Being chauffeured into town most days is a super feeling. No need to worry about other drivers and their attitude. I can read my book, close my eyes and think or listen to a podcast. Life is good in the ninety – five thousand pound limo. Some may not like the colour, it’s orange, the livery of the number 36 bus route.
During the previous twelve years, my fellow passengers have taught me many lessons. There are no apologies. This writer is a devoted eavesdropper. I’m so addicted to listening to peoples conversations, consulting a psychologist is on the cards. Although, in truth, my addiction to chit-chat is tobacco strong.
Nottingham’s students are celebrating graduation, and the ‘thirty-six’ runs by the University. A well-groomed girl and her parents climb the stairs. Heaven of heaven’s the trio sit in front of me. I turn off my podcast and leave the earbuds in my ears. This is an excellent subterfuge few realise I’m listening to their conversation. Be clear on one thing, there is no interest in smut or gossip, and the podcast goes back on if the conversation is boring. We, eavesdroppers, become astute at sifting the chaff from the wheat, one journey in twenty yields something which is a life lesson.
Today is one of these moments: –
‘Daniel can speak fluent Japanese, isn’t that amazing Daddy?’
Daddy does not look too impressed. I see he’s reflecting for a moment. It is evident he has no interest in the idea his daughter’s boyfriend can speak fluent Japanese. She waits for his answer.
‘Anyone can learn to speak Japanese; it is easy. Millions of Japanese children speak Japanese.’
The conversation ends, he looks out of the window, goodness know’s where his mind has taken him. A yacht in the Caribbean, lawyer’s office in London, a boardroom in New York? Who would know? A gold Rolex, immaculate clothes and articulate voice tell one certain tale. The last place he would like to be is sitting on my orange bus.
There are of course many other factors to the short conversation. Second or third languages can be harder to learn. There is a reason to learn the language et cetera. The point is the father correct, we all can learn to speak a second tongue. And he is right on the second count; children learn how to speak without too much trouble. Little Alice is four and there’s no problem having an interesting conversation with her. It takes time and patience; the desire is to communicate with friends and family, and later our words become part of our observed persona.
Learning to speak and then read and write are the two most difficult things most of us will accomplish. Truth to tell language and communication is harder than learning how to use this computer. Playing a musical instrument, driving a car, playing a round of golf. It is said we need 10,000 hours to learn to do anything well. Most people desire to be an expert in a week.
We are all intelligent; we can learn to do anything if there is a good reason to do so. If we accept this idea, then we free ourselves from the notion we are foolish. Unworthy or not able to achieve a goal. It is only the material and ‘constructed ideas’ of man which assume one man is more genius than another. The man looking out of the thirty-six bus window is correct ‘Anyone can learn to speak Japanese.’
When we chose to follow the path of well-being, one of the hurdles we have to cross is people who demean our thoughts, ideas and beliefs. One of the statements we hear is ‘You must be stupid believing in that nonsense.’ The answer is we are not ‘stupid’, and our beliefs are not nonsense to us. Mr Rolex on the bus knows this: He comments ‘Anyone can learn to speak Japanese, it is easy. Millions of Japanese children speak Japanese.’ Notice he was not disparaging toward his daughter’s boyfriend. He drew her attention to a certainty that learning something, no matter how difficult, is within the ability of every one of us.
So, to have a belief in religion, faith, tarot, spirits, faith healing or mediumship does not indicate stupidity. The belief means we are involved with something we believe in. And nonsense is subjective. Is the belief in a horse winning a race any more certain than a belief in a deity? When someone says ‘I believe my team will win.’ There is no certainty of the outcome. The conflict of belief is the cause of war and terrorism. This is an important lesson to consider and search to find an understanding of this problem is part of a spiritual humans quest.
As is the importance of accepting you are an intelligent ‘Being’ who chooses to be who you have become. If we were to explain the mantra – ‘I am – What I am’ – the previous eight hundred words would be a reasonable starting point. The man on my bus reminded me of a valuable lesson. ‘No man is a fool – he is what he chooses to become.’
This essay is dedicated to a special lady who entered her final sleep yesterday
In our thoughts – Liz and Ian