I just boarded a train from Agra to Delhi. My first Indian train experience, as I suspected, is exposing me to the mixture of new sights and new landscapes. Just navigating the train station to the train was an adventure. I loved the excitement and the bustle as thousands of people crammed into lanes and lines and pouring themselves into trains going to various parts of this incredible country.
As the train got going, I struck up a conversation with a kind gentleman in the seat next to me. His name was Harinder and before even a few minutes had passed, I could tell he was going to be one of the highlights of the trip. We shared stories about life in India, culture and religion. He, as with so many people I have met in India, was quick to offer a sincere smile and opinions about life…and even a few memorable maxims.* He said something to me that was a poignant reminder of why it is always a good thing to be friendly to those who are friendly to you. There’s always something to learn.
“I put everything in my life through three filters. It’s all about honesty, simplicity and love. These are the three most important things in life.” Harinder approaches every situation according to this three-part list. He told me that there are so many different ways to approach problems and challenges — the big questions in life — that he decided at one point identify three principles that would help to guide him. He explained how it’s this mix of things that have brought him happiness and helped him keep peace in his heart.
Harinder’s words were powerful because they were authentic, based on his experience, his life, and his heart. His formula for a happy existence has me thinking about the three filters I apply to the goals, plans and projects in my own life. It makes me grateful for those unexpected conversations on trains. It makes me grateful for people who are willing to share their lists about life.
*I heard so many clever and powerful lists about life and love while in India. I’m sharing two more here as part of this post. They made me laugh. And like Harinder’s list of his “truths of life,” they were in a clever list of three.
1) A merchant in Delhi told me, when explaining how all things take their own time, “No worry, no hurry, no chicken curry.” I am still not totally sure how the curry fits into this list, but it had a great rhyme and put a smile on my face.
2) Our driver, after helping us survive a bombastic 4-hour journey around some pretty wild roads, said, “To drive successfully in Delhi, and to have a happy life, you only need three things, A Good Horn, Good Brakes, and lots of Good Luck.” So different from the spiritually-centered list of my friend Harinder from the train, but now that I look at it, they’re not so far apart!