Posts Tagged With: Consciousness

Desire

To strongly wish for or want something is Desire. According to the Rig Veda, the Universe began, not with light, but with desire, ‘the primal seed’. Desires constantly arise in us, only to be replaced by other desires. Without this continuous stream of desires, there would no longer be any reason to do anything: life would grind to a halt, as it does for people who lose the ability to desire. An acute crisis of desire corresponds to boredom, and a chronic crisis to depression.

We were born from desire. But cannot remember a time when we were without it. So consumed are we to ‘desiring’, that we lose consciousness of our desires. And only realize when they clash with other desires.

If desire is life, why should we desire to control desire? —For the simple reason that we desire to control life, or, at least, our life. Paradoxically, our ancient religions almost always warned us that ‘Desires’ are the cause of conflicts.

In Hinduism, Desire is referred to as the ‘destroyer of knowledge and self-realization’. The Second Noble Truth of Buddhism states that the cause of all suffering is ‘lust’, ‘coveting’ or ‘craving’. Even Christianity, presents that four of the seven deadly sins (envy, gluttony, greed, and lust) directly involve desire. Rituals such as prayer, fasting, and confession all aim at curbing desire.

Suffering can be traced back to desire. Fear and anxiety can be understood in terms of desires about the future. Whereas, anger and sadness relate to desires about the past.

Desire is not only hurtful, but its outcome even more so. The accumulation of material wealth – houses, cars, and other riches rob us of our time and peace. You think that acquiring things will make you feel secure, but the reality is that the more you have the more fear for losing it. This continually drags you further and further away from the peace your soul is yearning for. An excess of desire is called greed. Because greed is insatiable, it prevents us from enjoying what we already have. The greater problem of greed is that it is all-consuming, reducing life to nothing but an endless quest for more. To want something and not get it leaves you feeling frustrated. Learning to be free from desire is learning how to be peaceful. Desire causes peace to disappear.

No sooner is one desire fulfilled, people formulate new desires. The problem is that our desires evolved ‘merely’ to promote our survival and reproduction. They did not evolve to make us happy or satisfied, to ennoble us, or to give our life any meaning beyond them. Today, survival is no longer the most pressing issue. Yet here we still are, chained to our desires like a slave to his master.

“Our desires always disappoint us; for though we meet with something that gives us satisfaction, yet it never thoroughly answers our expectation.” – Elbert Hubbard

Advertisements
Categories: Life Learnings | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can Identity Be A Choice?

“Who are you?”

Asked the same question ten times in a row, one is nudged to the realization that we all have more than one identity. Some people tend to identify at first with their name, nationality, gender, profession; others define themselves through their relationships (I am a mother, a friend) and some think of themselves first and foremost as human beings, a ‘soul’, a ‘force of energy’ or as ‘seekers of wisdom’. This exercise also brings the awareness that beyond these layers, there exists a mysterious ‘inner core’ or ‘essence’ that defies definition but shines through all our different identities. We are always ourselves, whether this be at work, with our family or on our own. In each environment we express different aspects of ourselves, but deep down we are still the same mysterious ‘centre of awareness’. In short, we are both one and many.

Are we just born with an identity? Is it ‘God-given’ and we have no choice but to accept and bear it as a kind of destiny? Or is identity something that can change and even become a choice? Most people would say that there are certain aspects of our identity (sex, cultural roots, etc) that we cannot change. Others, however, are the outcome of choices we made at some stage. We were not born to be ‘computer programmers’ or ‘mothers’ – but we chose to become them. And, most importantly, we can always choose how much priority we give to each of our different identities, even if we cannot change some of them. What do we prioritize: Our gender? Our nationality? Our status? or Our inner qualities?

For society to function and cultures to evolve, we need to learn how to transcend our differences. To consciously choose an identity that enables us to connect more with others and to empathise with them. Life is a journey from unconsciousness to consciousness. To be unconscious means to be impelled by inner or outer forces or circumstances. Whereas to be conscious means to be aware that we have a choice. Amartya Sen says: “To deny choice where choice exists is not only an epistemic mistake, it can also entail a moral and political failure through abdication of one’s responsibility to face the fundamental, Socratic question: ‘How should I live?’”

Choice is inescapably associated with responsibility. It seems much easier to say, ‘This is how I am, I cannot change it’. But history is full of atrocities that were committed because people felt compelled to act in line with a perceived and fixed identity. Amartya Sen’s message is that we should choose our identity of our own free will.

To quote Kofi Annan – “To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.

Categories: Worldly Whorls | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We aren’t who we want to be

We aren’t who we want to be. We are what society demands. We are what our parents choose. We don’t want to disappoint anyone; we have a great need to be loved. So we smother the best in us. Gradually, the light of our dreams turns into the monster of our nightmares. They become things not done, possibilities not lived.” – Paulo Coelho

We Arent Who We Want To Be

All of us have been tuned to create pictures of ourselves in our own minds. Pictures of what we believe we are. We can wrap this idea around us as much as we want, but that will not make it true. The age-old question we are asked at every family gathering, every counselling session, every casual conversation is “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Mind you, this has nothing to do with the person you actually are. It’s a trick question. Most often the questioner is not really interested in your answer. He/She is just opening a door to seed your consciousness with his/her own thoughts. Thereby super-imposing your personality with a neat, presentable cover supposedly acceptable to society. You’re trapped.

You don’t want to disappoint anyone – parents, teachers, friends, your peer group. So you acquiesce – accept something reluctantly but without protest. And you gradually start believing it. The lie becomes your life. Now, your thoughts, actions, behaviour, everything starts adapting to this new perception which is being created for you. This persona you are creating is slowly suppressing your inherent self. Dimming that inner light which is so essential to present the reality to the outside world. You don’t move on enough. You stay because of reasons that are usually non-existent. You make up reasons why one cannot do something or go somewhere. Because your inner soul has been squashed. That voice has been silenced. Of course, one has responsibilities that cannot be easily abandoned, but those are not usually the things that keep us fixed in one spot. It is your belief, your idea about what it means, what is required of you, what is expected of you. Because, you don’t want to disappoint anyone.

Here’s where things can change. Must change. The good news is: You are whoever you choose to be.

It solely depends on how you choose to view yourself. Say, “I don’t want to care about the way other people perceive my lifestyle. I am what I am, I do what I do. End of story.”

No sooner have you uttered this magic mantra, the world completely turns around. Everything you thought to be true and necessary and wanted can be changed and discarded and thrown away. The truth is inside you. Awaken and find yourself. You do not need permission to be yourself. It’s your right to be who you want to be. It’s your mind, body and spirit, so how you use the three is your choice and your choice only. Once you become aware of this your inner voice can be assertive again. That inner light will start shining brighter. That is the light which you need to illuminate your path in this dark world. Nothing else.

Since, your self-perceptions were instilled before you had any say in the matter, learning to change how you see yourself helps find hidden strengths. Self-perception is simply being aware of who you are, what you’re like, and what you’re capable of. Your self-perception must project your positive self-esteem. But it should also acknowledge your shortcomings. Adjusting your self-perception is basically being honest with yourself. Recognizing your weak points helps you identify when you need to ask for help. Acknowledging your strengths gives you the confidence, if you feel down.

You can’t grow if you don’t try. You will have to actually plant the seed in your life. Nothing is holding you back except yourself. Unleash the possibilities to get things done. Opening your mind to new things means trying new things. Make it happen; don’t make excuses! Don’t restrict yourself. When you pre-fix ideas of what you’re “able” to do or not do, you have limited your opportunities. Open your world by unlatching this door and you can create, experience, feel, and learn.

All those things you considered impossible are simply so because you taught yourself to believe that. Whatever you believe you achieve, so do not let fear stand in the way of your desires. If you’ve been dying to do something, but you fear failure down the line, it’s time to let go of your fears and make your move right now. Just by taking action, you open your mind to new beliefs and possibilities. Fear should be what it really is – just another way of telling you to take action.

The time to be yourself is now, not next week or next year.

 

Categories: Life Learnings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.