“How do you live your life when no one is watching?”
There is a story I have been told of two seekers who went to a holy being, wanting to find God. So the guru said, “Look, it’s a big topic, and I’m a little busy right now. I couldn’t just tell you how to find God. Here – I’m giving each of you a piece of stick. Go and find a place where no one is present. Break it in two pieces, and come back to me, and then we’ll take it from there.”
So these two went out, looking for a place where no one was present. One just went around the corner and looked around – nobody was there – snapped the stick in two pieces, came to the guru and said, “Here are your sticks.” He took the sticks, and said, “Okay, sit down.”
Other one came after four or five hours, holding the same stick, and he just stood there with his head bowed to the ground.
The guru asked, “What happened?”
He said, “Babaji, no matter where I went, the wind was there, the sun was there, the directions were there. And most of all, I was there. So I couldn’t find a place where no one was present.”
Babaji was very pleased with this answer. He said, “I got all the time for you. Come, sit down.” And to the other one he said, “Go have some chai.” *
The fact is, no matter where you are, you are the witness of your own life. And you always know whether your actions are honorable, fair, or kind. Only you know if you have done your best, and whether or not you have made a good choice.
When I am the only witness, what do I choose? These choices are the most difficult, because there may be others who are trying to sway me, or there may be circumstances in which I can justify my decision, at least to others. But I am always there as the witness.
What choices have been made in your life that were done “when no one was watching?” Would you make a different choice today? You still can, even if it’s to take total responsibility for that other choice, and decide that you would choose differently today. Then when a similar choice comes, choose the one you know is right.
* This story was related by Baba Harihar Ramji of the Sonoma Ashram in Sonoma, California. His stories are always thought-provoking, helpful and educational. I learn a lot from listening.