The first and only time I got stung by a jellyfish was at Pondicherry beach. I must have been 10 or 11 and our parents had taken us for a holiday. Those days our family was in startup phase. My father had recently setup his factory, and it hadn't started production for over a year due to some government issues. My mother had just started her pottery studio in the basement of our rented duplex apartment. We moved around in an old second hand jeep. Life was simple and holidays were either to visit family, or small trips nearby.
Going to Pondicherry was a treat. That was also the trip when my father took us to a 5-star restaurant for a buffet meal for the very first time. My sister and I were blown away by the variety of the food, and the fact that you could help yourself as many times as your stomach and heart desire!
Getting bitten by that jellyfish was a big disappointment. Suddenly, the entire feeling and tone of the trip changed. Of course it was painful. But, suddenly it seemed that the party was over. The sunshine had gone and sky had turned dark. The mood was no longer joyous.
I remember a couple of such incidents in my life. We had gone to a zoo, and while crossing to the road to enter the facility, a scooter banged into me and I broke my arm. The party was over.
I had a beautiful friendship with a sweet girl in high school. One day she stopped returning my calls. The party was over.
I was rejected by my dream company because I was too late in responding to their job offer. The party was over.
The fear of the party coming to an end has been real for me. I don't want good times to end. I don't want things to turn sour. I don't want unexpected problems and thorns to arise.
But life is unpredictable and things do change.
The party does come to an end, sometimes.
'If I cant be at peace right now, with how my life is, then there is no object, no situation, or no person who can make me happy in the future.'
If my peace of mind is dependant on something outside of me - validation, a relationship, a possession, my identity, my house, my car, my friends - then the party will surely soon come to end. Then there is no option but to keep hopping from party to party.
Except in the most extreme of situations, I need to be able to see the perfection of life right now.
Things may have broken.
People may have left me.
I may have lost what I value.
Failure and rejection might happen.
Yet, the the real party is between our ears and inside our chest. It is how we choose to think and feel. The real party is in learning to trust in the intelligence of life.
The real party is inside us.
Maybe your heart is broken. Maybe you can't stop crying. Maybe you no longer have the strength to hope.
But believe me, the party is still on. At any moment, there are millions of chemical, electrical and mechanical reactions taking place inside our body. It is like a discotheque with flashing lights, rhythmic music and thumping on the dance floor. You are alive. It literally is a party. Take a few moments and do this little mindfulness meditation right now:
Close your eyes, and shift your attention away from your thoughts.
Shift your focus to the party going on inside your body.
Become aware of all the tiny little physical sensations and movements going on inside.
Yes, things are moving inside your body. There are sounds too.
Pay attention to all that is happening within you.
Thoughts will come. Thats ok. Pay attention to them too. But don't build on them. Don't get involved in them too much. Just watch them and gently shift your attention back to the party inside.
Sit in a relaxed pose with your feet on the ground or crossed legged. Keep your spine erect and place your hands on your lap. Relax, breathe easy, close your eyes and do this now if you can. If not, do it later today itself.
Join the party.
We live way too much in the world of our thoughts. We live way too little in our body.
Even science is discovering this - intelligence resides not just in our head, but in our entire body. A network of nerves and neurons run through every part of our body. There are neural networks that exist in our heart and our guts too. Thats right, the term 'gut sense' is very real. But beyond that, every cell in our body has multiple electro-chemical functions taking place all the time. There is intelligence.
We have lost the art of tapping into the intelligence that lies within our body. We have started trusting only our 'thoughts'. We have stopped (or reduced) trusting the intelligence of life.
Stop living in your head all the time.
Go inside your own body.
Join the party.
I know you are ambitious and there is so much you want to do and experience in life. I pray that all those things happen for you. I wish you all the strength and love that the universe has to offer you.
And through this letter I wish you remind you (yes, because as newborn infants inside our mothers tummies, we already knew this), that the party is inside you.
I'll see you on the dance floor sometime soon.