We live in a world where we need to measure everything, quantify and know the pros and cons of all that we use, we own and we experience. So, it is not just enough to go dancing – it helps to know that it improves flexibility and the social interaction is good for our emotional wellbeing! Magazines and portals tell us in great detail the benefits of each asana we practice in yoga – how it makes your body, mind and even soul better. Breaking up our food into proteins, carbohydrates and fats is so the last century – now we know whether our food has the requisite micronutrients, minerals, phytochemicals, and so on!
And it does not just stop there…we wish to measure how happy we are and whether we meditate intensely enough too! This last week I was suddenly struck by the absurdity of this quest and decided to ponder on it a bit – as one is wont to do while lolling in the pool on a May afternoon in Pune. And I finally hit on an insight that analogous to an Osho quote that has stuck with me over the years…
Osho said: There are things in this Universe that are known, those that are unknown (which means they can be known eventually) and then finally those things that are unknowable (these can be experienced, never known)
And I have come to the same conclusion about our response to our things, our relating and our experiences:
- There are some that are and have value in being measured (how much rent can I afford based on my income, how much time do I need to spend in the gym to feel healthy, how much food do I need to cook to feed my family)
- There are some that are measurable even though I have not measured them yet (what is the shortest amount that I need to shower to feel clean, what is the optimal length of an afternoon nap for me, how much chocolate is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth)
- And there are some that are immeasurable (the benefits of a yoga class, the length of the shared laughter with a friend, the pros of meditation)
And then I decided to delve a little more! Could it be that even what we measure or seek to measure, can be used, related to or experienced as immeasurable? How does life feel when I can just be present in this moment and use, relate or experience? Is measuring or wanting to measure just a need to feel assurance – assurance that we are not being cheated, short-changed or harmed?
Hmmm…am I totally ready to stop measuring completely? No. I still want to make sure my time, money and resources are well spent. The biggest takeaway – and my experiment for June – is to introduce more and more moments of “immeasurability” into my daily life. I choose to experience and relate to life with a sense of trust and wonder – an openness to immerse in the mystery!