No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently. — Agnes DeMille
Be on the alert to recognize your prime at whatever time of your life it may occur. — Muriel Spark
The sensitive man sees what others don’t. Then one day he comes to know what others won’t. It is on this day that he moves from brilliance to genius.
What is this sensitivity?
You remember the story of the bird, which I narrated in the chapter, Catching Signals? It was sensitivity at work that helped it catch the signal sent by its relative. It was sensitivity that helped it emerge from a crisis. Sensitivity can also similarly help you avert crises and exploit opportunities. Sensitivity is alertness; it is also wakefulness. At another level, it is also receptivity.
One needs to be not only socially but also psychologically and spiritually sensitive.
While visiting a pediatric hospital in Kolkata, I saw a boy, about thirteen-year old, selling balloons at the gate. As I walked past him, I could not but silently admire his genius. Once inside, I met the doctor who owned this hospital and, during the course of our conversation, I told him I had seen a genius at the gate.
He said, “If you are talking about the little boy who is selling balloons at the gate, you are damn right. This boy sensed that kids who are being brought to my hospital start crying at its very sight (fearing an injection or some bitter medicine) and the parents then need something to pacify them. They end up buying his balloons to please their kids. Sometimes, in case of an exceptionally stubborn wailer, the hospital staff also buys one from him.
Six months ago, when he started hawking his balloons, he used to come barefoot to peddle his balloons. He has flourished since and has a moped now. He has also invested in new equipment and might even have a decent bank balance…” Why did we both feel that this little boy was a genius?
Because he had gauged and understood the social milieu of the hospital and spotted the commercial opportunity that this setting presented. He was socially sensitive and his social sensitivity yielded him rich dividends.
Years ago, I was sitting with my friend’s five-year-old daughter who was taking me through her drawing book. We came to a picture, pointing to which she said, “This is my future house.”
Looking at the picture, I asked, “Your house will have a chimney?”
She replied, “No, this is a dish antenna.”
There was a sudden flash of realization. I was interacting with her from my schema, not understanding where she was coming from.
I was being psychologically insensitive. Psychological sensitivity is of paramount necessity.
Spiritual sensitivity has not been adequately studied in the West. But for a whole and complete life, it needs to be explored.
Spiritual sensitivity is the understanding that the world is more than just matter, body and mind. Spiritual sensitivity is the innate ability of the human psyche, which helps our antennae connect to the heart of the universe itself. It is a faculty developed over millions of years that allows us to find solutions to our problems by tapping the universal spirit. It has no necessary connection to religion.
A religious person may be spiritually sensitive. But being religious does not guarantee that a person would be spiritually sensitive. Spiritually sensitive people exist more often outside the confines of organized religion. A person is complete only when he is spiritually sensitive too. He can then listen to those around him and take in the divine messages in their words. This is one way how he listens to what the universe is trying to say to him. His sensitivity makes him receptive till one day the universe speaks to him in myriad ways and he becomes a channel for the wisdom of the universe.