One of my favorite quotes is by John Lennon.
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
We all want to be happy but what happens is we get lost in job titles. From an early age, the conditioning begins. We get asked what we want to become once we grow up. Engineer, Doctor, Lawyer, Accountant and many more. Nobody asks us, what kind of life we want to live, our passions and interests.
When someone asks us what we do, we are quick to describe our titles. I am an engineer, doctor, accountant. Most people don’t want to be a salesman but when it comes to talking about our resume, professions and our degrees, we can’t stop selling. And the more we speak it, the more real it becomes. Our titles end up defining who we are. But is it really who we are?
Yuval Noah Harrari in his book “21 lessons for the 21st Century” outlines the importance of meditation and mindfulness (On a side note, I read his first book “Sapiens, a brief history of humankind” and found it fascinating to learn about our history going back 70 thousand years! ).In 21 lessons, Harrari talks about how developing that awareness is key to understanding our desires, our sufferings and to make sense of the meaning we give to our lives. We are operating at breakneck speed in making progress in the outer world but it’s the inner world inside each of us which holds the key to our happiness, joy and fulfillment.
I am also reminded of the beauty in the Self Enquiry or Atma Vichara method taught by Ramana Maharshi. Asking the question to ourselves, Who Am I? Simple but powerful question. Few years ago, I read Maharshi’s books and practiced this method and I found it to be very effective & useful for myself When our titles are the driver of our life, we look outside and everywhere else for happiness, joy, love. But as we often read, everything we seek, we already have.
“We carry inside us the wonders we seek outside us.” – Rumi
We are so much more, so much bigger than our titles. We may have to rethink how we define ourselves and Enquire within to begin the journey onto oneself, as Rumi says.