I was scrolling through Quora when I stumbled upon the question: Has a person ever said something to you that made you rethink your life? It reminded me of a little incident.
Last term I went to an amazing Anglican-Muslim interfaith lecture series titled Dealing with Our Darknesses. The lectures were followed by small group discussions. During one of these discussions the participants were asked to introduce themselves with a bit of background. At the end of the discussion this 60-ish looking man with a British accent approached me—
“You have been quite the traveler! Bangladesh, then the UK, now Canada, where’s next?”
“I don’t know, wherever life takes me,” I responded.
“That is a great answer.”
His words stuck to my mind.
Life is just like a flowing river.
At times there are ups and downs, at other times it is monotonous. Along its journey the river picks up everything that falls into it. Some are significant enough to excite or interrupt its flow, others don’t cause much of an impact. Many of them flow along; some go only a short distance before sinking, some go a long way, possibly all the way, and others disappear instantly. But the river never stops flowing, carrying along all that can keep up with its flow. While blocking or going against this flow can be devastating, going along can take one to exciting new places.
He was taught by the river. Incessantly, he learned from it. Most of all,
he learned from it to listen, to pay close attention with a quiet heart,
with a waiting, opened soul, without passion, without a wish, without
judgement, without an opinion.
Let the river flow. You don’t know where you might end up, but that’s what makes the journey interesting.
“When someone is searching,” said Siddhartha, “then it might easily
happen that the only thing his eyes still see is that what he searches
for, that he is unable to find anything, to let anything enter his mind,
because he always thinks of nothing but the object of his search,
because he has a goal, because he is obsessed by the goal. Searching
means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having
no goal. You, oh venerable one, are perhaps indeed a searcher, because,
striving for your goal, there are many things you don’t see, which are
directly in front of your eyes.”