Have you ever given a thought to the idea of “what keeps us going forward in Life”?
Human Being are full of desires and these desires are what keeps any human being moving forward. Don’t you agree with me? Let us look at examples. Most people have these varying dreams/desires for eg: they want to be a successful business person, or a lawyer, or want to study at Harvard, or want to get married and settle down in country side, own a farmhouse etc. In order to fulfil all these desires/dreams (big or small), people make plans, do preparation and work hard to achieve these plans. Once they have achieved them, they set a new wish/desire and plan to achieve it. This becomes a never ending circle in and of itself.
In this article, I am not associating desires of human beings as materialism, meaning owning materialistic things. I mean desires as wishes to do , to be , to achieve, to create, to destroy, to contribute, to accept, to spend, to manage etc.
Take your own example for instance, you must be currently working towards achieving something, or getting somewhere or working for a dream. Whereas, few years back, you might have been working for a different dream which got fulfilled, naturally pushing you to go for another dream/desire . There is always a new dream after one is fulfilled, literally, until the last day of our lives.
I know there is a set of people who would tell me, wait , I don’t know what I want currently and I am lost. But you definitely want to find out and you also want something, you probably just do not know the immediate next steps and targets. Your wish at the moment is to find what is your actual wish/dream for life 😀
Now the big Question is : Why do we do that… why do we always need something to look forward to ??? It is almost like a donkey who needs a carrot in front of him to move ahead. Are we also donkeys who need carrot all the time?
Yes, it seems, we do need something to look forward to always, in order to be happy or to move ahead in life. Honestly, I am still figuring out the real reason behind it. But lets try to look at it in a different way, a situation, when we have no carrot in front of us
Let us remove the carrot from the front
What would it be like, if we have nothing ahead of us? The state of no desire and wishes. Lord Buddha always guided human kind to move to that state, because that is the ultimate state … isn’t it. Don’t we all want to have a state of no desire, after working a lot and achieving some dream, but it is not easy. We get right back to another one due to our human tendencies.
Human brain is trained to work towards something, achieve something, and all our thought process is involved in achieving something but suddenly, when we have nothing to look forward to or have no responsibility ( like family, work etc ) then you actually realise, your mind is going crazy. Eventually you will realise, why people say “an empty mind is a devil’s workshop”. When your brain has no work, no purpose, it is empty of responsibilities, it is wild in a way, goes into different directions because it is purposeless.
I have been in that state where I had quite achieved some things in life, that I wanted. I wanted to finish the circle of desires, so I purposefully took no responsibilities, I was completely free, I decided to take a long break to figure it out, to understand life and there was nothing to look forward to. It is not the state of being lost, it is just the state where you do not know what is front of you. Well, some will argue that it is the same, I say, It is not. In the beginning, the state seems like nirvana, you have nothing to look forward to, you embrace each day as it comes along, without any plan and live it fully. But slowly, it becomes monotonous and the more you spend time with no purpose and nothing to look forward to, the more you explore this state, it makes you a little anxious and crazy. Why?
The Societal Answer
The answer is quite simple because you have nothing to look forward to, you have no work and responsibility, or dream to work towards, no purpose. The society taught us to tame our wild mind, by giving it a constant purpose, by giving it a carrot, by being busy, by doing things, by making a difference with our actions. That is why our communities and societies were built in a way that we are always working towards something which keeps us sane and purposeful at the same time.
My questions for you – I am still in the process of understanding.
- Are we capable of taming our minds without work ? without a purpose ? without giving it a carrot ?
- Can it actually reach a stage of no desire/wishes and stay there peacefully? It is just some food for thought,
Would love to hear your thoughts about the same.
Till then, happy carrots