We all seem to be working much harder than our ancestors, but are perhaps
not happier. We work hard so that we may enter good educational institutions,
which in turn, would help us get high paying jobs enabling us to buy what
money and power can. This would make us feel good. Ultimately it is all
about being happy, but how much time do we spend introspecting on how
to achieve this goal? We are too busy climbing the steps and seldom think of
where they are leading to. Whenever we desire something and we get it, we
do feel happy, but for how long! Very quickly, we get used to the new car,
the new house and to vacations abroad.
The sum total of times of such happiness forms a very small percentage of
our lives. A couple with whom I stayed for some time, got excellent jobs
after graduating from the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad.
They had a beautiful fl at near the sea, a nice car and were earning so much
that they could go on expensive vacations to different parts of the world.
Every morning, sometimes even on Sundays, they would be up early, rush
to offi ce and come home late at night looking a little spaced out. The TV
would be switched on for a little while and one or both would sit in front of
it like zombies. After that they would go to sleep and the next day would be
the same as the previous one. Yes, once a year, maybe, they would take a
lovely one week vacation to the Bahamas or wherever! They had what most
young people aspire for, but shouldn’t one spend some time thinking: is this
what one should really aspire for?
It is important for all of us to ponder a little about where we are heading.
The pressure of the times, however, prevents us from doing so. It is in the
interest of big companies to make persons refl ect as little as possible about
things other than that associated with their work. They therefore give big
pay packets and buy off the thinking process of the individual. You make
the person work from 9 to 9 and more, leaving him with little chance to
fi gure out which way he is heading. This often leads to depression, because
intuitively he knows he is stuck. To treat the depression, external support is
sought in the form of psychiatrists, pills, etc. which further enslave him.
On the other hand, if he is ready to accept a job which provides less
material benefi ts but gives him more time for himself, he could experiment
with different ways of extending his periods of happiness and increasing
their frequency. He could also build up his internal defences to deal with
depression that hits each one of us periodically. Our ancestors did just this
and found out that a little meditation every day gives us much more than
what money can buy.
So many wonderful methods of meditation have been developed to suit
different temperaments. They help us attain equanimity by linking us with
our inner selves. Peace and longerlasting happiness are the direct results. As
one becomes adept at the practice, bouts of depression diminish in frequency
and intensity. Also our ability to handle these periods improves.
Beginning with at least 15 minutes of meditation of the form most suited to
you a day is recommended. It must be done daily. Missing one day puts you
many days behind. One of the lesser benefi ts of meditation that is tangible is
that it concentrates our thought processes, making our mind more focused.
We are therefore able to see more clearly, which way we are heading and
can hence take timely corrective action. Classical music and dance are
excellent meditative techniques. SPIC MACAY is trying to bring a large
number of youth from all over the country closer to these and other forms
of meditation during its annual conventions every year.
–Dr. Kiran Seth