I normally read two kinds of books. One type is where all the successful people tell you their stories and give you some really good tips to become successful in life. They take your ambition to the next level and motivate you to perform great actions. I am really grateful to such leaders because they have changed many people’s lives. These kinds of books give me enthusiasm and motivation I need to achieve my goals. Another kind is the one that you read in your relaxed mood. They are mostly written by yogis or enlightened people who tell you that everything you are trying to search is here in this moment. They teach you meditation & spirituality and show you how to embrace it in your daily life. These kinds of books don’t give you enthusiasm, but they give you peace of mind. They make you feel content and show you the path of unlimited happiness.
My thoughts keep on wondering between these two ends, where one side is of material achievements and other side is of inner growth. One side is of moments of pleasure and the other is of happiness. One side is focused on more physical needs and other is focused more on the needs of spirit. Out of this roller coaster rides of my thoughts, I wonder what could be a simple day. Should it be working hard towards your ambition like most of the businessmen spend or should it be like Buddhist monks who spend their most of the day in meditation.
I am not sure if most of you have such inner conflicts, but I definitely have. I want the peace and happiness, but at the same time I also want to put my skills and capabilities at work so that I can give comfortable life to me and to my family. I might not get the best of both worlds as you will have to commit to one fully, but I can at least get better parts of both the worlds. I keep on searching for the balanced way, but I hardly find a teacher or an author who is not extremist on either of the side. So let us look at both extremes and let us try if we can find the balanced life. Below is the fictional thought process of my own. It might not be true.
A successful entrepreneur – He is someone who has a tight schedule during his day. He is enthusiastic for every morning. He is focused on his goals and has achieved everything in life he desired. He has a beautiful house and lovely family. He regularly go for vacation to exotic places and enjoy all the delicious meals. He gives his body and mind extra work on the weekdays so that he can live a good life on weekend and holidays. He has everything one can ask for and many people are envy of his success. However, he does not have peace of mind.
He feels good about all his achievements, but he still feels something is missing. He gets the pleasure from all his collection in the starting, but later on all of them just become a show piece in the house. He gets good time with family on the weekend, but weekday just pass on like he never lived it. He has lots of money to fulfill all his and family’s needs and wants, but still he is searching for more without knowing what he is looking for. He does not feel content and he cannot enjoy all he has fully.
A Buddhist monk – He has a fixed routine and does not have to go out to fulfill his goals. He believes in living in the present moment. He spends lots of time in inner exploration through meditation. He knows the ultimate truth of life and has devoted his entire life to live by it. He does not have any anger or grudge for anything or anyone. All he feel is the ultimate happiness and peace of mind. His entire world is his monastery and his family is his teacher and fellow monks. He does not have attachment to anything nor he desire anything more out of life.
He has neither seen the world, nor he has experienced delicious meals. He might have left all his responsibilities of his family and his family might be suffering due to this. He experiences the same feelings every day and does not explore other aspects of human. He has understood the truth of life, but he might not have lived the life itself.
Confused? Which one to choose? I get the same feeling and most of the time I come to the conclusion that we should take benefit of both the extremes. As per my thinking, life should be combination of both. God has given us this body because he wants to experience life through us and at the same time we need to remember that we are part of it. We were born as a traveler and God has decided our destination already, but we have the option to choose our journey. Being ambitious is good for the world as we have seen so many inventions. Imagine if everyone would have become the monks, then we would not have seen so many creations.
If we continue our duty with keeping God in mind, then we will not harm anyone and will be grateful for everything we have received. We took birth in one family and it is our duty that we give them the best possible life including our time. Becoming monk may give us the happiness, but what about them. World is beautiful and we should explore it in this short span of life. At the same time, we should not spend our entire life in running after money and collecting things we really do not need.
I always mention that we should grow in all areas of life. Inner growth is equally important. Including meditation in daily life can act as a miracle even if it is just for few minutes. We get the peace of mind which we can extend to our full day. We become grateful for our blessings and we start giving more importance to relationship than to things. I believe that the best way to live is to live like a household monk who performs all his duties and at the same time explore and enjoy the life from inside and outside.
Just the way we need both day and night, earth and sky, we need both successful people and monk. Be ambitious towards your goal, but be content for what you have. Travel the world, but go on the inner journey as well. Money is important and so as human values. Enjoy the pleasures of life, but keep in mind it is temporary and continue your search for ultimate happiness. Even though you might not get best of either world, but become your best self.