Why do we feel unhappy? Why do we suffer?
Two questions everyone ask themself at some point in their life.
If you are selfish in nature, you may ask this yourself when you are sick or depressed.
If you are kind, you may ask this yourself when you see someone else suffer from pain.
Whatever the reason, the reality is, instead of diving deeper within to find a permanent solution to these questions, we let them pass by without giving them a second thought.
We forget about these questions by easily losing ourselves in the distractions around us, by running after meaningless goals, by seeking comfort in material objects, or by forcing ourself to our old habits of living with ignorance.
But have you ever wondered what answer you will find if you were to meditate strongly on the cause of unhappiness and suffering in your life?
Well, if you have never done this before the answer might surprise you.
If you look at the problem at a surface level you may think that unhappiness and suffering comes when you don’t get what you desire. For example, if you desire a promotion at work and you don’t get it then that causes you unhappiness; if you desire a few words of comfort from your best friend and they only criticize you then that causes you suffering.
But what’s the root cause of our unhappiness and suffering here. Is it the lack of the fulfillment of our desires? Or is it the existence of desires itself?
So many meditators before you and me, across all ages in human history, have debated on this and worked all their life to find a solution to it.
Perhaps, the questions are as old as humanity itself, and the answers may be equally old.
So if these questions aren’t new, and the answers aren’t new, then why do we ignore thinking about them and why don’t we try to understand them instead.
The truth is simple to see, though hard to fully understand : All our unhappiness and suffering in life comes from our desires.
That also implies that the end of our desires also leads to the end of all our unhappiness and suffering.
When there is no desire left in you, the desire to be happy, to be rich, to be beautiful, to be famous, to be gratified, to be praised, or to be loved also ceases to exist.
And when that happens, you feel such deep peace within you which you have never felt before in life. And then, even when any unhappiness or suffering does come in your life, it easily dissolves within this peaceful state that’s inside you, and all you are left with is true happiness.
The very reason your life wasn’t peaceful till now is because your desires had clouded your heart and mind so that you couldn’t see the peace that was always there within you.
If you ask me one thing that’s sure to advance you ahead in your mindfulness and meditation practice, then giving up your desires would be among the top of my list.
Just by giving up your desires, you can come very close in touch with your consciousness.
Now, one question may bother you : If you give up all desires in your life, then how are you supposed to do any work at all?
That’s a valid question. Without desires, how can you act, talk, walk, read, write, or do any thing that requires you to do something.
Don’t you need goals and deadlines in life, which are nothing but a form of desire, to move ahead in life?
Is it even possible to live one day of your life without desires?
Living Without Desires
Fortunately, there is a way to do all your work in life without having any desires.
And that way is to simply do your duty in life, which to put more accurately is to do your dharma in life.
Your dharma is nothing but your duty which you do based on strong universal principles of virtue and righteousness.
With zero desires left in you, your dharma is the light that shows you the way ahead.
Your dharma is what makes you get up every morning, eat what’s necessary for your body to function, do the required work to feed your family, act as per the welfare of every life-form around you, meditate whenever you can, live with mindfulness all the time, and go to sleep at night with a content heart so that you can walk the path of dharma again next day.
It’s your dharma that helps you live the right life, act the right way, think the right thoughts, and say the right thing to others.
Without your dharma, you may lose your path in life and may end up doing things that make you selfish, hurt others, cause harm to the planet, and which only prepare you for more suffering today and in future.
Know Your Dharma
Give away your desires. Let go every little thing that you cling to in your life. Try to see how much you are bound to suffer in life if you don’t let go your attachment to all the things in your life.
And then once you understand the uselessness of attaching yourself to all kinds of material objects, try to work daily on understanding what’s your dharma in life.
Ask yourself what you must do as your duty in life : Is it to take care of your old parents? Is it to spend time with your kids and teach them the right values? Is it to take a walk to your office, instead of driving by car, and do your bit to help the environment? Is it to turn vegetarian and reduce the suffering in this planet?
These are not my questions. These are the questions that you have to ask yourself.
And the right answer to all such questions lies somewhere deep within you, and only you can know them. Your job is to try to find out for yourself what they are.
If you can’t find the answers on your own, read spiritual books, practice mindfulness and meditation, ask someone who knows the answers, and don’t rest until you know within your heart of hearts that this is the right path for you to take in life, this is your dharma in life.
The war against your unhappiness and suffering isn’t an easy one. Your enemy called desire won’t be tamed easily. So start today to make yourself stronger than your sufferings, stronger than your desires, and it won’t be long before your life becomes happy and peaceful once and for all.