A few days ago I was at the train station near the city. It was peak hour in the morning. As my train arrived at the platform I stepped in (along with hundreds of other people). As the doors began to close I noticed someone running as fast as they could down the stairs to the platform and when they realised that the doors had closed, I could see them curse through the windows.
It got me thinking… what’s the rush? What’s so important?
It was peak hour at a busy train station. 99% of the people there were going into the city. The next train, as indicated on the platform signs, was due in two minutes. Was it really worth that person rushing to get to the train or getting so upset when the doors closed in front them when, if they had casually walked down the stairs, they would have been able to wait comfortably for about thirty-seconds for the next train?
I think that a lot of people in today’s society are so caught up on being somewhere they don’t need to be at some specific time that doesn’t really matter. They are missing the train bigger picture. Instead of rushing to catch the train, or bus, or taxi or whatever, it’s worth taking those few extra minutes and cherishing them. It’s these moments you get to take in the world around you, and you realise just how small and insignificant you are in the grand scheme of things.
I’m not saying that your life has no purpose. On the contrary. I am saying that when you rush from place to place and are so concerned when those two minutes slip by that your tension and anger increases, you miss out on an amazing opportunity to gain perspective.
The moments that I am waiting are not wasted. Looking around I take notice of the leaves on the trees, their branches and the perfect chaos that has formed a single tree. I look up to the clouds and remind myself why I’m doing what I’m doing at that point in my life, and if it’s the right thing to be doing. Even just being with your thoughts is a beautiful thing. With all this rushing and running late for things we no longer get a chance to internalize thoughts. We spend so much time “doing” that we miss out on “creating”. To imagine is to invent. We need time to create in order to visualise where we want to be and how we want to get there. Without time to imagine, we will always be stuck in the same old day-to-day routine, with no variation from what we “know”.
The alternative to using this time to be creative is to be cleansing. Simply clear your mind of your daily troubles, of your agenda and everything else. Take note of your breathing, of the air around you and what it feels like. If it’s a cold day feel the coolness of the air on your face. If it’s a warm day, feel the sun warm your blood. Be present in whatever you do everyday.
Waiting for something? Try putting down your phone for a few minutes and look around. You may see an opportunity that takes your life in a whole new and positive direction. Look around, feel, imagine and relax.
When you do eventually arrive at your destination, you’ll find you have more energy and enthusiasm to take on new challenges. After all, new challenges lead to bigger and better opportunities.
Don’t be the guy that cursed in frustration after missing a train. Enjoy the time you have just created to just be. Take what you’ve just discovered on how to relax your mind and be present and put it into action today. It does take some practice, but it’s well worth it.