on trying.”
Then one day, the boy didn’t come. The master waited and waited, and finally told his disciples to find Toyo. They found him sitting under a tree, absorbed – just like a newborn Buddha. They returned and told the master – “But we are afraid to disturb the boy. He is looking just like a newborn Buddha. It seems he has heard the sound.”
So, the master came, put his head at the boy’s feet and asked him, “Have you heard? It seems you have heard.” Toyo had entered true meditation and transcended all sounds. “I could collect no more,” the boy said, “so I reached the soundless sound.”
Osho goes on to explain as to what had happened to the boy, “The boy had tried since he was a simple boy and had complete faith in his master. Actually, there is no sound of one hand, but just an indirect method to create sensitivity, awareness. And one day, suddenly, everything disappeared for him. He was so attentive that only attention was there, so sensitive that only sensitivity was there, so aware – not of something, but simply aware!
This is a method to make you very delicately aware of the subtle nuances of sound. Center on the word ‘aum’ – a-u-m without any a or m. Just the u remains. You have to intone aum and feel it in three different sounds. Gradually, you will forget ‘aum’. Not only a and m will drop but there will be a state of soundlessness! The state of bliss!”
Images courtesy google
In the aftermath of the URI attack, when the tensions on the borders of India and Pakistan mounted, I was ironically making aquaintance with this lady from Pakistan on US soil.
I first met her when my older Son started Kindergarten. It was difficult for me to let my son go to the Big Kids School in the bus all by himself. In the afternoon, I reached the school bus stop very early to receive him. My son arrived and an older boy alighted from the bus next after him, carrying his water bottle.
The boy laughingly told me,” Everytime your son started to cry, I distracted him.” Taking the water bottle from him, I smiled and said, “Thank you!”
His mother had come to receive the older boy. She had her head covered like the Sikhs but was not wearing Vermilion or bindi like them. I gathered they were Muslims from India. She smiled at me and I smiled back. This is how I first met her!
Her apartment was close to mine and we walked a little together, talking casually about kids, work, weather etc. This became our daily routine.
But the day after the URI terrorist attack in Kashmir along the LOC, when every Indian across the world was outraged and shocked at the killing of brave Indian soldiers, she happened to tell me that she was from the enemy nation – Pakistan!
Something stiffened deep inside me although I did not show it. I mentally prepared myself to keep a distance from her.
As I looked back to hasten my son, an unexpected sight made my heart melt. Walking hand in hand with his Pakistani bhaiya (brother), my son looked cheerful for the first time he started school. He had made his first friend in school. They looked absolutely comfortable in each other’s company, ignorant of the fact that they belonged to two deadliest enemy nations of the world.
They were laughing, teasing and running around us, oblivious of the hate that surrounded their mother nations.
I stole a look at the lady from Pakistan. Apparently, she was having similar thoughts. She seemed worried about the heightened tension across the borders of the two neigbouring countries and for the safety of her family back home. Like me, perhaps even she did not want her kid getting lessons on hate in case the situation worsened. We were so similar yet so apart!
It seemed as if a thick line of uneasy thoughts seperated me and the lady from Pakistan. But not far behind us, our little boys, chased each other in blissful ignorance…!
It is simple! Just like being on a seesaw!
“Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God,” says Krishnamacharya. This exercise is liberating!
“The utility of this science (Yoga) is to bring out the perfect man, and not let him wait and wait for ages, just a plaything in the hands of the physical world, like a log of drift-wood carried from wave to wave and tossing about in the ocean. This science wants you to be strong, to take the work in your own hand, instead of leaving it in the hands of nature, and get beyond this little life. That is the great idea,” says Swami Vivekananda.
Yoga is our natural state, let’s get back to being peaceful and blissful!
Happy Yoga Day!
Images courtesy Google
But this particular quote by the great Richard Bach got me thinking.
You are always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past.
Choose a different past, really? What made Richard Bach write that? I thought.
Further research made me smile. I got my answer! Bach was right! Our past can really be changed. I learnt that our past is energy and made up of our experiences…of what we have gone through in our private world. If we change the way we look at our past, our past will take a different shape… thereby liberating us in our present and changing our future for better.
Even if two people were a part of the same incident, their perspective about it would differ from each other. Past is a variable…If it was invariable, every person in a particular time and place would have undergone exactly the same kind of emotions, same sort of feelings and level of trauma. But everyone has a different past. You and your sibling’s past could be similar but not same!
I learnt that our past can be changed by changing our perspective towards it, through creativity, positivity and visualization of the event. It can be changed through different ways, which you can read in this inspiring post here. (http://simonarich.com/change-your-past)
Dear confidantes, if something about your past is troubling you, take this journey – Go back in time, look at the incident as an observer and try to help your ‘stuck’ self there by being positive and strong. Tell yourself – you will emerge stronger after this! Be creative and strong as you live through it!
We derive strength from our past when we have a grim present…why not the other way round? Everything is possible!
Images courtesy Google