Reflecting on Life | The Hare's Perspective - a Perspective in Pandemic Times
It is said that every story has three sides, one each for the
two parties and the third i.e. "the truth". I received an
interesting read from my friend Mandeep Azad and I
thought it was too good not to share the same. It speaks about
the "Zen Version of an Old Fable" i.e. the hare and tortoise,
their race, the result and reflections for the many years
Interestingly, the Hare has his on side of the story and his perspective - when you see it from his side it is another fantastic life lesson. So let us dwell on the same.
"Yes, I am the hare who lost. No, I did not get lazy or complacent." Let me explain. I was hopping over the meadows near the hills, and looked back to realize that the tortoise was nowhere to be seen. Assured of my healthy lead, I decided to take a short nap under the large banyan tree near the pond.
The anticipation of the race had kept me up all night. For days, that old silly tortoise had boasted about his ability to plod for hundreds of miles without stopping. Life is a marathon, he said, not a sprint. I wanted to show him that I could run both far and fast. The shade of the tree was like an umbrella. I found an almost oval rock, covered it with grass and turned it into a makeshift pillow. I could hear the leaves rustling and the bees buzzing – it felt they were conspiring to put me to sleep and it didn’t take them long to succeed. I saw myself drifting on a log in a beautiful stream of water. As I came near the shore, I found an old man, with a white flowing beard, sitting on a rock in a meditative pose. He opened his eyes, gave me an all-knowing smile and asked...
Old Man: "Who are you and what are you doing?"
Hare: I am the fastest hare and I am running a race!
Old Man: "Why? With whom?"
Hare: "With that silly tortoise who keeps mocking me and to prove to all that I am the fastest."
Old Man: "Why do you want to prove that you are the fastest?”
Hare: “So that I get a medal which will give me the status, which will give me money, which will get me food…”
Old Man: “There is already so much food around.” He pointed to the forest in the distance. “Look at all those trees laden with fruits.”
Hare: “I also want respect. I want to be remembered as the fastest hare who ever lived.”
Old Man: “Do you know the name of the fastest deer or the largest elephant or the strongest lion who lived a thousand years before you?”
Old Man: “Today you have been challenged by a tortoise. Tomorrow, it will be a snake. Then it will be a zebra. Will you keep racing all your life to prove that you are the fastest?”
Hare: “Hmm. I didn’t think about it. I don’t want to race all my life.”
Old Man: “What do you want to do?”
Hare: “I want to sleep under a banyan tree on a makeshift pillow while the leaves rustle and the bees buzz. I want to hop over the meadows near the hills and swim in the pond.”
Old Man: “You can do all these things this very moment. Forget the race. You are hare today but you will be gone tomorrow.”
Hare: I woke up from my sleep. The ducks in the pond looked happy. I jumped into the pond, startling them for a moment. They looked at me quizzically.
Ducks: “Weren’t you racing with the tortoise today?”
Hare: “It’s pointless. An exercise in futility. All I want is to be here. Hopefully someday, someone will tell the world my story. That I lost the race but got back my life.”
In the times that we are today, we are in a race day in day out and not taking the time to live the journey that we call life, we are not taking the time to value & cherish the relationships that we have... ignoring the simple pleasures that exist. Covid-19 was that rude shock that allowed us to have a fresh perspective but we have chosen to ignore the same. We were forced to Work from Home so we ensured that we worked the whole day, isolated from your own family emotionally and mentally! Is that right? Should we take more time to reflect on the opportunities that nature has provided us?
Let us take this time to reflect and revisit life and may be learn from the 'Hare's Perspective'
Author -- Abdul Nasir Shaikh