Evening walk by the river gave me a chance to slow down and let my unfinished thoughts of the day to have a rest and a harmonious conclusion. The sunset over the river gave me energy and encouragement to be strong and live in the present. Comparing with my wealthy relatives’ lives, I had a lot to be grateful for even though they viewed me as rather disappointing relative in terms of financial status and achievements. Meeting them at a funeral, I was shocked by the tolls of stressing lifestyles on their physical appearances. They all seemed to age very fast in a few years and their mind seemed to burdened by many worldly problems. I couldn’t help feeling very sorry for them but I had to keep my distance as a poor relative. Rich people wouldn’t want to keep poor people as friends as they were afraid of having to lend money without ever get it back!
I was lucky to have a completely different philosophy of life from all my elders and relatives. I tried to have simple lifestyle with self-sufficiency as my long term goal. I took the decision not to get involved in business and politics. So, I couldn’t make enough money to get a new car and I couldn’t be extravagant even on special occasions. I have become used to wanting very little and becoming very satisfied with small blessings by Mother Nature. Looking at colourful sunset by the river made me much happier than being invited to a party or wedding in luxurious hotel.
I have been trying to strengthen my body with weight lifting and stretching exercises so that I would have the strength and stamina for heavy gardening tasks. Over the last few years I have become much more confident of what I was doing and planning for long term survival. But this would be a long term goal as trees and plants would take about five years to grow to fruition. Many hard wood trees would be financially rewarding in the future.
But the routine tasks of trimmimg and pruning long branches of forest trees continued to consume lots of our time. We couldn’t finish all the tasks we listed each day. Time seemed to slip by too fast and unexpected things cropped up to disrupt our routine. Sometimes my gardener was too hot-headed and insisted on cutting all the tall weeds. I had to remind her not to be too extreme at the cost of her health. Then she would complain of backache afterwards, so I had to get some oilment for her back.
Almost two weeks ago, I exceeded my physical capacity and injured my back. I was so stubborn and wanted to finish the task in one hour. So, I ignored the strange feeling in my back. The pain started to bite me during the night and I could hardly sleep. The inflammation of the muscles was rather deep and caused tremendous pain throughout the six days. I could hardly do any housework or lift anything without sharp pain in my back. I was forced to admit that my body wasn’t a metallic machine but made of soft flesh and muscles with some creaky skeleton.
This realisation came as a shock to me as I had become used to achieving my assigned tasks without any hiccups everyday. So, I have taken for granted that my body would always work as my command. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay enough respect to my body which was supposed to be a temple for my spiritual goals. It was very foolish of me to let my desire silent the voice of wisdom which tried to stop me from continuing my task. This was a very painful lesson which has become a pivotal moment in my life.
After having to lie still for six days with pain and fever, my body refused to digest hard food. So I was on a diet with protein drinks and some fruits. The whole week was a revelation of how the body worked and healed itself. I never felt so weak and helpless like that before. This taught me so many things about life, health and the healing process. The body is very vulnerable and a low threshold for pain from injury. This is a very important ‘vehicle’ for living a normal everyday life. So, I should never take my body for granted and should respect its limitations.
Surprisingly, this phase of illness took me one week to be fully recovered. The back pain just disappeared and I could use my left arm again. But my physical strength and mental agility were half gone during my compulsory fasting. This gave me a chance to observe changes in my brain and its stability each day while I tried to replenish nourishment and minerals in my body. Now I knew how to quickly rehabilitate malnourished brain and body. This was a major learning process for me about the transient nature of body and mind.
Unexpected accidents or calamity could end my living body and mind in an instant. I realise I have but a very short time on earth to live a good life and find the path to ‘enlightenment’. So, each moment becomes very precious and the little joyful moments on earth have become so precious to me. I am very grateful to all the blessings and divine assistance; Mother Nature has been very kind and generous to me and all those in my house. I just wish I could maintain the awareness and mindfulness throughout the day, everyday.
Wishing you peace, good health and prosperity.
Stay strong and cheerful.