Against The Stream ~ TAKE A BREAK — HAVE A HOLIDAY

WHY DO WE INSIST ON cutting life up into parts— the ordinary and the special, the mundane and the supramundane, the holy and unholy, etc? Is life really divisible like that, or is that just our way of looking at it?

We torture ourselves with our ideas and never see things clearly. We spend our time grubbing in the dirt for money and exhaust ourselves in this pursuit. Then we look forward to a ‘holiday’, little knowing what this word means, but taking it to mean a day or days when we don’t need to work. Do you know what it means? It means holy day.

Most of us think there are only a few ‘holy days’ each year— that is, days we regard as ‘special’ and of greater religious significance than others. But this is only an idea; in reality, no day is more special than any other. For example: today is the 28th of September, 1998. Has there ever been a 28th of September 1998 before today? And will there ever be a 28th of September 1998 after today? No, because there is only one today, whatever date we may give it, and that is what makes it special and important and holy. Yesterday has gone, and tomorrow never comes; we have only today, and so should regard it as a holy day (holiday). Whether we have to work or not, stay home or go away on vacation, doesn’t change the fact that it is a special and therefore a holy day.

Every year has 365 holidays, and each one of them has religious significance; we can make every day a holiday by living religiously. Religion should not be kept in the closet with our best clothes, to be brought out only on special occasions and then put back in the closet with the moth-balls, but should be an ordinary, every-day, special thing.

Dharma should be at the center of our lives, around which all our activities turn, not something at the circumference, which we think about only now and then; it should be something that regulates our lives.

Today is like a new land
Where no-one’s been before—
Full of things to learn about,
Enjoy, discover, explore.

When we wake up in the morning, surprised to find ourselves still alive, we should face the day with a spirit of adventure, eager to discover and learn what it has to offer.

Some people say: "My life is so boring; nothing interesting ever happens to me!" This, of course, is not true; life is never boring; instead, it is we who are bored and dull, not seeing the wonderful things around us; it is as if we are asleep, even while our eyes are open.

And, just as every day is a special day— no day being more special or important that another, unless we make it so— in the same way, every person is a special person, because each person is that person, and not another. Already, just as we are, we are special, without doing anything or trying to be so. However, because we do not see this, we are not content to be special in our own unique way, so we try to be special, and in this we are not special, as so many other people are doing the same thing: trying to be special, different and better than others. There is no need to try to be special; just discover who you are. You are not me; I am not you. Be yourself!

And, before you go to sleep, mentally review the events and activities of the day just past. If you lived well, you may sleep peacefully with a smile on your face, thinking: "How lucky! I lived through another day, and am still alive!"

A life unlived and wasted is a cause for sorrow, but a life well-lived brings spiritual satisfaction.

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