For a morning person like me, evenings are just an invitation to the approaching lull of sleep. All my working life, I used to go home early. By 5 PM, I would be off. I rarely attended meetings that were held later than that. One was that I believe that it’s enough to give eight hours to a company every day, and two, I simply wasn’t functional enough.
Most of my evenings have been spent either in a cubicle on the rare days I would be forced to stay back, or in traffic, driving back home. I rarely got to just spend an evening in wu wei.
Once I left the corporate world, I started to look at the magic of evenings. I started to go running in the evenings. I stopped doing that for a while this year before resuming it. I look out at the skies just turning golden before whispering into a dark twilight. I sense how the day seems to be hanging heavy by then. Evenings are always tinged by the melancholy of what is lost. Sunsets make me wistful, and sunrises make me hopeful.
I remember one evening this year. It was in Bylakuppe, and while driving, there was this path that seemed to lead to nowhere. I turned off the car and walked towards a field that seemed to resemble the meadows of Scotland. The friend I was with at that time and I made our way to a little ledge that abutted the grass meadows. A group of monks were having a picnic ahead of us. Their shouts of laughter seemed a strange intrusion into the quiet. From that vantage point, the sky seemed to stretch forever, embracing me with its love.
My friend found a stick and furiously dug the earth with it, her thoughts a million miles away from the moment. Something tells me that she would perhaps always be digging like this – away from the present moment, hoping wishing wanting needing something in the future. For a while, there was silence. I tried to take photos as the sun bled. I then gave up the effort and watched. My boyfriend called. I ignored the call. A friend called. I ignored that too. Not because I didn’t want to speak, but because they weren’t there to share. My friend stopped her digging and then we watched the evening whisper away its goodbyes. The monks left, and there was silence. But not quite. I swear I heard the sun speak, and the sky whisper. They told me: thank you.
Each evening is a gift from the Universe. What do we give back? I can only thank all of them – the monks, the path, the grass, the sun, the sky, the digging friend too – can only thank them for being part of that evening in Bylakuppe.
Here’s what I think we can do to have serenity in our evenings:
Go for a walk
Doesn’t matter if you are at work. When it is about 6 PM, just go for a gentle stroll around your work campus. Refresh your mind for five minutes. Come on, we all can spare five minutes, and if you are in a job that can’t spare five minutes, then you ought to think why you are doing that job at all.
Yes, if you can, I suggest you go home early. Life is too short to be spent poking around cubicles in the evening. You have given the best part of the day to your company. Now, give the best part of the day to your self.
Light a candle
I love lighting candles. There is something deeply symbolic about them. Or for that matter, even lighting a lamp. These rituals calm our soul, inviting us that light is eternal even when it is dark outside.
Even if the day was horrendous, try to wedge some meaning out of it. There is always, and I mean always, something that makes you feel grateful at the end of each day.
Leave the devices aside
Forget the What’s App. FB. Forget those. Meet your friends and family in person. If not, call them. Speak. Communicate. These devices are not meant to substitute communication.