Surprise stays for a very short span of time. It is a fleeting experience like orgasm. It doesn't last longer and always followed by emotions like happy, sad, fear and others. It is a state of no-emotion. Facial expression tells a lot about what is going inside; which thoughts are prevalent in the mind etc etc. A smiling face is a sign of happiness. A upsidedown U of lips shows sadness. But, seeing the expression of surprise, you could not tell anything about what is going inside, which thoughts are prevalent in mind because surprise is a state of no-thought. It is the state of attention. Your mind become alert in the moment of surprise.
Peaceful Warrior is a movie based on the life of Dan Millman who won NCAA Gymnastics Championships after shattering his right femur in a motorcycle accident. In the movie, Dan meets a person whom he calls Socrates to learn about the right leverage at right place at right time. The way told to Dan is to throw the trash out of mind; be in the present. Socrates asks Dan to meet him next morning at a bridge on a pool. Dan arrives next morning but he is in a hurry. He asks Socrates "Can't it be quick?" Socrates replied "Sure" and throws him out of the bridge into the water. He comes out of the pool cursing him "What the hell wrong with you?" Socrates replies "I did what you asked for. I emptied your mind. Do you have any thoughts while you are falling?" Dan realizes that he was not having any thoughts at that time. Socrates assures Dan that he was devoted to cent per cent experience he was having i.e. being in the present at those moments. Dan remarks "Do you know you are out of your mind?" Socrates smiles "It's taken a lifetime of practice."
To live completely out of mind takes more than one lifetime. It is very arduous task. Surprise only shows a glimpse. It only shows the sky through a peek-hole of the door; the door is there but one has to open it. One has to walk on the ground of uncertainty with calm and attentive mind without thinking about past and future. It is only the formula; the synthesis is yet to done. It is a drop but having all the qualities of an ocean.
Surprise is being in the moment. It is very lively. It is a transition phase. It is the state of both, is and is not. It is the state of uncertainty. Uncertainty is the fertile ground of pure creativity and freedom. The unknown is the field of all possibilities, ever fresh, ever new, always open to the creation of new manifestations. Surprise is a drop of ocean called eternity.
Unexpected means something other than expected. When unexpected happens, we surprise and immediately adjust ourselves to the new situation and soon unexpected incorporated into the list of expected in mind. Surprise is an active phase; it is the transition from expected to unexpected. Both, expected and unexpected, are passive forms of mind. They are occupied forms. They are occupied by certain thoughts. Surprise is a state of no-thought. It is the gap between expected-thoughts and unexpected-thoughts. It is the state of awareness.
As breathing is essential for body; so is awareness. In the moments of awareness, we have a glimpse of our souls. It is said that deep breathing elongates the life span. The statement is proposed by extensive study of breathing patterns of varied animals ranging from rat to tortoise. Tortoise has longer life span of about five hundred years due to its deep breathing. The same is true for awareness. Longer duration of awareness brings peace and harmony in life and when it stretches to lifetime, one becomes eternal.
When a person is moving in a certain direction and immediately asked to change his direction, he stops for awhile before changing his direction. The same is the condition of mind. Mind is moving in expected direction and suddenly asked to change the direction. It stops for a moment before changing its direction. Surprise is the moment when mind stops to change its direction. It is the moment when mind ceases its wandering. It is the door to bliss. The moment passes so suddenly and we miss the door. Surprise is not only the passage to walk from expected to unexpected but there is a door hidden in the passage. A door to ecstasy. A door to escape from misery.
Misery is consolation of expectation. Expectation when fulfilled brings happiness but a temporary happiness. It dries out quickly. It lies on your palm and when you try to grab it, store it permanently, it slips out of your hand. You close your palm making a fist to capture it. You think you have caught but when you open your fist, it is not there. You again set new expectation and run after it. Again, if you succeed then again the same result. It is the same rat race. It is like chasing mirage. This generates frustration and eventually misery. When your expectation failed, you become angry. Your anger destroys your reasoning ability that leads to confusion and loss of memory which results in loss of wisdom and ultimately misery.
Expected and unexpected are the two ends of the same thread called EXPECTATION. They appear as different, almost opposite but they are same. One is towards while other is against but the centre is always expectation. They are the two extremes. They are the abode of ego. Ego always lives on extremes. Extremes are the life force of ego. Ego feeds on more -- more expectations -- more than expectations. What direction you run makes no difference. Ego lives in extremes, whether extreme expectation or extreme unexpectedness. Ego and bliss cannot stand together as darkness and light; so is expectation and ecstasy. Break the wall of ego and let the fountain of bliss gush forward. Stop in the middle and ego will dye. That is why Buddha called his path, the middle path.
A door is always in the middle between the opposites -- the extremes.The meeting of opposite energies is the cornerstone of all creation, of the universe. To construct a house with a door, an arch is put at the top of the door with the help of opposite shapes of bricks to support it. It is just this placing of opposite kinds of bricks in the arch that upholds not only the door but the whole building. If we use uniform kinds of bricks in the arch, it will be impossible to construct a house. In the same way, the whole play of creation, at every level of life, begins at the intersection of two opposite poles.
Surprise, an intersection of expected and unexpected, opens a door to centre of creation -- a union with eternal. Surprise is a door through which one can enter and lost into eternity -- the core of being.
One morning Kabir sends his son Kamal to the forest to bring green grass for the cattle. Kamal goes to the forest with a sickle in his hands. Plants are dancing in the wind. Morning turns in to midday and midday passes in to evening, and yet Kamal does not return home from the forest. Kabir is worried, because he was expected to be back home for his midday meal. Kabir makes inquiries and then goes to the forest with a few friends in search of his son. On reaching the forest, he finds Kamal standing in the thick of grass tall enough to reach his shoulders. It is wrong to say that he is standing, he is actually dancing with the dancing plants. The wind is dancing, the plants are dancing and Kamal is dancing with them. His eyes are closed and he is wholly absorbed in the dance. Kabir finds that he has not chopped a single blade of grass for the cattle. So he gently puts his hands on his shoulders and asks, ”What have you been doing, my son?” Kamal opens his eyes and looks around. He tells his father, ”You did well to remind me,” and then picks up his sickle with a view to his assigned task. But he finds it is already dark and not possible to cut any grass.
The people with Kabir asked him, ”But what have you been doing for the rest of the day?” Kamal says, ”I became just like a grass plant; I forgot I was a man or anything. I also forgot this was grass I came to chop and take home to my cattle.The morning was so beautiful and blissful, it was so festive and dancing with the wind and the trees and the grass, it would have been sheer stupidity on my part not to have joined the celebration. I began dancing, forgetting everything else. I did not even remember I was Kamal who had come here to collect food for my animals.I am aware of it again only now that you come to remind me.”
The beautiful morning surprises Kamal and he doesn't miss the opportunity and opens the door. We, too, are often given plenty of opportunities to transcend expectation, to come out of rat race and understand the joy of living in the moment.
Surprise is the key to unlock the mystery of eternity and the secret revealed is consciousness.