Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Losing Sleep

Once there was a King, in a far far away land. He was strong and mighty. He had an army of thousands of soldiers. His soldiers were his greatest strength. He won all wars he had ever fought in his lifetime. Some people said that he won because he was the most disciplined leader, some said that he had the charisma to inspire his men, some thought it was because it was in his fate and one section thought because he honored his word.

However, lately the king had started to face some problems in his sleep routine. He couldn't sleep well at night. Something disturbed him. He complained to his Royal Priest that he was losing all battles in his dreams. His priest was extremely knowledgeable & clever, He realized soon that King was unable to sleep as he wasn’t concentrating on what he had instead was obsessed with thinking of new battles to conquer newer pastures.

Understanding the key issue the Priest suggested a remedy to the King, He asked the King to do the following task at 4 am tomorrow. King was asked to keep his eyes fixed at a target 10 meters away from him, while walking a muddy path. The King was anxious to know how this would help achieve a peaceful sleep and kept tossing in the bed all night. At sharp 4 am, royal guards knocked at the King's door to see the King ready for the activity. He came down to his central kingdom ground. It was summer then so the morning sun was just about to rise. The sky was glowing in beautiful orange hues. The priest asked the king to start. The King started walking the muddy path, while reminding himself that he had to keep his eyes glued to the target or else he would have to do this all over again tomorrow at 4 am. The initial few steps that the King took were with a lot of caution but gradually his confidence got built and he started walking the path a little faster. The King couldn't help thinking about the time when he would reach the target. He was so engrossed in thinking about the future that he didn't realize that his right foot got stuck in a puddle. Now, for a minute, he looked at his stuck feet, which now was fully immersed in the mud and figured out how he would get out from this mess. He gently shoved off the slimy mud in excess to continue walking. But, soon he realized that his target was nowhere in sight. He looked at the Priest inquisitively but the Priest looked as calm as ever. He then realized that because he didn't do the exercise as instructed, the Priest would have him do it again tomorrow morning 4 am.

He couldn't sleep again that night. His failure to keep sight of his target was worrying him. The king had never lost before. It was a huge blow for him. However, he was even more determined now to not lose focus on the target. He was waiting for the dawn to break. The Royal guards were waiting outside the door at 4 am. The King quickly moved out of the royal door to rush his way to the royal ground where the priest was already waiting for him. The King bowed to the Priest in respect before starting; the Priest gave a gentle smile. The King began walking once again, with his eyes affix at the target. This time he was more cautious of every step that he took. He walked slow but never lost sight of the target. But he was constantly reminded of his failure yesterday and at every step, was apprehensive that he would eventually get stuck again in the same puddle. He was worried, so he paced down drastically when he approached that puddle. He walked a little to the left to avoid that puddle, looking straight at the target. His right leg was just about to slip in the puddle but because he was slow, he managed to maintain his balance. He was relieved yet nervous. He marched ahead as he was in a hurry to finish his task. After three quick steps, he tripped over a small stone and fell over his face on the ground. All his guards rushed towards him to help him. He got up with their help but he knew that the target would not be there as he was unsuccessful once again to keep his eyes on the target at all times.

The King was dejected and hurt. He summoned the Priest to his royal chamber in the evening. The King asked why he couldn't do this simple task, when he had won so many difficult battles before. The Priest smiled and told him that the answer to his question was there in his mind. The King was perplexed, he didn't know what the Priest wanted to convey. The Priest smiled and then said " King you have won many battles in the field because you didn't allow your mind to wander. Today, you are fighting a war with your own mind.". The King requested the Priest to explain why he couldn't focus his mind on the target. The Priest explained both the instances. He said, "My dear King, when you were walking the path for the first time, your mind was only fixed at the target. You didn't realize that there would be hurdles in your path, which is why you were pacing your steps on an unknown path. Your mind was wandering in the future; you were busy thinking about how you would get some good sleep after this simple activity. You were not alert about your present surroundings." The King nodded in approval but asked the Priest why he lost the second time. He told the Priest that he was not thinking about the future then. The Priest answered- “Yes, you are right. In the second time that you undertook this activity, you were not thinking of the future. But, you were thinking of your previous experience. You were worried about what happened to you last time should not happen to you again. You kept dwelling on your past and in nervousness did not anticipate the stone in the path, which is why you tripped." The King understood what the Priest wanted to teach him and bent before him in honor. The Priest had given the King the answer to his questions. That night, before sleeping, the King wrote a page in his Diary.

The King wrote-
*       Keeping your eyes on the target at all times is important but what is most important is to live in the present.
*       Problems are bound to come but don't let one bad experience ruin your confidence in yourself
*       Walking slow enables you to keep your balance in life
*       Never take for granted what is going to come ahead
*       Worrying about the past or the future doesn't let me sleep !

That night, the King slept peacefully. He realized that he must not waste time worrying about the past or the future. It is only this moment which is the most precious to him.

Not many of us realize how simple life is. We invest so much time thinking about either the future or the past that we forget what life has to offer us right here and right now.

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