Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Rhythm of the Universe

The Rhythm of the Universe

It's been a long time since I wrote anything about Sukarno. I'm not going to start now, but allow me quote from his famous "Year of Living Dangerously" speech, delivered on Indonesia's national day, August 17, 1964:
Revolusi adalah satu proses. Puluhan tahun kadang-kadang, berjalan proses itu. Pasang-naik dan pasang-surut akan kita alami berganti-ganti; pasang-naik, pasang-surut itulah yang dinamakan iramanya Revolusi. Tetapi gelora samudera tidak berhenti, gelora samudera berjalan terus! Iramanya Revolusi! Iramanya Revolusi!

(Revolution is a process. Sometimes the process takes tens of years to unfold. It will rise and fall in turn; this rising and falling is what we call the rhythm of revolution. But the waves of the ocean do not cease, the oceans churn continuously. How rhythmic is revolution!)

Like revolutions, our lives too unfold in a rhythmic wave-like nature. Expect periods of highs and lows. The important thing is not to be too demoralized when things are feeling down. We need to stiffen our resolve, hunker down and weather those down times so that we are prepared to spring back when the first opportunity arises.

When we are at our peak, we must also realize that the experience will not last forever. Having reached the top, we feel very self-confident. This self-confidence must however be tempered with humility so that we are not carried away to the point that we forget that there's still a lot for us to learn, and that there are always higher peaks to climb.

The ability to master the rhythm of life--this up-and-down nature of everyday existence--is the key to a peaceful life. If you are at sea long enough you will get a feel for its rhythm--you know when the waves are coming by smelling the air and feeling the subtle vibrations that enter your body. You can then take better advantage of the currents to take you where you want to go.

Over time, with age, we get a better sense of rhythm. Some people have a better knack for it than others. We all know how some people are hopeless at the dance-floor simply because they have no sense of rhythm. This sense of rhythm comes from an ability to feel the music--to enter into the emotional flow of the song and to allow all bodily movements to blend gracefully into its pulsating beat.

By being sensitive to the natural rhythm of our existence, we face less friction in our daily lives.

How do we become more attuned to this rhythm?
By silencing the noise that's in our heads.

How do we silence the noise in our heads?
By listening to the sound of silence.

If you listen hard enough, you'll hear the rhythm of the universe.

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