It was a short flight from Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) to Kuala Lumpur. As flight attendant catered to special meal requests, the gentleman seated next to me was also served a vegetarian meal. This person was none other but Dr Soma, the renowned Plastic Surgeon. He happened to glance over while I was reading Bhagavad Gita and doing my Japa Meditation.
After I was done with my reading, we chatted. I was taken aback when Dr Soma told me about his profession. What appreciation would a plastic surgeon have for spiritual matters?…I thought. I mean here is somebody engrossed in the bodily concept (dull matter) and I’m shooting for the highest goal of Human Life i.e. Going back Home (or reawakening our Love for the Almighty) which is purely a matter of Soul/spirit.
But somehow we clicked. After all, the goodness of Indian culture and values were rooted in him. He told me that his great grandparents were from India. He was a good Indian family man who studied and worked hard, and of course remained well behaved .
Slowly our conversation drifted into spiritual matters after a lengthy discussion about our professions, Indian/Malaysian upbringing and of course the topic of Financial Freedom. Dr Soma appreciated the fact that I was leading a meaningful life, pursuing my interests and hobbies full-time. He had also flirted with spiritual matters at some point of time in his life. He told me that he had read some of Deepak Chopra books and The Monk who sold His Ferrari. Though he appreciated the idea/concept of leading a Simple Life but due to one reason or other he was still caught up in the daily Grind.
I sympathized with Dr Soma due to his extremely busy lifestyle. I mean he came so close to having the “Moment of Truth” but again went back to the same old. All of us have these “Moments of Truth” sometime or other where we realize the importance of simplifying things and leading a meaningful life that will make us peaceful and free of anxiety. But we find it difficult to make appropriate changes. Even if we make an attempt, the faith and conviction don’t last. Why is that?
Association is the key, that’s all I can say. I remember when I was going through lifestyle changes back in NJ, eventually I had to move out, move to a new place for major overhaul, for lasting impact. When I moved to Atlanta, it was like a Breath of Fresh Air. It was easy to make changes since the place was new. Everything was conducive to making progress in spiritual life and I took full advantage of it.
Speaking of the right company/association, a relevant verse from Sri Caitanya Caritamrta (Madhya 22.54) comes to my mind:
‘sadhu-sanga’, ‘sadhu-sanga’ — sarva-sastre kaya
lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya
“The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment’s association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success.”
So next time, you have that Moment of Truth, don’t let the opportunity slip by. Build upon it, use it to simplify things, make meaningful changes in your life. Seek the right company, then only the change will be permanent.
Have a great 2014.