For someone who has depended on the society around to define what life is. For someone who has let movies define what amounts to a good life. For someone who has heard all throughout his life that getting good grades, a good job, a good spouse, children and grandchildren is the definition of life. For someone who has tried it all, experienced it all, a good school, a good college, a master’s degree, a potential PhD., a fantastic work environment and the salary that meets all the needs that a humble human being might have. And still finds it quite empty, quite directionless. I can often hear people saying – “You do not have gratitude!”. “You are privileged and yet moaning.” I will not deny it at all. I will not deny the fact that I ‘have’ what most people do not have physically. I have wealth and a support system – in the form of people who have raised me and funded my material pursuits till I was 24 years old. But what I do not have and what nothing has been able to give me is a ‘peace of mind’.
Let us further investigate this ordeal. What is this ‘peace of mind’ that we are looking for? I mean if we were to truly envision ourselves to be like any other animal – every ant has a job to do and they do not think twice about it. They ensure their survival. Every Lion & Lioness knows what it must do to make ends meet. And even if we have a stronger mental capacity than they have, the purpose of life should not be any more different than what their purpose in life is. Eerily synonymous to what society has presented to us in terms of checklists to fulfil. That being said, it is undeniable that human beings have an advantage in terms of comprehending a purpose over and above that of survival. That is why, the more you have, the more there is to achieve & the more you achieve, the more there is to achieve yet again. But when is this quench for achievement satiated? I am pretty sure, at some point of time, such a milestone is reached. For some, this endless pursuit has been a bane and they have decided to take a road away from society so that they do not have to want for anymore. They have realised that staying within the bounds of society, brings with it, added roles and reciprocation and facilitates a loop of expectations from the every player within the life-cycle. If you are born, your parents would some day want you to care for them. If you give birth, you would want your children to some day look after you. If you sue for companionship, you would want a reciprocal desire for concern when you are at your most vulnerable. When some one cares for you, they want you to care for them in return. When someone works hard, they want success, wealth in return. When wealth comes into the kitty, they want respect and a higher place in society.
This again, is an endless loop. A loop that seizes to end. Pain, Heartache, Distrust, Anger, Disappointment, Despair, Anguish are just common occurrences in this loop supplemented by momentary happiness and identity, the feeling of mattering to someone, the feeling of mourning if you pass away. The feeling of “I did something before I died” is all that a human life has been capable of doing. And it has been done relative to other’s lives. “I was better than he was.” “I achieved more than he or she did”, “My family achieved more than his.” “My children achieved more than his children.” “My Family name now has value.” “It has a legacy.” “It has power.” “It has wealth..” Alas!, it does not follow you into the grave. If riches, wealth and success could not follow Egyptian Pharaohs into the afterlife, what purpose is there for a Human life.
However, there seems to be one small shimmying space within this loop. That space can be called, the self-less, self-centred-less space, pushing love, concern and adoration for everything around us, including non-living things. To not expect anything in return from your spouse, your partner, your parents, your children, your family name, your job or your thoughts neither gives one a purpose, neither breaks one apart when there is no purpose. I have an example to share. I was recently rejected and shown the door by my ex-partner. I still love this person, and while time has given space to my thoughts so that I do not have to think about her, 60% of the times when I do think of her, it ends up disappointing me, because I want her to come back into my life. That being said, this want for her to come back will always be disappointing because it is innately selfish – ignoring her choice and her feeling of not finding the security she wanted from me, and self-centred – the feeling that ‘I’ am hurt, ‘I’ was ‘wronged’, ‘I’ feel guilty, ‘I’ do not want to be seen as someone who hurt someone else.” In short something that can massage your ego. However, the rest 40% just wants this person to live, breathe, feel loved, find love, be happy, plug the hole in her heart. This 40% does not ask for more than survival of oneself and the the one the concern is directed to. This 40% is the way to go ahead.
I have a plan, a plan which again falls within the selfish spectrum, a pseudo-renunciating plan. The plan to write a book with an expectation that people would read it, but nothing else & nothing more. No more identities, no more avenues to ‘better my name’ but that of finding something, temporarily that can alleviate any sort of disappointment and pain that comes with expecting something from those very close to you (the thought of you, created by your thoughts). This is something that gives me joy, by just writing it. Perhaps a small house in the mountains, with a dog to give one company, reciprocating the love that it gives me, without expecting anything over & above that of survival.
I would love for you to present your argument in the comments. If you read what I had to write. Thank you for reading till the end.