Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year ....and the Man Of Gods Peace

"It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realized, somehow, through the screaming in my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn't sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when its all you have got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving,can become the story of your life."

The opening lines to my holiday read , Shantaram ( Man of God's peace) by Gregory David Roberts.

I have never been captured by any other book then after reading just the opening paragraph of this book .I have not finished the book but it has been all it suggest and has been said by it in various reviews. I am not one for fiction but I seemed to be drawn to books with not only a story but a moral compass.There are many notable lines in this book and a website full of various readers favorites.

But the first paragraph encapsulates life's experience and how every decision we make has outcomes ...not all wonderful but we can learn to cope and move on or stagnate in the error of our judgment.Its a joy reading a book that opens up a part of life in the case of Shantaram , the underbelly of the city of Mumbai with all its interesting characters and the misery and joys of life.It has the philosophy gently massaged into the story and it makes you think. 

Why do we suffer , where are we going , what is the meaning of life. ...I haven't finished the book but it is a nice distraction on the bus , the train and just to pass the time away. What does this have to do with triathlons and training .Probably not a lot other than for two important lessons from my perspective.

One, learning from experience has no better teacher and being able to reach balance in one,s life is so fundamental to living life to the fullest but paramount to fulfilling ones true potential in anything. Like so many imponderables we face , we have no life's map to guide us ,we must find our way , make mistakes and live with them ,right or wrong . As with training it fits within the bigger me and my life and if out of kilter with my other responsibilities or if my mix of training is all wrong , the results will show .

It is a thought provoking book which kick starts 2011. Happy New Year and may 2011 be the realisation of many dreams.

Some further memorable lines in the book which I have listed below:

I know now that it's the sweet, sweating smell of hope, which is the opposite of hate; and its a sour, stifled smell of greed, which is the opposite of love.

“The truth is that there are no good men, or bad men, he said. It is the deeds that have goodness or badness in them. There are good deeds, and bad deeds. Men are just men – it is what they do, or refuse to do, that links them to good and evil. The truth is that an instant of real love, in the heart of anyone – the noblest man alive or the wicked – has the whole purpose and process and meaning of life within the lotus-folds of its passion. The truth is that we are all, every one of us, every atom, every galaxy, and every particle of matter in the universe, moving toward God.” Shantaram byGregory David Roberts p. 199