(KP-10) Why I Will Prefer Observing Nature Over Reading Books
India's performance at the Paralympics | How to calm the voices in your head | Oliver Sacks on the healing power of gardens
Something I learned yesterday when I went to Sports Stadium in Dharamshala without my phone or books or diary. All I could do on the athletics track was either walk or sit in the stands.
So, after walking a while I sat down and just observed the clouds engulfing the mountains in one direction and the sun setting in the opposite. If I had my ‘smartphone’ with me, I would have captured the scene and then I would have got the urge to share it on Whatsapp and social media.
But as I only had a keypad phone with me I just did what I think I am good at - observe. And it’s such a transformative experience, just by observing something changes in you. You can not explain it in words but just feel it.
This thought came to mind at that time:
I would rather sit under a tree and watch the clouds engulf the mountains than read the Upanishads in my room.
Books, too, are beneficial, but they mostly work at an intellectual level, conscious level but observing the nature penetrates deeper than the surface.
So, the life lesson learned is:
Read, watch, listen, consume ‘content’ but sometimes just stop and stare at what’s happening around you.
Positive Feel-Good Story
I want to share with you the incredible success story of the Indian Paralympians at the Tokyo Paralympics. To give you some facts first:
India won a total of 19 medals finishing in the 24th spot. To put that in perspective, India sent a contingent of 19 athletes to the Rio Paralympics.
India sent a contingent of 54 Paralympians to Tokyo Paralympics.
India’s previous best performance was in Rio Paralympics in 2016 - Four medals.
India’s total number of gold medals at the Paralympics before Tokyo was four. India won five of those just at these Games.
If we compare with India’s performance at Tokyo Olympics, India won 7 medals, including one historic gold, and finished at the 48th spot. And a total of 127 athletes participated in various games. That’s double the contingent size and less than half of the medals won than the Paralympians.
It feels good to see India doing (relatively) well in the Olympics and Paralympics. But, while Neeraj Chopra, the only Indian athlete to win the historic gold medal, has been sent to the moon, not many people are talking about Pramod Bhagat, the World No. 1 para-badminton player from Odisha, who won a Gold medal this time and had also won Gold twice at the World Championships.
Why the discrepancy?
There are so many other Paralympians who have done phenomenally well this time and in the past as well, but not many, including media and government, give them the recognition they deserve.
For all those sleepless souls, including me (on some nights), I have a video suggestion for you to calm the voices in your head when you are trying to sleep or trying to concentrate.
It’s an excerpt from the conversation between Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey.
Oliver Sacks, British neurologist, naturalist, historian of science, and writer on the healing power of nature:
As a writer, I find gardens essential to the creative process; as a physician, I take my patients to gardens whenever possible. All of us have had the experience of wandering through a lush garden or a timeless desert, walking by a river or an ocean, or climbing a mountain and finding ourselves simultaneously calmed and reinvigorated, engaged in mind, refreshed in body and spirit. The importance of these physiological states on individual and community health is fundamental and wide-ranging. In forty years of medical practice, I have found only two types of non-pharmaceutical “therapy” to be vitally important for patients with chronic neurological diseases: music and gardens.