Our daily life presents us with wonderful opportunities of mindful living and the other day a simple conversation with my little 5 year old son made me realise the powerful potential that each moment presents to us and our capacity to either harness it or ignore it has the power to plant the seeds of endless future possibilities which we cannot see today.
I would really hardly call myself a drinker and a single glass of wine maybe once a couple of months socially almost qualifies me as a teetotaller. But the other day, while we were sipping a glass of wine, on a rainy late evening, my son came there and asked me a simple pointed question. He came up to me and said “Maa, isn’t alcohol harmful for health? Don’t you know that? Then how come you are having it?” And as most adults would, I went on to explain to him that one glass of wine occasionally is not harmful and anything that is done in the right balance is not harmful to our health. He seemed unsatisfied, had a disturbed look on his face and said “But it’s still alcohol!” and then went about his way. :(
I felt very uneasy after that incident. As a logical adult, I know for a fact that one glass of wine perhaps once a couple of months does absolutely no harm to our health. But then, why am I feeling uncomfortable? What is this situation trying to teach me? I wondered. Here is a little boy bringing a lesson to me, what am I missing out here? His face kept coming to me and I could imagine both of us having the exact same conversation a few years down the line in reverse roles. I couldn’t reach a resolution. So I thought that if I let this just stay with me, it will eventually lead me to the answer.
And co-incidentally, these days I am reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s book called “The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching” and a couple of days later I reached the part on page 97 where he explains an exact similar situation about a woman having wine! He explains beautifully that the Ministry of Health in France advises people not to drink too much. They advertise on television that “One glass is ok, but three glasses invites destruction.” But if the first glass were not there in the first place, how could there be a third glass? Not having the first glass of wine is the highest form of protection. He goes on to say that if you give up wine, you’ll be doing it not only for yourself but also for your children and the society. You may not have the seeds of alcoholism in you, but who knows whether the seed of alcoholism is in your children!
Oops!! This hit me like a bull’s eye! This is a bit much of a co-incidence. Was this the resolution that I was looking for? I thought. Most of us on the spiritual path are well aware of the concepts and ideas that there are actually no co-incidences and that the universe sends it’s messages to us in strange little ways. We are well aware and well-read about the concepts of our wise new age children. But do we have the courage to act upon these messages and listen to them when they actually happen in our life or do we just simply ignore them? That is a true test of our beliefs.
So, I decided to take this message from the Universe seriously and act on it. I went up to my little baby and told him that he was indeed right. One glass of wine is still alcohol and that I do not really need to consume it at all to feel good or comply socially. I thanked him for being so wise and pointing it out to me bravely. He looked very delighted with this and the look on his face itself was worth the decision for me. :)
Some people may call this extreme or too moralistic but I call this heart based living. Doesn’t make logical sense but feels right to me. This may not make me very popular but then again I am not here to be popular, am I? I am here to follow my deeper purpose in complete harmony with the Universe. So many people have wines and all sorts of things and this situation does not happen to them, does it? Maybe giving up wine may not be in tandem with their purpose in life, which is great for them. But it did happen to me! So I have to have the spine and respect and honour it for what it is.
And in a way I am also not very surprised as I realise that this is not way out of line of where I am naturally heading towards too.. I am already a vegetarian.. literally a vegan.. can't really consume animal products anymore....done with the lattes, milk chais, cheese, paneer and yoghurts also...So I guess, there goes my indulgence of a glass of wine too!! :) It's almost like a natural guided progression.. something which I am not even actively advocating.. Its just happening effortlessly and I am observing it.
Also today, I have no idea what this simple act of giving up my glass of wine based on my son’s observation may have an impact on mine or his future life or the society that he will operate in. And when he grows up I don’t want to hold him to it as a tit for tat and a reason for him to not touch alcohol. Ofcourse, he will go through his own experiences of what this world has to offer. But I am sure that this tiny incident is etched forever as a part of his life story and his consciousness. Maybe it will help him in his darkest hour or maybe he will probably amusingly tell this story to his grandchildren and that itself will have it’s own ripple effects on that future generation. I cannot see those ripple effects today. But I do know that today I was presented with an opportunity to plant this seed of Right Action which may grow into a beautiful tree somewhere tomorrow. Isn’t that what mindful living is all about? :)