We can define our life in many ways – as a set of experiences, as the number of projects executed, as a game, as the number of breaths still left for each one of us etc. In fact, Scott Hanselman (coder, writer, speaker and teacher) looks at life in a totally unexpected dimension, in his interesting website (http://keysleft.com). The site greets us with a grim pronouncement: ‘You have a finite number of keystrokes left in your hands before you die.’
Of these many ways to measure, express and define life, the most commonly used and understood tool has been the ‘Time’.
Each one of us, when born, is supposedly given a life that is measured as 100 years of existence on this planet. As time flows by, the life measure keeps depleting like the upper layer of a sand clock. However, unlike the sand clock, the time so far spent or exhausted in our life is never perceptible to our senses and mind, which is tragic. As a result, we often become forgetful of time and live under an unconscious assumption that the upper layer is inexhaustible and perennial. We believe, deep inside our hearts, that death is far-from-real. Unfortunately, this flaw in the mind is compounded by its ignorance about what measure of life (viz., total years of existence) has been preordained for us, when we were born.
A cricket player (batsman), who is playing a limited-over game (of 50 overs) when he starts to bat, understands that he has only 300 balls left to make a really big score. And as each over gets completed, he is constantly reminded of ‘overs completed’ and ‘overs left’, which helps him continuously redesign his innings, in order to maximize his score. Similarly, a person driving to catch an airplane, knows at any time, exactly how much time is left in order to reach the airport and accordingly keeps constantly re-calibrating his driving parameters like route, speed etc.
Is not our larger life similar to these micro-scenarios. Should we not play the game of life with constant awareness of ‘How much has been spent’ and ‘What is left’?
A person rushing to catch a plane, will not stop over on the way, for a coffee OR for answering a phone call. A batsman in a rush to score runs will never allow himself to be distracted by anything else that will make him lose runs for a ball.
Then, why in our normal course of life, we often (in fact, for many of us, always) utterly lose track of what we are supposed to be thinking, speaking and doing OR rather what we are supposed to be NOT thinking, NOT speaking and NOT doing?
I recall a parable of ‘Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’ that I read long back. It was something like this:
A certain man, once went to a theater to watch a drama, carrying a mat under his arm. Someone told him that it would take a while before the performance commenced. Unable to sit quiet in anticipation, he spread the mat on the floor and dozed off. When he woke up the drama was over. He returned home with the mat under his arm!
Forgetting the purpose that we have set out for, unaware of the number of keystrokes left in our hands or ignorant of the number of remaining Sundays in our lives, should we continue scattering our attention, energies and time on stuff that do not matter even a wee bit in our lives?
1. Let us identify and list seven things in our life on which we have been squandering our attention, energies and time, all these years.
2. Let us banish these stuff forthwith from our consciousness, lock, stock and barrel.
Elvis has not yet left the building!