Growth and expansion are buzzwords nowadays. Everyone wants to grow with the speed of lightning and attain name and fame. A youngster wants to move from a bicycle to a racing car, a graduate desires to be at the top position of the company, a man having thousands yearns for crores, and the start-up wants to become a unicorn.
The epidemic of more is looming large over the world. English poet William Wordsworth rightly said, “The world is too much with us….” We are striving hard to fulfil our desires, taxing our bodies and minds, turning them into machines and setting the wrong example for our children.
If there’s one word that is an anathema to contemporary aspirations and ambitions, it is limits. Our mind argues that when the whole world is chasing success, we might be labelled regressive by being content with having less or doing less. A mother telling her son that a bicycle might be right for him now would have many detractors. Someone might say that she is imposing limits and it is the right time for him to shift from the bicycle to the motorbike. Likewise, an employee telling his boss that his expansion plan is impractical may face opposition from colleagues and seniors, accusing him of putting impediments in the growth of the company.
Basically, we hate the idea of being imposed with limits. Having limits has become something of a buzzkill. We overdo things to raise the bar for ourselves, to be with the fast moving and changing world, we push ourselves under constant stress and strain.
However, I believe to be content is to enjoy a sense of poise and live life beautifully. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu observed, “There is no guilt greater than to sanction ambition; no calamity greater than to be discontented with one’s lot; no fault greater than the wish to be getting.” By nurturing avarice, we violate the laws of the universal natural force.
Just like plants and animals, we too are created to be free of the baggage of acclaim, aptitudes, assets or authority so we need to comprehend that these ephemeral entities aren’t the things that can give us contentment.
The desire to reach the sky and create a niche for ourselves is a natural instinct in all of us but to get obsessed with it, attain it by hook or crook is wrong. To limit ourselves isn’t to undo development, retire from life or live like a sage. It simply means simplifying our lives. When we release the mental conditioning that clouds our thinking, we have an epiphany that our need to acquire entities is unnatural and unnecessary. We gradually learn to adopt an attitude of non-acquisition and let go of our greed to accumulate.
Laws of nature teach us this. We can’t change day into night or break the limits of gravity and get closer to the sun. These laws are symbolic of the fact that we need to control our desires. Extreme yearnings should be avoided, however desires in moderation should be attained with dedication and diligence. What we must do is to declutter our cacophonous cackle of greed, be free from it to attain a state of perfect physical, emotional and spiritual serenity.
Apt is the observation of American author Germany Kent, “Take time daily to reflect on how much you have. It may not be all that you want but remember someone somewhere is dreaming to have what you have.”
The writer is an associate professor in English at MLN College, Yamunanagar . She can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.