We all have a dream that ends on the top of a very high mountain. Without stopping, we have to climb the mountain of social power, of making money and of chasing attractive partners. In this way, when we have gambled all of our life, we will be free of misery and anxiety forever. So we are told, or maybe we tell ourselves, but we believe it all the same. One day, we will have so much that we will not want. Just like that slumdog who dreams of one day crashing a wedding party where he will eat so much that his stomach will burst and his tongue would lose all taste from all that eating. We dream on.
But the man currently on top of this mountain is also deeply unfulfilled. The leader of the free world, a billionaire rich beyond comprehension, and the husband of a succession of beauty queens. If you marked the highest point for everyone since the dawn of humanity on a graph, this man would rate at the top of the mountain even then. This man tweets at 6am that people don’t appreciate him enough. He is still wanting.
What use is the climb to the top of this mountain if the man at the top of the mountain is still wanting? If there must be freedom, it must be found all through the ride up the mountain, and not just at the top.
Thirty Days Hath September. I’m laying out 30 practices for a full life in this month. It’s day 3.
तापत्रेय tapa-treya | the three anxieties
In three ways we are filled with anxiety. Our work does not bring us meaning and satisfaction. We live our lives and die without getting to know ourselves any more than a little child might (or perhaps worse). We move about in a state of fear for our puny little self against this infinitely large universe in both space and time. There is no relief, still we try. We try, and we get no satisfaction.
आदिभौतिक adi-bhautik | the physical world of action and work (self-actualization)
Think about what gives you most satisfaction at work. Then think about why every moment isn’t spent working like that. We don’t work with enthusiasm, and we are easily frustrated. When we work for ourselves, we are always trying to protect our little candle-flame against the mighty winds of opposition. What can make this small candle burn so bright that the winds will fan this flame higher?
आध्यात्मिक adhyatmik | hello, I’m me (self-realization)
Who am I? This isn’t a pop-psycology question to use to impress people at a party. It’s the only question that we can ask as humans that lower order creatures cannot. Who moves around the world wearing my clothes, carrying my names, and eating my food? The path of Yoga and Dhyana are concerned with answering this question.
आदिदैवीक adi-daivik | our relationship with the universe (self-transcendence)
Are we a small boat in this wide ocean, rocked and threatened by every incoming wave? We sure live like we need to be protected and insured against the universe. But what if the relationship isn’t adversarial but friendly? What if the universe is just playing with us, as us? What can we do to be friendly with the universe, even loving?
These are the questions that the man at the mountain doesn’t ask. And that is why he is anxious. The cure for our anxieties is not at the top of the mountain. We can find the cure where we are.