Let me begin with a personal story.
I always wanted to excel in everything I did, like sports, studies, career and health.
Somehow I couldn’t.
Well to be honest the imagination of the result. The fame. The illusion of those moments entangled me.
I couldn’t excel.
We all have dreams.
We all have ambitions.
We all have choices.
Are we perfect at that?
No, we aren’t.
We still fall short of them.
If our aim is to score 9 grade we score 7,if our aim is to be healthy we are unhealthy.
How about if I say you imagine being healthy, winning and excelling?
That’s easy isn’t.
We all can imagine that way, by manipulating our visuospatial sketchpad by our central executive(psychology grads will understand that)
But, In reality.
We are just dreaming.
We are creating an illusion that one day we will achieve on which we are setting our eye upon.
Certainly laws of nature doesn’t work that way.
If dreaming was the way, then everyone would have achieved whatever they want.
I will tell you something.
Out of my thinking and ofcourse experiences.
I don’t like revealing my personal life.
But, examples have to be there.
First, is clarity.
What you want to do with your life?
It doesn’t have to be very highfi thing, like climbing Mount Everest or maybe becoming the best in the world in athletics.
It can be that.
But, for me, it’s too simple.
Things which we all do.
So, for me.
Three things matter.
1) Doing something which I love (thinking, reading, and applying in daily life) which serves my value system and things I believe and also gives me bread and butter.
2) Loving the woman i marry and making it a partnership of growth, enlightenment, intellectualism and national development.
3)Raising children so that they become independent, wise, and ofcourse, do what they love.
4) To be healthy all my life by incorporating the best eating, exercise habits.
So, are these things any extraordinary?
It’s just work, love /marriage, kids and health.
These things are my process not the results, means i will do these for years and years till i die.
These aren’t goals.
This is just process.
Sadly i dont have a bucket list which people have.
So, am I boring?
I must say many of you think that its mediocre sounding purpose.
But, Do I care about you all? (sinister music playing in the background)
Well, I know my truth, my purpose and my talent.
So, why should I change because you think differently?
These are things which I want to do.
There are two paths.
One is to day dream and keep imagining the result and the other is doing it.
We come to the process.
The process is the everything I must say.
These days there’s so much focus on the result that we have lost our process.
So here i would like to differentiate what the process is and the result.
I will ask few questions.
Do you want to be the best? Just the title. (This is Result)
Do you want to keep on improving, doing what you really love, doing it everyday and day and day out, even if you are tired you will do it because you love it (This is process)
Do you want to just get married? Just to achieve it like a goal(This is result)
Do you want to enjoy intellectual talks with your wife, investigating, researching about ideas, going on treks, involving in sports, then living in uncertainty, then going to places and doing all these that for years and years and day and day out with the same person. (Then that’s the process)
Do you want to be healthy and beautiful? Be in top shape. (that’s just dreaming)
Do you want to achieve that health after eating healthy food, exercising and resisting temptations of junk food and skipping your work out routine that for years and day and day out. (that’s the process)
Now, you understand.
The Result you know is just a temporary pleasure its just a few days, even months that result can give you happiness.
For example, you achieve some success, so now tell me till how much time will you be able to keep that success with you?
One or two Months. Even less than that.
But, the process is for lifetime, till you die.
If you want to be happy and yes ofcourse achieve some goals, then don’t think about them.
Forget the goal.
Just because goal is nothing but a destination.
Happiness can’t be a destination.
Focus on the process, focus how would you improve and how can you achieve your goals, means you need to constantly work and improve and eventually love that process.
Just, because that’s the only way.
No amount of day dreaming will help you achieve.
But, constantly analysing weakness, thinking about the work and most importantly doing the work should make you happy.
And if you are happy and you are working day and day out and also constantly improving.
Won’t you achieve it?
So at the end i would give you some reading task.
It’s by Swami Vivekanada.
What he thinks about it?
Here you go.
“One of the greatest lessons I have learnt in my life is to pay as much attention to the means of work as to its end. He was a great man from whom I learnt it, and his own life was a practical demonstration of this great principle I have been always learning great lessons from that one principle, and it appears to me that all the secret of success is there; to pay as much attention to the means as to the end.
Our great defect in life is that we are so much drawn to the ideal, the goal is so much more enchanting, so much more alluring, so much bigger in our mental horizon, that we lose sight of the details altogether.
But whenever failure comes, if we analyse it critically, in ninety-nine per cent of cases we shall find that it was because we did not pay attention to the means. Proper attention to the finishing, strengthening, of the means is what we need. With the means all right, the end must come. We forget that it is the cause that produces the effect; the effect cannot come by itself; and unless the causes are exact, proper, and powerful, the effect will not be produced. Once the ideal is chosen and the means determined, we may almost let go the ideal, because we are sure it will be there, when the means are perfected. When the cause is there, there is no more difficulty about the effect, the effect is bound to come. If we take care of the cause, the effect will take care of itself. The realization of the ideal is the effect. The means are the cause: attention to the means, therefore, is the great secret of life. We also read this in the Gita and learn that we have to work, constantly work with all our power; to put our whole mind in the work, whatever it be, that we are doing. At the same time, we must not be attached. That is to say, we must not be drawn away from the work by anything else; still, we must be able to quit the work whenever we like.
If we examine our own lives, we find that the greatest cause of sorrow is this: we take up something, and put our whole energy on it — perhaps it is a failure and yet we cannot give it up. We know that it is hurting us, that any further clinging to it is simply bringing misery on us; still, we cannot tear ourselves away from it. The bee came to sip the honey, but its feet stuck to the honey-pot and it could not get away. Again and again, we are finding ourselves in that state. That is the whole secret of existence. Why are we here? We came here to sip the honey, and we find our hands and feet sticking to it. We are caught, though we came to catch. We came to enjoy; we are being enjoyed. We came to rule; we are being ruled. We came to work; we are being worked. All the time, we find that. And this comes into every detail of our life. We are being worked upon by other minds, and we are always struggling to work on other minds. We want to enjoy the pleasures of life; and they eat into our vitals. We want to get everything from nature, but we find in the long run that nature takes everything from us — depletes us, and casts us aside.
Had it not been for this, life would have been all sunshine. Never mind! With all its failures and successes, with all its joys and sorrows, it can be one succession of sunshine, if only we are not caught.
That is the one cause of misery: we are attached, we are being caught. Therefore says the Gita: Work constantly; work, but be not attached; be not caught. Reserve unto yourself the power of detaching yourself from everything, however beloved, however much the soul might yearn for it, however great the pangs of misery you feel if you were going to leave it; still, reserve the power of leaving it whenever you want. The weak have no place here, in this life or in any other life. Weakness leads to slavery. Weakness leads to all kinds of misery, physical and mental. Weakness is death. There are hundreds of thousands of microbes surrounding us, but they cannot harm us unless we become weak, until the body is ready and predisposed to receive them. There may be a million microbes of misery, floating about us. Never mind! They dare not approach us, they have no power to get a hold on us, until the mind is weakened. This is the great fact: strength is life, weakness is death. Strength is felicity, life eternal, immortal; weakness is constant strain and misery: weakness is death.
Attachment is the source of all our pleasures now. We are attached to our friends, to our relatives; we are attached to our intellectual and spiritual works; we are attached to external objects, so that we get pleasure from them. What, again, brings misery but this very attachment? We have to detach ourselves to earn joy. If only we had power to detach ourselves at will, there would not be any misery. That man alone will be able to get the best of nature, who, having the power of attaching himself to a thing with all his energy, has also the power to detach himself when he should do so. The difficulty is that there must be as much power of attachment as that of detachment. There are men who are never attracted by anything. They can never love, they are hard-hearted and apathetic; they escape most of the miseries of life. But the wall never feels misery, the wall never loves, is never hurt; but it is the wall, after all. Surely it is better to be attached and caught, than to be a wall. Therefore the man who never loves, who is hard and stony, escaping most of the miseries of life, escapes also its joys. We do not want that. That is weakness, that is death. That soul has not been awakened that never feels weakness, never feels misery. That is a callous state. We do not want that.
At the same time, we not only want this mighty power of love, this mighty power of attachment, the power of throwing our whole soul upon a single object, losing ourselves and letting ourselves be annihilated, as it were, for other souls — which is the power of the gods — but we want to be higher even than the gods. The perfect man can put his whole soul upon that one point of love, yet he is unattached. How comes this? There is another secret to learn.
The beggar is never happy. The beggar only gets a dole with pity and scorn behind it, at least with the thought behind that the beggar is a low object. He never really enjoys what he gets.
We are all beggars. Whatever we do, we want a return. We are all traders. We are traders in life, we are traders in virtue, we are traders in religion. And alas! we are also traders in love.
If you come to trade, if it is a question of give-and-take, if it is a question of buy-and-sell, abide by the laws of buying and selling. There is a bad time and there is a good time; there is a rise and a fall in prices: always you expect the blow to come. It is like looking at the mirrors Your face is reflected: you make a grimace — there is one in the mirror; if you laugh, the mirror laughs. This is buying and selling, giving and taking.
We get caught. How? Not by what we give, but by what we expect. We get misery in return for our love; not from the fact that we love, but from the fact that we want love in return. There is no misery where there is no want. Desire, want, is the father of all misery. Desires are bound by the laws of success and failure. Desires must bring misery.
The great secret of true success, of true happiness, then, is this: the man who asks for no return, the perfectlyunselfish man, is the most successful. It seems to be a paradox. Do we not know that every man who is unselfish in life gets cheated, gets hurt? Apparently, yes. “Christ was unselfish, and yet he was crucified.” True, but we know that his unselfishness is the reason, the cause of a great victory — the crowning of millions upon millions of lives with the blessings of true success.
Ask nothing; want nothing in return. Give what you have to give; it will come back to you — but do not think of that now, it will come back multiplied a thousandfold — but the attention must not be on that. Yet have the power to give: give, and there it ends. Learn that the whole of life is giving, that nature will force you to give. So, give willingly. Sooner or later you will have to give up. You come into life to accumulate. With clenched hands, you want to take. But nature puts a hand on your throat and makes your hands open. Whether you will it or not, you have to give. The moment you say, “I will not”, the blow comes; you are hurt. None is there but will be compelled, in the long run, to give up everything. And the more one struggles against this law, the more miserable one feels. It is because we dare not give, because we are not resigned enough to accede to this grand demand of nature, that we are miserable. The forest is gone, but we get heat in return. The sun is taking up water from the ocean, to return it in showers. You are a machine for taking and giving: you take, in order to give. Ask, therefore, nothing in return; but the more you give, the more will come to you. The quicker you can empty the air out of this room, the quicker it will be filled up by the external air; and if you close all the doors and every aperture, that which is within will remain, but that which is outside will never come in, and that which is within will stagnate, degenerate, and become poisoned. A river is continually emptying itself into the ocean and is continually filling up again. Bar not the exit into the ocean. The moment you do that, death seizes you.
Be, therefore, not a beggar; be unattached This is the most terrible task of life! You do not calculate the dangers on the path. Even by intellectually recognising the difficulties, we really do not know them until we feel them. From a distance we may get a general view of a park: well, what of that? We feel and really know it when we are in it. Even if our every attempt is a failure, and we bleed and are torn asunder, yet, through all this, we have to preserve our heart — we must assert our Godhead in the midst of all these difficulties. Nature wants us to react, to return blow for blow, cheating for cheating, lie for lie, to hit back with all our might. Then it requires a superdivine power not to hit back, to keep control, to be unattached.
Every day we renew our determination to be unattached. We cast our eyes back and look at the past objects of our love and attachment, and feel how every one of them made us miserable. We went down into the depths of despondency because of our “love”! We found ourselves mere slaves in the hands of others, we were dragged down and down! And we make a fresh determination: “Henceforth, I will be master of myself; henceforth, I will have control over myself.” But the time comes, and the same story once more! Again the soul is caught and cannot get out. The bird is in a net, struggling and fluttering. This is our life. “
This is the knowledge i have. I have given everything I had. Now its time to take a break for a year and so. Will certainly come back with new experiences and thinking.
Arrivederci (Italian which means, goodbye until we meet)
Image credits : James clear.