Note: The OSME Writer’s Club prompt from Medha ji last week was to think about what will make me really happy. Then imagine that I have it, how would I feel, what would I do, the changes it would bring. I must imagine what it would be like and write the story in the present tense as if I am living that happy life. While I am late, here it is for what it’s worth.
For years I drove myself to achieve things that I thought would bring me more respect, may be adulation; things that are more in line with what the world defines as the perfect, successful and respectable life. Some years ago I noticed a family on train – a mother and her two daughters. They appeared like any other family, except that all three of them had a beautiful serenity on their faces. They laughed a lot when speaking with each other. They appeared happy, nay content. I immediately thought this is what I want in my life.
And soon, wrestling with my desires, I forgot them. The search for this elusive peace took me to multiple self-help books, influencers, coaches and monks. My search ended with a monk – I’ll call him Swamiji – who I think is perfect to guide me. More on his teachings some other day. However, one of the many things he has asked us is to let go of desires. One follows another and there’s no end to it. And if you die with even an unfulfilled one, you must come back again on terra firma to pursue it. Over the years, I read him, I heard him, but only started paying attention a few years ago.
That was when I slowed down a bit, made time for myself and thought some. I was able to come to a state where I asked myself is this what you want to go back with? Happy when you have achieved your desires, more so when you have stretched yourself doing so, impacting your physical and mental health in pursuing your goals. A fleeting moment of happiness that goes away as soon as a new desire surfaces. Troubled, agitated inside and at times outside when other things don’t go your way, cursing the universe and at times God himself and ultimately not at peace with yourself. For whatever years are left you must live the right way.
Having followed his advice, with slow yet definite transformation over the years after hearing and practising from Swamiji’s books and speeches, I have made my peace with the universe. Make no mistake, I still harbour desires and still crave for things which will bring me a better quality or pleasures of life that I have always hankered after. But they stay peacefully besides my now new goal to live a serene life. I do not get agitated anymore easily. I have a smile on my lips when I am walking. I am gentler when someone doesn’t operate the way I have assumed he or she would. I am more accepting of life. I am living light, not heavy as before. I am accepting of the universe. I have started developing gratitude for what I have. I just want to go ahead with this and make the most of my life, moving closer to purification and wisdom.
Its not that I have let gone of ambitions, the healthy ones at least that ensure growth. However, I am now focused on being content rather than satisfied. The ultimate would be to, as described in the Bhagwad Gita, become Sthithpragya. I am millions of miles or may be lifetimes from it. But this is a good start for the rest of what is left of my life.