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Why Negotiate With Nature?
[Excerpted from this post on 2015 India trip.]
After constantly being around so many people, and being in different beds every other night, I returned home last week. Guri tells me that during one of those jet-lagged 3AM moments, I looked at the "Namaste" quote by my bedside and launched into an imaginary circle of sharing, saying, "Just speak from your heart." :)
Acting and speaking from the heart is a deeply transformative process, because one has to discern what the heart is actually saying. That capacity isn't a function of will-power, but rather is borne of internal equanimity.
One of the great blessings of this trip included intimate participation from Arun Dada -- an 83-year-old Gandhian, who joined Vinoba at the age of 20. At 19, he seriously dislocated his jaw. Doctors urged him to take general anesthesia prior to surgery. When he said he didn't need the anesthesia, they thought he had lost his mind. But he insisted, saying: "If I moan even the slightest bit, you can give me anesthesia." They inserted a small pin to test him. No sound, not even a flinch. The pin went in deeper, deeper, and then all the way. Not a sound. They completed the surgery, and the 19-year-old was steady as a rock. Three months later, they removed the pins, and it was the same thing.
Rather flabbergasted, the doctors asked him: "Arun, why are you opposed to anesthesia?" "Oh, I'm not opposed to it. I just want to experience sensations exactly the way nature offers them. Why should I negotiate with nature?"
Over the next 64 years of his life, that man (who married and raised two kids) never -- ever -- sold his labor for money. "Nature will give me whatever I need, even if that means suffering," he says. Every aspect of his life -- to this day -- is a gift that is offered to, and accepted by him. He simply doesn't negotiate with nature.
Arun Dada's equanimity beams at you through his radiant love. All good that is bestowed upon him, he pays forward. He sings songs, he shares stories, he smiles from a distance. He quietly blesses, without ever trying to.