Today A Great Man Died

Call the mourners,

call the police.

Call the armoured army beasts.

Today a great man died!

 

He was a warrior, he was a prince.

Oh, he was a definite man of dreams!

It was the time when the whole world cried,

oh today a great man died!

 

Spend all the money over the burial,

his ghost must be filled with pride.

With his honour, his greatness and bravery,

oh, today a great man died!

 

He lies with his head held high,

and all his life committed to mankind.

But death is what he gave to himself,

and to men he turned blind.

 

Sadness over the dead overtakes

while lives mourn and cry.

No coin to tease, a stomach to feed

when great men all die!

 

World runs on cognition, they say

Calculated and measured every move.

And reasoned by men all grey,

what dead will now do prove?

 

To our tears, our sobs.

To bodies filled with sorrow,

to the men of daylight united mobs,

and to the hearts they borrow.

 

He went on his own, to rules abide.

He went on his way, none the side.

Fighting for people, caring alike,

Oh today! A great man died.

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Animal Lover

I have no clear idea of when I started to develop this intense love for animals. But I do remember this one time- I was about 5-6 years old, and I saw mom bring a few eggs home-to be cooked, obviously. I knew that those tiny little chicks hatched from these eggs, and that the mother keeps them warm till they are ready to hatch. And showing some courage, I went and stole an egg from the refrigerator, and hid it under my blanket, so it stays warm. I kept it there, right next to me on the bed, and while waiting for it to hatch (I actually believed it would), drifted off to sleep. Well, the egg didn’t hatch, but it sure created one hell of a mess.
I learnt one thing that day- that those eggs don’t hatch and that you never keep an egg on the bed (that had a greater impact because of all the shouting I received). I really wanted the egg to hatch though.
For a long time I’ve been asking my parents for a pet. But all I get is- “you can’t handle yourself, how will you handle another animal?”, and “you will go away to college or to work, and I’ll have to take care of all the mess that it creates”. And of course “you all are like animals only, please I don’t want any more.” I really can’t help but laugh at that one. And obviously there is that ‘no pets allowed in the apartment’ card that my mother uses all the time. I gave up after trying every possible way out to get a pet. None of my tricks worked- I mean, seriously, I even made them watch Hachiko! Even after all the tears!
Most of us will agree that company of animals is far better than that of humans. Even if they don’t know to communicate like humans do, but they sure know their own language of comfort, safety, and security. You know that when the world is against you, this one will stay right beside you at all times. And no matter what, they will never leave your side. They truly are our companions in sickness and in health. And hey, I just realised that being called an animal is actually a compliment! So next time someone calls you a bitch, cow or pig, just smile and say thank you!
All this has got me to contemplate and I’ve been thinking of joining an NGO that works especially for animals (in Bangalore I haven’t found any, and suggestions are welcome) and maybe becoming an Animal Rights Activist by profession. Well, only time will tell what it actually turns out to be.

Mindfulness Meditation

Several years ago, an experiment was done at Harvard University by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons. Students were asked to watch a bunch of people passing a basketball to each other and they had to count the number of times the ball was passed. Meanwhile, a man dressed as gorilla would walk in towards those people, stand right in between them, perform some action and then walk out. This might sound pretty stupid, but I bet you wouldn’t think so when I told you that half of the subjects in the experiment DID NOT SEE THE GORILLA. Surprising, isn’t it? I mean, how can anyone miss something that obvious? How can anyone not notice a gorilla pass by? The gorilla spent 9 seconds on screen- that’s a pretty long time- and yet, 50% of the people did not even notice it.

Just this video is enough to show us that we miss out so much of what happens around us- even if it’s right in front of our eyes. This nature of our brain to filter out information that we do not need to focus on, the information that is unwanted, and to focus on what is needed- is termed as selective attention. It’s better in a way that we can give all our attention to attend to what’s important- while filtering out what isn’t. However at the same time, it’s fascinating to think how it would be if we could be aware of, and focus on every little thing that happened around us.

And for that, meditation has been found to be very helpful. Meditation is a mental culture through which one can train their mind to increase concentration and awareness of what is happening in their body. It is broadly of two types- concentration meditation, that focuses on enhancing concentration, and insight oriented meditation or, more popularly known as mindfulness meditation, that focuses on the here and now. Mindfulness meditation helps you in being aware of what is happening around you- and of things as they happen in their natural way. This way, one can increase their attention span and even focus on little details that tend to be filtered out.

This can be done by anyone, provided he/she meditates in a particular posture. Its important that the person is calm and relaxed; and the surroundings are peaceful and quiet. The posture should be in the form of Padmasana, which is important so you don’t sleep. Eyes and mouth should be closed and spine should be straight.

Meditation not only helps you increase your concentration and attention, it also helps you become a better person. And when you successfully learn this art, maybe somewhere far away, you’ll see Buddha smiling. And till then, happy meditating!