Friday, August 11, 2006

A Moment's Ornament

A Moment's Ornament

She was a phantom of delight
When first she gleamed upon my sight;
A lovely Apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament

-- William Wordsworth
In my home office, I'm surrounded by so many tantalizing books--books which yearn to be sipped and savoured like good wine. But I'm chained to my computer, with a huge backlog of tasks to tackle: e-mails to be replied to, computer programs to be written, presentation slides to be built, forms to be filled and proposals to be submitted.

But as usual, I'll tackle one thing at a time. I will certainly attempt to prioritize but the size of the queue makes no difference to the way I handle my immediate task.

Every now and then, in between more mundane chores, I'd take a peek into these delightful worlds that lie hidden within the pages of the tomes surrounding me: The Self-Made Tapestry, The Art of the Infinite, The Golden Treasury of English Songs and Lyrics, The Malayan Emergency Revisited, Historical Sites of Jakarta and so many more.

There's so much wonder and beauty to be discovered. Enough to last a few lifetimes.

And then there's also the world outside the world of the mind: people--the "interactive books". That's another vast universe to discover. How often do we find the time to catch up with old friends? Are we not preoccupied mostly with our small worlds of work, family and more work?

The pleasures in life are infinite but time is finite. So we'll have to prioritize. Our most common mistake is that we give too high a priority to work. Work is not the most important thing in life. It is not a matter of life and death. A lot of the importance which we associate with work is merely self-importance. We force ourselves to achieve to satisfy the cravings of the ego.

Work is a pleasure when it becomes a form of worship. We work because it fulfils an inner need and provides the necessary spiritual ballast. It anchors us into our world. Work becomes a joy when there's growth, creativity and expansion. If you do something with focus, dilligence and care, the quality is always reflected in the output. And that is all that one needs to be concerned about.

It doesn't really matter what it is that we do for a living. As long as we are always mindful of the task at hand, the reward is immediate. What comes after that--wealth, promotion or recognition--is a bonus. To me such rewards are a given. We don't need to worry about them. The universe will find its way to reward us, in the most appropriate way. Delegate that task to God!

If one is mindful of what one is doing every moment of one's waking life, there's nothing more that one could do. Any kind of worry, speculation or fault-finding only takes up unnecessary CPU time, and thus diminishes the quality of one's work.

There's so much to do! But still there's only ONE thing one could do at any moment in time. Doing that very thing well, makes the moment. That very task itself, becomes the moment's ornament.

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