Nobody wants to suffer. Everybody wants to pinpoint the problem and to know the solution. Only a few ask themselves why they perceive something as a problem. Fewer still have the clarity to perceive the deep knowledge that can be learned from their fearless experience of a “problem”.
What we perceive as a problem is based on how we like our world to be. The spectrum of what we like goes from wanting to simply be alive, to wanting the tiniest of superfluous trifles to be according to our specific expectations. How we like our world to be is highly individual and a lot of what we expect to get from the world, is based on unconscious desires and fears. Never-the-less we do not hesitate to construct empires based on those imaginary and fragile foundations.
Man has a wonderful mind full of thoughts and imagination. Rather, mind is imagination itself. We imagine a city and build it. We look at memories. We picture a particular kind of life and imagine that we are trying to pursue it according to our accumulated desires and dislikes, which are nothing but memories.
Put simply, we imagine we are life and that the world around us may threaten our efforts to maintain this particular desired version of life.
This way of picturing our relationship with the world will produce an infinite variation of desires. Once desires appear, fears that these desires will not come true also appear. When you look closely, all desires and all fears are fundamentally rooted in two basic longings: longing to exist and the longing to connect. You can also view these longings as fears: fear of loneliness and fear of death.
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A shiny brass trident carrying the hand drum of Shiva, god of destruction, absolute wisdom and bliss, is trembling impatiently in the windscreen. Above and below the narrow serpentine mountain road, towering Himalayan cedars block the view, as we rumble along the potholed tarmac towards the Jhanna waterfalls. Here and there colourful villages perched on steep terraced slopes, flash between the dark tree trunks. At the tall waterfalls cascading from high meadows and snowclad peaks, we get out and put on our backpacks.
“So…he is a character in your novel?” she asks as we walk up towards his tiny house. A familiar anticipatory silence unfurls itself softly along the mountain path.
“He is the inspiration,” I say quietly and think about the enormous and old Himalayan cedar that shades his slate roof. I often imagine when he is no more, he will exist as this majestic tree and I will continue to visit, to rest my back against the sturdy and immortal trunk, inhale its fragrance and close my eyes.
We are looking for something that we can add to our lives. Something that can give us the feeling of being safe, of being valuable, loved, and peaceful, and everyone has a, perhaps subconscious, idea of how it will feel or look when the goal is reached or fulfilled. When everything falls in to place.
What it is we think we should achieve depends on what we define ourselves as, and what we define ourselves as defines our idea of success.