When a person fails to see himself having an identity beyond this body, he invests all his energy on this fallible mass of flesh. He thus struggles perpetually. Instead of lasting peace, he only gets momentary respite from suffering when his senses contact the various sense objects. Thus he spends his
whole life chasing these fleeting relief experiences – a bad bargain considering what he could potentially achieve. And since he has no experience of a higher reality, he declares, rather naively, that sense gratification is the only goal of his life.
Identity – 2: Mind – I want Love
Some realize that bodily pleasures give more suffering than happiness. The advertisements goad us on to seek gratifications but there are people who seek something deeper- they want Love.
This is also a natural human need and there is nothing wrong in seeking to fulfill it. However, like the bodily needs, there is no end to how much love the mind can seek. Despite abundance of love, the mind wishes someone gave more love. The word ‘Love’ immediately invokes a desire in the mind to receive it- almost everyone who hears or talks about Love, thinks how he could experience it; love is something that ‘I desperately need’ or ‘my heart is starved of love’- these are our internal rants.
Both the bodily need of food and mental need for love are in the space of what I can get in life. A child, as soon as she is born, seeks both food and love. Those who don’t get it abundantly land up with distorted personality issues in later age. Therefore, these are naturally healthy human needs.
But the fact remains that the mind remains perpetually dissatisfied. Unless of course, we connect to our third and most important identity of the spirit or soul
Identity- 3: Soul – I want to give Love
If you are thinking ‘I want love’ you are still living in your mental identity. But if you think ‘I want to give Love’, you are now embarking on a sacred, spiritual journey that throws amazing possibilities. And this is the foundation of an authentic Vedic culture.
In contrast to our bodily and mental identities where we essentially seek for the self, in a traditional, Vedic society, we want to give and contribute. It’s when we give that we experience a level of happiness that is both quantitatively and qualitatively superior to bodily and mental pleasures. The body and mind always seeks to take but the soul – the foundational aspect of our existence- our real being- wants to give/serve. When we give ourselves totally in service, the body and mind protest; and if we yield to their demands, we chase a chimera, whole life. But if we satisfy the spirit’s needs, by genuinely giving ourselves, we’ll find deepest peace. Obviously one has to balance – you can’t neglect the body and mind. But it’s also a fact that when we give love, the body and mind’s needs are also satisfied.
Imagine if in a family or community everyone thought of serving and pleasing the other person, what happiness would lie in store. And it’s possible; one person has to make a beginning.
To be continued…