Share the Joy of Diwali

By Uma Srinivasan

Diwali celebrations are in the air.  Shops are filled with colourful lamps and mouth-watering sweets.   A palpable sense of well-being and contentment is upon us.

My mind wanders off to a nostalgic past, those distant days of symmetrical rangolis and diyas (little oil lamps) outside every house lighting up the whole street, little kids skipping around in their colourful new clothes, men and women buzzling about in their colourful outfits and silk sarees sharing sweets and greetings.

Diwali is here again. It is a time for us to set aside our little first world problems and concerns and open ourselves to be joyous and content.   As we meet and greet, we do feel a new burst of energy within and exude a sense of enthusiasm, which is quite contagious.

In fact, when I was at a conference last week, an Australian lady, a total stranger wished me happy Diwali, and went on to add how much she loved our way of celebrating Diwali by lighting lamps, visiting temples, and our way of spreading joy around.   She kept repeating ”˜I love your culture, I love your culture’.   I was delighted by her comments and struck by her generosity in sharing her thoughts with me –  a total stranger to her.   We both went back to our meetings with a warm glow in our hearts.

That made me wonder, wouldn’t it be nice to feel and share the same sense of well being always, no matter what the circumstance.   What could I do to be joyful always?   The thought stayed with me as I went to bed that day.

Next morning, as I went on my usual morning walk along the water front, I felt the balmy air, heard the sounds of the birds, and was ruminating on some thoughts expressed in a recent book on Mindfulness, by the great Buddhist teacher Tich Nah Than.   It suddenly dawned on me, that at that moment, I was in a beautiful place, literally and figuratively enjoying the moment.

Mindfulness says exactly the same thing. Stay in the present, let every moment be your moment, do not disperse your thoughts thinking about the future, which is not in your hands. This moment is here and be intensely aware of this moment ”“ no matter what you are doing.     And I realised that is what happens around Diwali, we stay in the present and enjoy the days around Diwali.

And it is while exploring the possibility of this interesting life style of enjoying the present moment, that I am able to see the connection between Karma Yoga, Mindful living and the potential possibility of being joyful all the time, by being joyful this moment.

Aren’t Karma Yoga and Mindfulness or Mindful living one and the same?  They are different ways of describing how to live in the present, be with the moment, enjoy and experience every action, focus on every task, and perform it with intense focus. And then this moment is all it is !

What if we bring Diwali into our lives every day and treat each moment, each activity as that one wonderful, most important activity of this moment.  Would we not finish every day with the same sense of joy and contentment shared during Diwali?



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