Posts Tagged ‘meaning’

For more than 10 years now, I have been trying to get some understanding on a few deep topics like meaning and purpose of life, happiness and success. They have been haunting me for long now. I almost had my bets on the true purpose of life as “To exhaust it all (whatever lies within) to create the best you can!”
Then recently I read something on Buddhism and The Noble Truths leading into concept of control over feelings and got introduced to one very interesting concept. Fusion of Buddhism philosophy with Theory of Natural Selection. We (human beings and other living organisms) are wired to do things so as to improve our chances of survival. The origin of our feelings could be attributed to Natural Selection: ‘Fear’ when we feel threatened, ‘Love’ coz we ultimately want to pass on the genes to next generation and hence to improve our chances of survival, etc. We have evolved so much over last thousands of years that these feelings now come natural to us. That could be one of the reason we seek out material and worldly success – to prove our superiority over billions of other people > to be one of the promising candidate to pass on our genes and our legacy.
Assuming that all this is true and say Theory of Natural Selection is a Universal Principle. That means Universe is constantly trying to improve and evolve towards a better and more efficient form. Human life being one very small component of this ever evolving multi-verse. If this is true, purpose of any thing (living, non-living, micro-organisms or humans) should be to become more and more efficient and for us (human beings) it might boil down to improve chances of survival through any possible means – passing on the best genes, programming human genes, improving life span, exploring the outer space and settle humans in parallel worlds, etc.
All this is possible only if we acknowledge our desires/feelings and feed them – desire to do more, desire to achieve, desire to prove ourselves, etc. Till this point it still makes a some sense. Now the tricky part. With such desires come all kind of feelings – pain, disappointment, etc. And so the saints say that to be really happy we need to break away from these feelings through discipline, cessation, mindfulness, etc.
So, building further on above thoughts, two possible ways of living life could be:
1) To closely listen and feed your feelings – so as to do the best you can to improve chances of survival – do big things and make a dent. This is aligned completely to supposedly Universal Principle – Theory of Natural Selection.
2) To control your feelings, be mindful, be happy and break out of this whole cycle. No desire, no sadness, no disappointments. But I think it would be super hard to work against a Universal Principle. That’s why only few can actually follow this path.
Something inside me tells me that there is a third path as well:
3) Life of Excellence: Discover what lies within and use all your talents & resources to create whatever best you can. Think fine artists, sportsmen, etc.
I am torn as one part of me wants to be a super achiever and another part of me wants a reclusive life somewhere in a countryside.
At this point, I am not sure what the truth is. I have got a hunch that it lies somewhere in between the three triads, but have no clue how to triangulate them to find the only truth.
Any help (suggestions on books, people, articles, etc.) to push me towards The way of Life is more than welcome.
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So, what’s up today? Just, another regular day. But, before I start my usual day… there are few things that ‘I’ need to understand. How should ‘I’ spend this day? What should ‘I’ be doing today?

Why is this ‘I’ still so predominant in life? Why? Vedanta says that we should be unattached. Mera (mine), apna (ours), main (‘I’) and aham (ego) should be given away. This is how we should be… unattached to our worldly possessions, relationships, etc. and looking at all human being and humanity as one. This state is very difficult to attain. However, not impossible and one can achieve this in this very life. Look at some examples of Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, etc for inspiration. They devoted their complete lives to one goal and that was to serve humanity. That should be the guiding reason behind everything. That alone can give us immense potential. Goal is to realize the potential within and use it for benefit and upliftment of all. This is how things should be.

Now, higher philosophy tells us not to stick to the learning alone. We have to utilize this knowledge, understand our hidden potential and should go all-out to service humanity. We should not keep learning / understanding all this and keep mum. We should in fact use all this knowledge to uplift ourselves and benefit others. Procrastination and fear are two hurdles that are to be challenged and worked upon.

What to do then? What exactly should we take up as next steps? I think answer lies within each heart. All knowledge, readings, research, philosophies are just guiding maps which eventually leads you there – to your heart and soul within. As Steve Jobs said that, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” And so, when should we do that? What is the best time – should we start doing this after attaining financial independence, after reaching some personal goals, after reaching some good position in work, etc.? What is the right time? We should do that right this moment. Though, one needs to be at certain level of understanding and consciousness to understand all this, but we can’t wait for eternity or for next month or next year. (Man can reach this state of consciousness by continuous reasoning and/or through belief/faith. Chose your calling but ‘end’ remains the same.) We should start working on things this moment. What we need to do should be done NOW itself. Close your eyes… think that in the end you are going to die… leaving behind all that is there to you, of you and with you… what is important then is to work for humanity and even if you are able to improve few lives your work is done. Touch as many lives as you can. Don’t wait! Just do a little introspection in a silent place and try to cut-off from all noise. Just you and your heart alone. There you can listen to your heart and that is when your heart can give you clues. Open up to those hints. Fear none! You are super human! You yourself are the One! You can achieve anything! Direct yourself and your energies to a cause higher than your own self. You can unlock the potential within. That alone is the purpose of life – “To unlock the highest potential within and direct it to service humanity”. Period.

Last 6 months have been very important in my life and in my understanding of life. I can clearly see that some understanding, ideas, philosophies as stand now are in complete contrast to the ones I used to hold 6 months back.

It started with an intense project with aim of starting a web based company in 90 days. In the end I could not achieve that because of some technical and financial roadblocks. Nevertheless, the project taught me great many things which are required in any business. And more than that, the greater benefit it did was to take me back onto the path of introspection. And throughout this time i.e. from end of October ‘12 till today I am into such a wonderful world of philosophy, Vedanta and life that I am much changed a person now. Standing now with more clear sense of what is important in life and which direction I should move. Though there are still many doubts and I know things would become more clear with time, but I would say that I have got the sense of which direction to take.

Some of the changed philosophies/understandings as they stand now are:

  1. It is about GIVING to ALL (karma) – your home, society, etc. (In total contrast to my previous article ‘To give or not to give’)
  2. It is about giving (karma) without attachment to result (fal/fruits) i.e. giving unconditionally.
  3. It is about giving to your best capability, giving the best you can as an individual. (So, it becomes important to find your calling, your area of interest as it is where you could most develop your skills and use it for benefit of all) – Be the best in whatever you do / choose to do.
  4. Money is not the goal. Money can’t be considered as the measure of success. (Contrast to my previous article ‘Money it’s (not) a gas’)
  5. Success (and money) can’t be pursued it ensues – Success is just a byproduct.
  6. The truth lies within. A person can by yoga (practice of either one or all – Karma, Jnana (Gyan), Bhakti, Raja) understand the ultimate truth – The oneness, The unity, The Brahman.
  7. Man is most powerful, his soul is divine and he can achieve anything. As Swami Vivekananda summarized Vedanta’s teachings:
    •  Each soul is potentially divine.
    •  The goal is to manifest this Divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal.
    • Do this either by work, or worship, or mental discipline, or philosophy—by one, or more, or all of these—and be free.
    • This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details
  8. Man moves through various levels of consciousness (find it in four Purusharthas, Maslow’s hierarchy, or any other theory) and to understand the potential within one has to move up from level of basic needs to higher consciousness. Only then one can have the will and power to understand religion, philosophy or self-realization.
  9. If we can raise the level of consciousness of people around… if we can prepare them for self-realization – we are doing larger good. Personal salvation is great but still a selfish thought. Perfect unity can be achieved only when everyone attains self-realization. (This is what Swami Vivekananda mentions in conversation with his disciple)
  10. To sum up practical application of all these:
    • Understand where your interest lies, because that is where you are happy and can achieve your highest potential.
    • Utilize your potential to the fullest to create things, do things and help people… GIVE your best without attachment to result (name/fame/money/success)
    • Help people around to reach next level of consciousness, in any way you can – sharing wealth, sharing thoughts, creating employment, imparting skills, etc.
    • Establish a link between above three.

 

Few of the things that have helped me to get to these understandings during last 3 months (Oct – Jan) are writings and references on: Purpose of life, Vedas, Vedanta, dharmashastra, karma yoga, gyana yoga, rajas yoga, life and writings of swami vivekanand, some references to Bhagvad Gita, Viktor Frankl, various self-help articles, Hindu mythology, life and preaching of Buddha, Autobiography of mahatma Gandhi etc. to name few.

Music knows no boundary, neither do art! I think I want to do something in these areas. To create something which is capable to evoke feelings in viewer’s/listener’s mind… timeless, universal and straight from the heart. Create something magical! Yes, I will!