The Ability to Live by the Soul’s Desires Means to be Healthy, Happy and Successful
2.1. To be able to Hear One’s Heart, One must Stop Being a Slave of Basic Instincts
If you have not found anything worth dying for, then you do not know how to live.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
You write a lot about the importance of having aspirations, and that this will make us happy. But I have a plethora of desires, yet I continuously remain unhappy, as many of my goals do not come to fruition. Even when some of them do materialize, I only become happy for a mere while.
First of all, it is very important to distinguish between desires that originate from our True Self and ones that are merely fabricated. Our mind will willingly accept everything that involves our own pleasure, and recoil from anything disagreeable to us. For example, as soon as you enter a room and see a cake, the senses of smell and sight seize upon it, sending a message to your mind: This cake is freshly baked and delicious! The mind’s reaction is instantly clear: Go and enjoy it! Take as much as possible! It does not care that it might possibly be unhealthy, or that there may be something else that should have priority at this moment, etc.
The same applies to anything that affects our mind, which our senses consider to be pleasant for our body and sensations. Such things as a beautiful house, a new car, meals, drinks, and fashionable clothes are accepted without any doubt. This is the level on which small children and animals operate, but the problem arises when a grown man also functions at the same level. Just as it is not possible to quench a fire by throwing more wood onto it, it is also impossible to satisfy one’s desires by continuously giving in to their fancies. On the contrary, if we turn into slaves to our own senses, we become more and more degraded, spiritually at first and ultimately also on an intellectual and physical level. This can easily be seen in our modern culture, where, although material welfare and bodily comfort are constantly growing, the numbers of happy people are significantly declining.
Our life keeps becoming more complicated, and the way of thinking more primitive, although the desired situation is vice versa an uncomplicated life, yet an elevated way of thinking.
Nevertheless, we keep participating in the at race trying to earn more and more money, in order to full-fill more and more whims of a crazy mind. How can there be a place for lofty reflections, when we can just about hope to be able to crawl for the TV remote every evening? We have long outrun the pigs by the quantity of bad food we consume, while the level of marital infidelities and vice has almost reached that of notorious Sodom and Gomorrah.
Can you remember when and where you have recently seen a person truly shining with happiness? It’s hard to recall immediately. What will probably come to your memory will be the faces of people who have just experienced animal pleasure, or just stuffed their stomachs with food, been to the bathroom, been notified of a salary increase, etc. But if you meet these same people shortly afterward, you will not see this joy any more. All this indicates how this world is full of worries, problems and plain suffering for our body, mind and the false ego.
Some American psychologists conducted a fascinating scientific experiment over 15 years ago. The participants of the experiment were middle-class prosperous Americans, who were given something similar to a chess timer and were asked to press a button to calculate the time when they felt happy and content. The experiment was held over a number of days and many participants took part in it. The results showed that people experienced happiness only for a few minutes a day, notwithstanding the fact that America is one of the most advanced nations in the world when coming to achieving physical comfort.
2.2. Striving for Happiness Deprives You of Happiness
If you imagine that the purpose of life is only happiness,
then life becomes a cruel and meaningless thing.
You need to understand what human intellect, your intelligence and your heart tell you
that the purpose of life is to serve the Force that brought you into this world.
And then life will turn into joy.
A great scientist, Professor Viktor Frankl, wrote: The driving force behind modern civilization is the pursuit of pleasure, but the principle of pleasure destroys itself in the end. The more one strives for pleasure, the more distant he/she becomes from the goal of achieving happiness. This destructive urge to gain pleasure is the root of many sexual neuroses (indeed, many men consult psychotherapists for this reason).
Pleasure cannot normally be a goal in itself. It is and should remain a side effect only. It is the process by which one attains a goal that creates a reason for happiness.
If there is a reason for happiness, the feeling of happiness will appear automatically. If one is depressed, it means he or she has no goal to reach.
There is no need to strive for happiness, or to concern oneself about it, if the foundation for it exists. Furthermore, one should not become fixated on happiness, since the moment happiness becomes the object of our endeavors, it inevitably becomes the center of our rapt attention and ultimately slips away.
Thus, it is very important to distinguish between loyalty to a true goal, on the one hand, and an excessive desire combined with excessive attention (to children, health, money, etc.), on the other. The former allows a person to achieve harmony during the process itself, and brings on happiness automatically, whereas the latter creates neurotic behavior.
A man is driven not by happiness and pleasure as such, but by what generates them: God and God’s Love. So, true purpose is God and Love. When we live and request something for others, we are given everything. When we live and request only for ourselves, everything, starting with happiness, is taken from us.
1. Freud’s pleasure principle is the motivating drive of a small child.
2. His talented student Alfred Adler made further progress. He saw the driving principle of a mature personality as being the achievements in a social sphere to be more precise, in the possession of authority and power. This is a level of a teenager. This desire to attain power appears due to the need to make space in which a person can feel safe and secure. This in turn comes from the fear of death, which, in Adler’s opinion, is a more forceful impulse than the desire to receive pleasure.
3. But Viktor Frankl got to the heart of the matter. Striving for meaning in life is the leading principle of a mature personality. And only at this level one can be content, healthy and truly successful. The first two principles are self-destructive by nature, as they relate to the mind and ego.
2.3. Our Desires are the Cause of our Sufferings.
I don’t know your destiny, but one thing I definitely know:
only those of you who will look for and find a possibility to serve others, will be truly content.
False ego is a process of identifying yourself with what you are really not in the first instance, with a body. An undisciplined mind and an inflated ego are our chief enemies that turn our lives into hell. The main feeling of the false ego is fear, and its main desire is to use, to receive: recognition, glory, status, money, physical comfort.
According to Eastern psychology, there are five barriers on the way to true bliss:
- Ignorance, which means identifying oneself with one’s body, living by its interests, while forgetting about one’s true self the soul.
- Self-satisfaction or pride, which is considered a primary sin in virtually all religions.
- A craving for worldly pleasures.
- Insatiable striving for wealth.
- Hatred and anger when desires are not fulfilled.
Moreover, Eastern psychology says that our desires are the reason for our future sufferings.
I’m not saying one must completely renounce all desires. We live in this world and it is normal to desire something and have a certain level of comfort. It is unlikely that someone from Western civilization will be able to live a full-fledged life somewhere in the countryside of Bangladesh.
Strict asceticism is not recommended, especially for women. And this is not the main point at all. It is normal to try to satisfy one’s main, basic, needs. The most important thing is not to live by desires and instincts of one’s false ego and mind. They are destructive by nature, as at their origin lies a strong desire to acquire, to possess and to exploit. And this indicates a cancerous cell behaviour.
The foremost desire of our True Self is to live by God’s love, with selfless devotion.
The deepest need of a human heart is a need to live for something more significant than just following the selfish impulses of one’s mind.
Besides, there is one other very important desire to live according to one’s destiny or, in other words, to live in consistency with our higher calling. To follow the path that is prepared for us by God here on earth. Whenever we do something and our heart sings for joy, this means we are following our path. Unfortunately, not everybody has the required courage to follow his or her path towards one’s dreams. We are afraid to fail, or to cause pain and suffering to our relatives and friends. Since childhood we have been told that the object of our dream is out of reach, until we become convinced of it. When we first begin to move aside from our personal path, we feel a sharp pain in our soul, but with time this pain becomes dulled, until eventually we may even stop feeling it at all.
That is why, when I wrote about goals and desires, I meant that they must come from our soul and become realized through the aid of wisdom and common sense. They must also clean up our consciousness and be generous by nature, have the ability to give something away for the sake of others. I am opposed to encouraging you to follow the caprices of your mind. In this world there are lots of others who will do so. Just open any newspaper, watch TV, drive along any city street, and a sea of advertisement will engulf you. Buy this, purchase that, forget about everything and delight your senses, become a slave to your mind, betray your true self.
But by employing even a little sense one can notice that nobody has become contented or relaxed by following slogans of modern advertising, or those modern thinkers who, being slaves to their baser desires, lead society or individuals into disaster.
And also, you will see that the more a person follows the caprices of one’s mind, the less contented one becomes in all spheres of life. For happiness, health and success can only be reached through concentration and tranquility of mind.
Only people who usefully strive towards reaching their goals can reach a happy and harmonious life. But in doing so you shouldn’t sacrifice your peace of mind.
For example, imagine that you are going to a very important rendezvous with your loved one in another city. You’ve been waiting for this meeting with great joy for a long time. On your way you constantly see an eye-catching advertisement: visit this amusement place, or visit that restaurant with amazing and very cheap dishes. You forget about everything and decide to visit them. As a result, you miss your engagement and your life changes for the worse.
Or another example you have a free day with no plans. You get up whenever you get tired of lying in bed in the morning. You watch TV, gossip on the phone, eat whatever catches your eye. It seems you have just opened your eyes in the morning, but it is already late evening. One more unproductively spent day, one more life.. The time spent uselessly passes by very quickly. But if you plan such a day and stick to the plan, ignoring your mind’s fancies, the day can pass in a very productive, full and interesting way. You will have enough time to work on both your intellectual and physical qualities, spend time with your children and help your relatives and friends.
I trust this example will be understood very simply and logically.
2.4. Practical Recommendations. Basic Methods of Goal Achievement
If you want the Truth as badly as a drowning man wants a gulp of air,
you will reach it in a flash.
One should develop the desire to reach a goal. In other words, one must have a passionate desire for something, and this brings inspiration. Without this first step, we will be unable to reach anything. Remember that the Universe responds to all our wishes.
One of my teachers would say: You need to wish for love toward God. If you don’t have such a desire, you need to wish this desire to appear. If you don’t have this desire either, you need to wish that you have the desire to wish, to wish for a desire to attain love for God.
It is important to define a concrete goal and to write it down, to clearly see the result, to be able to give up any goals of lesser importance, and desires that are unrelated to the main goal.
It is good to have an example to follow, somebody who has already reached a high level. Read about his or her experience; try to meet in person or through his or her books, articles, presentations or lectures. If we think about someone, or, as it is said in the East, if we meditate on someone, we become akin to that individual. This is why it is highly recommended to always reflect on God, saints or about highly spiritual individuals. If we want to become successful in any sphere of life, to improve some traits of our character, then we need to follow the example of someone who has already achieved the highest level in the area we wish to develop.
We need to do and to study things that bring us closer to our goal, at least for one hour a day. For example, if we want to be in good physical shape, then every day we need to do something for it: read special literature on the subject, do physical exercises, get rid of bad habits, etc.
Regularly ask yourself unexpected questions, and answer at least one of them every day. This immediately moves us from the platform of mind, half-sleeping reveries to the level of wisdom.
- What do I want to reach? (in life, during the next 5 years, in the coming year, on this trip etc.)
- How do I want to reach it?
- What do I do to reach it?
2.5. Rely upon the Higher Power
But at the same time it is important to understand that the ability to set precise goals and to be determined to achieve them must be combined with the ability to live in harmony with the Universe, to accept what comes naturally, to trust the flow of life.
Selfish people are quite often very target-oriented. Some of them may even have good intentions to make the whole world better, to stop wars. We know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The Universe is perfect. In natural reserves, places where modern man does not stick his nose, everything runs smoothly on its own. Can you remember a time when the sun didn’t rise above the horizon? Have you ever seen an animal that has not been able to create a family, or insects that have starved to death?
But because people do not want to accept that they are part of Nature and they have but a small position in the world, they run into so many different problems. Modern people want to manage Nature, but instead of this they become more and more dependent on it.
We are but a small part of a unified whole. And the mystery of life is that we need to act as a means to express the will of the Divine Authority.
2.6. Do not put Anyone on a Pedestal
Only extremely resilient individuals can say they live by their own desires. Most people play the roles and live by the ideas thrust upon them by society, friends, mass media, advertising. Quite often they do not even suspect it.
In your articles I quite often get not only advice but energetic support, confirmation of my inner feelings and my understanding of the world, life, God. Some time ago you published an interview with a famous celebrity, which really surprised me. I did not detect any energy in the replies she gave. She says all the right things with the right words, but I feel the urge to counter: I don’t believe you! It seems that the energy of words depends on how strongly a person believes in what he or she says or writes. The words of this actress seem like a pioneers chant, as if they have been learned by heart and are just repeated from one interview to another.
I did not agree with her phrase: Happiness is the joy we get out of life. In my opinion, happiness is a joy we give to those close to us and those around us, regardless of what we have ourselves received from life. I value a person who has the ability to love regardless of circumstances, a person who can be happy not only in joy and prosperity, a person who is self-sufficient, and for whom a lack of a successful career or a happy family life will not be a barrier on the way to unconditional love. An awareness of God inside oneself, feeling His help at every moment, His support and love, generosity and justice all this, I believe, is real happiness.
In regards to the interview with A., in general you are right. The modern stars cannot allow themselves to say what they think. Most of them have ready clich’s for each interview that were thought up by their PR managers. They can seldom allow themselves to be what they really are, even to their nearest and dearest. At a consultation it is very difficult to find the way to their hearts, through the many masks and roles they play even in everyday life. I also noticed that they are often very unhappy and completely confused people deep inside themselves. It’s a pity that they are role models for many people.
Art has a most significant influence on the subconscious. It has the potential to influence huge masses of people. Its original aim was to bring people closer to the Divine, to fill their hearts with love, to develop spiritual growth. In contrast, the main goal of modern art is to accumulate the maximum profit and not to express a spiritual ascent. That is why it does not influence the higher centers of energy, but the lowest ones, primarily igniting sexual desire in any way possible. This may allow a state of euphoria for a short while, but causes great damage to the soul, intellect and physical body.
One rarely finds a show business personality who is sincerely seeking spiritual life, has a deep inner strength and wishes to make a spiritual breakthrough in the art.
You are also correct in your understanding of the word joy. The Russian translation of the word joy (radost), from the ancient Slavic, connotes to give or to gift Ra. Ra means the Sun. In other words, to give light to one’s surrounding, but not to take.
2.7. One becomes the Object of One’s Thoughts
â€œI have accustomed myself to get to other people’s shoes, which helps me understand them better. But very often I have headaches afterwards and feel a lack of energy. What would you recommend?
It is true that we should always put ourselves in other people’s shoes to better understand them. This alone should be sufficient to not take offence at them. And without it, how will we realize the main principle of all religions: Treat others the way you would want to be treated?
On the other hand, it may be dangerous to warm to the image of another person. I’ll try to explain. When you think about somebody with love or hatred, you pick up his or her qualities, since on a spiritual plane a very intense exchange of energies takes place, and you basically insert a subtle image of this person, his or her phantom, into your own mind. If this is done consciously, you simply merge a spiritual image of this person with your own, and, of course, this will influence your way of thinking and your character, as you capture a piece of this persona’s essence.
But, unfortunately, these individuals are not always saints. TV spreads mostly contain a damaging energy, and not all the individuals shown there are worth copying. In general, my opinion about TV is that if you want to live a productive, happy and healthy life, you need to significantly reduce watching TV or give it up completely. This opinion, by the way, is also proved by the results of many scientific researches.
In Eastern philosophy and psychology, the highest level of perfection is considered to be when we always have an awareness of God and never forget Him, and meditate about saints and righteous people.
Once an individual begins thinking about God and the saints, the atmosphere becomes illuminated, the mind grows calm and the body organs work in perfect harmony.
There are lots of examples when an actor, after shooting the role of a virtuous person, experienced a significant change in disposition, became more spiritual, kinder, and gave up bad habits; and vice versa..
So if you have an affinity for, or even spend a lot of time thinking about, someone with a low moral compass, selfish, who is on a low spiritual level, then the degradation of your conscience, leading to illnesses and suffering, will eventually follow. Nowadays, everybody is used to discussing and making icons out of famous artists, sportspeople, politicians, but not all of these people have a divine nature. Interestingly, even if you think a lot about someone who has brought you misfortune or offended you, you become similar to this person and take on his or her qualities, until after a while you start behaving alike. We experience the most particular and intense exchange of energies with those people for whom we feel affection, whom we elect as idols for ourselves, or whom we hate. That is why the commandment: Do not create any idol for yourself is so important. All the spiritual schools coming from God do not recommend idolizing anyone or anything in the world.