Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Snail Mail Meditation

Snail Mail Meditation

I guess I'm going to refrain from bitching about the heat in KL which has been keeping me indoors. This is the kind of weather that makes one fall sick if one is not careful. My body tells me that I need to recharge my batteries but I have so many errands to run this week--mostly bills to pay.

I charge most of my bills to my credit card from which I pay through Internet banking but unfortunately there are still a couple of bills that require me to write and post a physical check. That to me is the most tedious task of all. Writing a check can sometimes be a real test of your spelling ability (how to do you spell "15"--fifteen? fifthteen? fiftheen? ), and then sometimes you have these odd amounts such as 15,237.34 (fifteen thousand two hundred and thirty-seven and cent thirty four only...do you need a hyphen between thirty and four?)

Once you have overcome that, comes the next challenge: posting it. Sometimes you need to write the address on the envelop yourself, which is another tedious task; and of course you also have to find stamps for it. (Can I use a thirty cent stamp to post to Singapore?).

If you happen to run out of stamp supplies at home, then there's no choice, you have to make a trip to the post-office and face all the hassle that comes with it (parking, queueing, slow counter clerks and the ubiquitous "tutup" sign). And after you have successful overcome all those hurdles, you'll still have to put your trust on Pos Malaysia's snail mail system to deliver your check on time to the intended recipients. All that trouble just to update a couple bytes of information in the database.

I guess the only way to handle the tedium of it all is to treat the whole exercise as a meditation: you focus on doing one task at a time, executing every tiny task in the sequence like a monk counting his prayer beads. This requires great clarity of mind, focus and an awareness of the present. If we are irritated at the slowness of the process, then we tend to make mistakes. The mind must always be anchored in the present: accomplish one quantum of task and move on to the next. After you have finished the entire sequence, let go of the outcome completely--do not be attached to it. Let the universe (Pos Malaysia) handle the rest. Pass and move.

Every chore in our daily life can be a meditation. If we are mindful of what we are doing, we grasp the real essence of our being. Once mindfulness has become a habit, then we are always calm in the face of life's challenges and as a result, we able to make wiser choices in life. We become in tune with the (snail mail) rhythm of the universe and all our actions will consequently be more harmonious with our surroundings. One can distill wisdom even from a snail.

Yes, after taking six flights over the past five days I really need to slow myself down to the pace of a snail again...

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