Your peace of mind is within yourself

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Article Date: 
Feb 13 2013, 2132

What does one want in life? What do people run around for everyday, from home to work to home? Why the dips in the Ganga? Why the congregation in Mecca year after year? Why the visits to the Vatican? Why Jerusalem? Why Bodh Gaya? Why?
What is it that everyone is seeking? Security, blessings, some answers, what? We know that whoever is born must die. So, if it is immortality you seek, chances are you are wasting your life looking for what is not there. And in the process, miss out on a whole lot of stuff that can be enjoyed. If it is a peaceful existence to enjoy the time you have, then there are enough miracles happening all around you, provided you start to see them. Begin with your breath, the heartbeat, the blood flowing through your arteries and veins and then move on beyond your body. There is an endless list of wonders — every sunset and sunrise, the moonlight or the lack of it, the dance of the sea, the trickles from the icebergs that journey down to the sea, joining many other streams on the way to form massive rivers, the desert dunes that move and change with the wind, the flowers that bloom on some meadow with a bursts of colours and the bees that suck out the honey before they wilt away. If these are not the most amazing things, then what is?
Why have we complicated our lives so much that we miss out on the most obvious and instead, spend a lifetime chasing some bizarre notions of happiness? We connect happiness with finding jobs and making money by doing things that we often have no connect with. We strive to be one upon the other, no matter what it costs us and teach the same to the next generation. “Does it gives us peace of mind?”, gets buried somewhere in a far recess of the mind. The cycle thus continues — more anxiety and more chasing of a symbolic religiosity with the hope of finding some solace — pushing us further away from life as well as others — towards a fearful existence as an individual who begins to see everything and everyone else as a rival.
To sort out that fear, we must congregate into some cluster based on race, class, among others. To validate the idea, we churn out expressions of loyalty, while still fearful of the other. So we must close our eyes and let the herd do whatever it may be — even killing another by a direct or indirect action. That is how we accept a forced upon identity merely by virtue of being born into a certain geography or community. Borders drawn, it becomes easy to dehumanise and celebrate the death of another human, who does not fit into our cluster. But the mind is a funny organ. It doesn’t let go off the ‘why?’ easily. No matter which unconscious recess you bury it in, no matter how much you twist the words from the books, it keeps troubling you for the truth. And the truth is likely come in the way of all those boundaries built by the herd. The question thus begins to make you a traitor. The conflict triggers anxiety, and even more fear. So, we seek penance by appeasing our notions of gods, offering bribes to buy some peace.
I watch a bunch of crows hover and scream over the body of a dead crow, mourning the death and even attacking people who came in the vicinity. I have seen monkeys do the same. But we have evolved way beyond these basic creatures to even fathom what we stand for.

(The writer is a filmmaker, traveller and doctor)