Fleeting Four Days
Time, or lack thereof, is usually our top excuse for not doing something we know we should be doing. We avoid everything from exercising to visiting the dentist, because we think we don’t have enough time. Time flies and before you know it, a month or a year has gone by usually leaving us with little to show for it. Burdened by our heavy workload and responsibilities, a free moment has become a precious commodity.
The logical approach to this problem would be to utilize our time efficiently and not waste it. Our aim therefore is to meticulously plan our days to create free-time – time we would not ordinarily have if we did not plan carefully.
However, while we strive to achieve perfection in our time management, often we end up squandering or misusing our time. It could be by staying up late and binge-watching TV shows or spending countless hours on social media or playing addictive games on our computer. In our hi-tech lifestyle, there are myriad ways to distract our attention.
From where does this contradiction arise? We know what is right and what is good, yet we choose not to do it. Our mind persuades us to do the opposite with relative ease. Why is it so easy to turn off our phone and spend three hours in a cinema completely engaged, but find it so difficult to do the same when we sit for meditation?
Spiritual masters teach us from their own personal experience, and reassure us that twenty-four hours is ample time to carry out our responsibilities towards our livelihood, our families and our spiritual practice. Spirituality does not require us to give up anything, become a recluse, or even stop watching TV and movies. It does, however, require us to live a balanced life while keeping meditation a top priority.
Dear, without achieving anything you will depart.
It is high time that you learnt some wisdom.
You may make merry for the fleeting four days,
You will at last be humbled, for sure….
On what have you spread your feet?
It will last but a fleeting moment.
For the winking of an eye, this fair will last;
Do something, your time is short.
This day, this minute, is a rare occasion.
On what have you spread your feet?
Bulleh Shah clearly understood how precious our time is. He reminds us about our fleeting four days of human life and urges us to make them count.
The resolution to our living in constant contradiction and disconnect is the setting of priorities and learning to keep a balance. Not knowing how to balance our time often results in prioritizing almost everything else above our spiritual practice. We then do meditation as a chore and try to fit it into our routine, rather than building our routine around our meditation.
To make a change, introspection is the key. We need to think deeply about what we want from life. If all we want is to enjoy life to the fullest and cherish each moment, then that is certainly an easy goal to accomplish. If our focus is to earn a comfortable living, raise a family, be happy and eventually retire, that too is a rather simple and obtainable task.
However, if we want to learn about the mysteries of our origin, realize who we are, where we have come from, and for what purpose; if we want to understand the nature of our relationship with God, realize his splendour and magnificence, and experience infinite peace, bliss, grace, tranquillity and true love, then that is a more challenging but immensely more rewarding pursuit. A task for which we need to prioritize our life’s activities, remain focused, and not waste our fleeting four days.
We think, “I would very gladly take an interest in spiritual things and in prayer, but I have no time. The fuss and cares of life give no chance for such a thing.” Yet what is really important and necessary – salvation and the eternal life of the soul, or the fleeting life of the body on which we spend so much labour?
The Way of a Pilgrim