Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Miss Lulu pays a visit

Life is a great teacher.
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Once it sets it's mind on a Lesson, it does not get distracted, and more importantly, it does not give up. No matter how slow, stubborn or resistant it's student may be, life has mastered the art of driving a Needle through a Tank.
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Just as well, really. For some of us usually miss the Lesson, time and time again. We walk through life arrogantly, wearing our impenetrable armour, blissfully ignoring life's trusted assistant, The Pink Flying Elephant, who comes our way with an envelope secured to Her tusks. The note reads: Wake up you Fuddle-Duddle, here is your latest Life-Lesson!
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As we all surely know, a visit from The Pink Flying Elephant is a rare occasion, for She is only summoned at the most pivotal moments, to deliver the weightiest Lessons. Given the graveness of her position and responsibility, I've decided to call her Miss Lulu. (For understanding of obsession with naming things, please refer to earlier post).
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Miss Lulu's friend. Not as pink, but then Miss Lulu doesn't judge by skin colour.
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Lately, I've found myself in frequent company of Miss Lulu.
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I can see you, at the edge of your seat, about to slide off onto your knees, hands clasped, gazing at me in veneration, asking: How, how O Great One, have you managed that?
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It's no great secret - in fact it has happened quite by accident. All I did was move away from things familiar to me, and now, out of my comfort zone, I am forced to tune in to my environment. For reasons as selfish as self-preservation, I have to be more aware and sensitive to what goes on around me. And now I see Miss Lulu more clearly than I ever did before.
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However, mere mortal that I am (shocking, I know :p), I probably still miss quite of a few Lessons, and misinterpret the rest. Yet, I am unperturbed, for I trust life (or Miss Lulu) to be stubborn enough to keep coming at me with that well-used Needle, until I get it right.
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My recent Lesson was delivered in a most round-a-bout, round-the-bush, round-the-world fashion. It started with an absolute failure with books - since the start of 2009, I have remained sufficiently unimpressed with each one that has crossed my path. One was so unbearable that for the first time, I broke my own rule of never leaving a book unfinished. This desperation to read something worthy drove me to spend a hopeful afternoon in a bookstore, where Voila! Miss Lulu came to me in the form of Richard Dawkins.
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I should like to write much more about Richard Dawkins. But I also don't want to digress. For now, it suffices to say that he is an evolutionary biologist, a keen believer of Darwinism, the author of The God Delusion, and, perhaps most relevant to my Lesson, an atheist.
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And what was I doing with a book like The God Delusion, you might ask. Besides the fact that it seems to have broken my Midas curse of turning books to dust (i.e. I actually enjoyed it), I will boldly declare it to be one of the books that has helped me affirm my faith even further. Quite the opposite effect that dear Richard intended, I think, but oh well, we all have our little disappointments!
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The reason I brought it up is this: one of the arguments laid forth in his book is that humanity and compassion should surely surpass belief in God as desired virtues. If we spent less time in religious practice and more time serving the universe, would that not be a better use of our time and energy?
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To the average reader, I suspect this suggestion might be considered sacrilegious.
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The enlightened would instead respond: but that is exactly what my faith is all about. For the act of caring for creation is in itself a salute to the Creator.
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It is easy to love a flower.

If life was to put a name to this Lesson, I think it would be called: A Lesson in Love. Bringing me towards this book reminded me that perhaps the greatest form of worship is the service of the world we live in. Sikhs of course understand this concept as Seva. But this is not Seva as we understand, or rather misunderstand it. This is Seva as in Manas Ki Jaat Sabhe Eykay Pehchaanbo, recognising the human race as one (Guru Gobind Singh).

As much as it sounds like a happy-daisy, care bear, slightly-on-a-high philosophy, I think it's also the toughest one there is. To utterly and totally love one person is challenging enough. But to take that concept and extend it to every living, breathing organism we know and will know of? That is near-impossible. Almost as impossible as believing in the existence of Miss Lulu.

Logically, though, if we think about it, this should be the easiest thing there is! If I can accept that we are all made of the same elements and by the same creator, and that He/She lives in all of us, then you are really just an extension of me. How hard can it be to love an extension of myself? Even if that extension was large enough to stretch my imagination?

Don't we all know the answer to this one - EGO :) It's all about me, honey. Me, and MY love, and MY God, and MY faith. By the time I've filled in the 'me's, there is no room for anything else, not even for Miss Lulu's Needle of Life-Lessons. By filling all the space out with Me, we paradoxically create a vacuum where there is nothing.

Miss Lulu had one more point to make. Just in case I got the message wrong, and only remembered to love humanity, She caused me to witness a fascinating incident.

It was lunchtime at work, and we were enjoying the sunny day by eating outside.

Enter: Pigeon. Sad, scruffy looking pigeon.

Enter: Nice Lady, on the phone.

Enter: RSPCA, on the line with Nice Lady.

If you've lived in London (perhaps this is also true in other parts of the world), you learn to dismiss pigeons very quickly. Much to the public's distaste, they are everywhere, they are a nuisance (so much so that people console each other by saying that it's lucky if they poop on you), thus leading to the unaffectionate label of 'pest'. Besides an obsession with the weather and a love for curry, nothing unites Londoners more than an utter loathing of pigeons.

But how does one love a mushroom? Asks she, who does not love mushrooms.
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Which is what made this incident so much more meaningful. Nice Lady had seen Scruffy Pigeon, noticed that it was injured and could not fly, and had called the RSPCA to rescue it.
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I know. I could barely believe it myself.
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I'm not sure if you want to sit down for this, but the more heart-warming thing is that someone from the RSPCA actually came. And rescued the pigeon. She took it away to nurse it back to health.
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In case you missed a paragraph earlier:
London Pigeon = people no like = pest.
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Sometimes it's easier to love a haystack.
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I don't think there is much more to say. If this isn't a Lesson in Love, I don't know what is. This was Miss Lulu at her finest; Needle through Tank.
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I know that this Lesson is not over. Love is the Mother of All Lessons; it will need frequent reminding, all the more because it is so easily forgotten. Or perhaps we choose to forget it, as we push difficult things under the carpet to worry about later, when we're older, better, wiser.
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I know Miss Lulu will be back again. Perhaps with a different Lesson, perhaps with the same one. Either way, I will keep my window open for her arrival, beautifully bubbly and Pink, flying towards me with yet another priceless Life-Lesson.
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You should too.

3 comments:

Harkiren Kaur said...

I feel obliged to admit that the pictures that accompany the post are somewhat random and perhaps disappointing. Rest assured that this is not because of an absence of thought put into them, but a sheer lack of suitable pictures.

Yes, Miss Lulu, I hear you. She says: start taking more Love-ly pictures then, and you won't have that problemm again. Isn't She just an Ocean of Good Advice?

Oh and I also hope I don't have to clarify that I don't actually see/ talk to/ get visited by Pink Flying Elephants. It's just the form my conscience takes to drive a point home. No one is that weird, really...!

Satnam

Pashmina said...

:) Just read my first little piece of Harkiren-ness, n I absolutely loved it; it completely resonated with me on so many levels. Feel very grateful to have been blessed with my little piece of Harkiren for the day (not to mention Miss Lulu too :)...)..Much love xxx

Balvinder Singh said...

I actually liked the randomness of the pictures...a slight digression sometimes helps to keep the mind focused...or so i think...good read...keep em' coming...