If – Rudyard Kipling

Came across this Kipling poem again after a while – it seems just scripted for our times, isn’t it?….

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

comfortable silences?

There we are – guests (as airlines like to call their passengers these days), waiting anxiously for the boarding announcement of the day’s first flight. There’s an uncomfortable silence in the air.

I go back to a childhood memory – to a family evening on the porch. Dad has a book and a comfortable chair, mom and sister are out in the garden tending plants with care, a visiting aunt has her embroidery going and I am happily perched on the floor with a few hundred building blocks in my hand. Silence reigns – but unlike in the first paragraph, a very comfortable silence.

Which brings me to the question on hand, which one would I rather have?

– Some restful music in the background, a drink and a good book in my hands – as I rest in the lounge playing back a hundred times in my head the “escalation meeting” that is on my agenda for tomorrow?

– The ability of the young world traveller travelling economy class to be serenely absorbed in a tome on world culture as she rests on her backpack – unmindful of the cacophony of announcements in a strange language and a foreign land?

What wins – Material abundance and a poverty of peace, or limited means but unlimited freedom?

Pondering over this, I walk to get some more coffee and come across a gentleman pushing sixty years reclining on one of the plusher sofas; eyes closed, a wide smile on his face. He’s dressed in an impeccable sit and on his tummy, lies a book half read – and Eckhart Tolle smiles from its cover.

There’s a lesson here I understand – and while my mind starts its quest for it, my body goes searching for the caffeine.

And then it hits me. This man is the answer. Perspective comes first and blooms into inner stillness.Thats all we ever really need,

First class travels – or for that matter a backpack and torn jeans – have nothing to do with silence whatsoever. From inner stillness comes comfortable silences no matter where you are – in a executive lounge or at the bazaar. Agree?