I was at the airport a couple of days back, waiting in the bus that was to transport us from the terminal to the plane. As the passengers climbed in with their luggage, a lady barged in craning her head in search of an empty seat and on seeing one next to me, darted to it in such haste that she toppled a little kid by her side. She did not stop to help. The kid was her own child.
I watched in bewilderment and wondered what it was that made the lady show such disregard. It was a short ride and given that she had just pushed aside quite a mass of people, she appeared more than able to stand even if she missed the coveted seat. In fact, in the few sentences we exchanged, she seemed a nice person, friendly and forthcoming. And yet something made her totally oblivious of her actions.
The Marching Band
Through our short flight, I wondered what it was that made people behave in strange ways – ways that they themselves would find unbecoming of them IF they sat and thought about it for a while. I realized, quite sadly, that most of us have been through times in our lives where we have rushed to things without always being aware of why we were rushing towards them. I am not only talking of the impulsive moments at the mall or in front of the fridge. I am talking of the general march of humanity at the drum roll of marketing and media. I am talking of the blind obedience to our own internal chatter – all without much thought.
How often do we step back and think of why we behave the way we do. When we do not make conscious decisions, our subconscious minds make them for us. Our every action and reaction has an origin. It could be in the habitual perceptions and interpretations we absorbed as younger versions of ourselves. It could be in emotion driven impulses that external forces often prey on. It could be in internal drives or external fears. But they all end up carving the direction of our lives.
The Voice of our True Selves
Perhaps my companion on the bus had a voice of past experiences in her head that boomed aloud “That’s a seat, grab it!!” Perhaps she had a strong feeling that she was tired and sitting down was all she wanted. But had she stopped for a few seconds and listened to the other voice that surely was within her, the voice of humanity that we often forget to nurture, she would have heard it remind her that being considerate of others is part of her human values. And the belief in this voice would have given her the strength to stand on her own 2 feet however tired she was.
Listening to our conscious voice is a skill that gets easier every time we use it. It begins to connect us to our identity and enables us to shape it in ways that brings us fulfillment and true happiness. It enables us to stop rushing to nowhere and walk with grace and confidence as the person that we are in the direction of the person we desire to become. And that eventually, is the journey of life.
Now I’d love to hear back from you! Do you step back every once in a while and listen to your gut feelings? Do you feel connected to your direction in life?