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July 21, 2019

What Rumi taught me about being in present

“A Small Green Island

There is a small green island
where one white cow lives alone, a meadow of an island.
The cow grazes till nightfull, full and fat,
but during the night she panics
and grows thin as a single hair.
What shall I eat tomorrow? There is nothing left.
By dawn the grass has grown up again, waist-high.
The cow starts eating and by dark
the meadow is clipped short.
She is full of strength and energy, but she panics
in the dark as before and grows abnormally thin overnight.
The cow does this over and over,
and this is all she does.
She never thinks, This meadow has never failed
to grow back. Why should I be afraid every night
that it won’t. The cow is the bodily soul.
The island field is this world where that grows
lean with fear and fat with blessing, lean and fat.
White cow, don’t make yourself miserable
with what’s to come, or not to come.”

Excerpt From A Year with Rumi
Coleman Barks



Last night, I read this poem by Rumi in the book called “A year with Rumi” and it just made so much sense. It felt as if it was meant for me in that moment especially considering the fact that I have had that book since the beginning of the year but only felt like reading it yesterday.

This year, I got into NYU, a really phenomenal university and I felt that I had it all. I was so pumped — I mean I was supposed to go to that university, meet new people, get a degree and get a really good high paying job and then eventually open my own business. I had it all planned in my mind but all that came crashing down when I got to know that I wasn’t going to be able to go to NYU.

I was devastated will be putting it very lightly. I was going to live in new york(with rats) one minute and then in the next minute I was not. Most importantly I was confused how was everything that I had figured out going to happen if the first step in the whole process was not going to happen.

I cried.. cried.. and cried.

I know it wasn’t the end of the world but it kind of felt like that. I asked my mom and another person who I trust A LOT about what should I do cause I was like a lost baby in a carnival. Both of them co-incidentally or not said the same — to ask about clarity regarding the whole situation and have ease while doing so.

I did exactly that for the next couple of days and things started to finally make sense. I withdrew my application and started to apply for colleges in Delhi. Interestingly, I didn’t get into any of the colleges of my preference even though I had wonderful grades and had to enrol into a college that I had not even heard of before. Basically, a set back again. There went another of one of my plans to finish undergrad at the best of the college in Delhi.

Naturally, I started to plan for more options. January intake, Skip year, Australian universities, new zealand universities, Canadian universities and what not. You know what, I wasn’t even living in the present anymore, all I could think about was the future. Every second of the day was spent thinking of the next day without even realizing that what’s going to happen is going to happen anyways, no matter how much I try to control it, plan it or destroy it.

I planned everything about NYU but still what happened, happened. I am in no way saying to just rely on destiny, I don’t believe in destiny much myself but instead of being miserable like the cow thinking of tomorrow rather just count the blessings of the present. I was blessed to be in a college while so many people I knew didn’t even get into one. And what if the college I am going to might just be contributive, fun and everything that I thought it wasn’t going to be cause it wasn’t my first preference? Or not? But that was something to find out rather to be miserable thinking about.

So my readers, if you have been or are or maybe might be in a situation where you feel like me, I’d like you to do me a favor and do a couple of things.

1) Ask for Clarity

Just ask what would it take for you to have clarity about the situation that you are in? I know what it feels like to be in that situation; our thoughts are clouded, we don’t know what to do but the truth is sometimes what is supposed to done is right there in front us amongst all the cloudy confusing mess. And often times, the things are so simple that we can’t just help ourselves but create complications and unclarity so as to believe that it cannot be that simple. Only if we were not humans rather unicorns. Sigh…

Another thing that is very important is that we remove all the previous notions and point of views we have regarding that situation and think from a fresh and clear mind without all the cloudiness.

2) What is right about this?

Naturally, the first thing we think when something doesn’t work out the way we wanted it to is what went wrong? What did I do wrong? Or the best one we make the whole situation wrong. BUT that is really the time to ask “What is right about the situation that I am not getting?”

There is always something right or meaningful about it that we are just overlooking by focusing on the wrong. Just trust.

3) Live in the present

This one is quite self explanatory. Whenever you feel like you are not being in the present and rather trying to live in the future just remember to not be the cow. The cow was very well taken care of, you will be too.

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