I have fond and not so fond memories of sitting on Platform One at Parramatta railway station awaiting the train home to Marayong. Each afternoon I would hear the station masters voice crackle and pop from the ancient PA system. He would announce the train’s imminent arrival and inform us as to its destination and the stations at which it would stop, before meeting its demise at the end of the line; “Train approaching platform One: First stop Westmead, then Wentworthville, Pendle Hill, Toongabbie, Seven Hills, then Blacktown and all stations to Riverstone.”
He would also inform us of which trains had been delayed and for how long, but the information that produced a rousing response from my fellow travellers was when the station master revealed which trains had been cancelled or had terminated. The work weary warriors whose trains were no longer destined to ferry them home responded in a multitude of ways. Some, so weary that they could only muster despondent acceptance, some so agitated and urgent that disgust and aggression bubbled up and others wandered off to the station kiosk to quell the emotions with a Mars bar or sausage roll.
Interestingly, the people whose trains had been not been cancelled sat unmoved. Only a few even lifted their heads from the sports pages of their newspapers. Others turned the volume back up on their walkmans and continued to bop on inwardly.
Why was it that the travellers whose train was not cancelled, late or overcrowded remain so unmoved? How did they keep so calm and peaceful when all around people stomped, huffed and exhaled with exasperation? Were these holy-people who sat in meditative states on the rickety old wooden benches on Parramatta railway station rather than tired worker day warriors? Maybe these station dwellers were monks and nuns in the guise of office workers and retail assistants? Maybe they were Yogis who swapped the saffron orange garments for David Jones business suits and pleated skirts with tailored shirts?
The reason these railway buffs were undisturbed by another person’s train running late or being cancelled is because it did not directly affect them. When we, as spiritual seekers, searchers for truth, become disturbed by someone else’s behaviour which does not directly affect us, we have given up control of our heart-mind, we have become concerned about a train that we aren’t catching. This world is a place where people come to play out their Karma and being disturbed by the way others act, distorts our understanding of the present moment.
Losing our centre in these circumstances will revoke inner quiet, leave us gasping for an explanation. “How can they, why would they, it’s not acceptable”. There are times when someone else’s behaviour can affect us and having the clarity, strength and love to do something then it is fitting, but when it’s not our train, reciting the new sacred Mantra “Om Mani none of my business hum” can be recited.
Searching for explanations about other people’s behaviour with the rational/emotional mind will lead to a dead end, or the end of the line. Intuitively hearing, feeling with the heart-mind will illuminate the most puzzling behaviour and the desire to judge, correct and blame will have left the building. The time we spend contemplating another’s failings, could be better spent exploring our inner realms, shining a light on our darkness and putting the torch of spiritual wisdom and practice to said darkness.
The ego’s love for pointing out or wailing about someone else’s stuff, keeps us from cleaning our own room. It is much easier to clean someone else’s inner sanctum than our own. Unsurprisingly, we don’t suffer nearly as much when we highlight to a friend, family member or colleague their problems, but when we go in and see the mess in our room, we quickly close the door, bolt it shut believing it would take way too long to clean up that mess.
It has been a revelation to me that the more I cleaned my own room, the less disturbance other people’s behaviour caused me, even when it did directly affect me. Compassion rises up for the human condition, for the misunderstanding about who we are. When we can see another person’s predicament and not be disturbed by it, we will have created a space where change may occur. We may even give another being enough space to be themselves. We may assume a likeness similar to the commuters who sat undisturbed by the coming and goings of trains that they had not karmic involvement with.
Train on platform 1, first stop enlightenment, then beyond, the beyond: all aboard!
Love & Strength
Hanuman Das/ Greg