The seeds of desire

On Diwali day, my mother gifted 20 euros to my children aged 8 and 11. Once the initial euphoria of receiving cash gifts subsided, they started thinking about how to spend that newly acquired wealth – on toys. So, after a couple of hours, off we went to a toy shop where they stared at toys from a large and successful Danish manufacturer. Now, there is not really much you can buy with 20 euros – most toys of that brand, specially the ones they wanted, were priced at much more. My younger son asked me, “Why don’t you put in some money so I can buy a nice toy?”. “That is not going to happen,” was my reply. “You may spend what you have, not what you don’t.” After much deliberation, he decided on a toy which was within his budget. He also wanted to pay “with his own money” so he proudly handed over the 20 euros to the cashier himself. The cashier drew the receipt and placed the toy packaging in a plastic bag. As must be the custom in that shop, the cashier, almost mechanically, started putting a ‘free’ and rather thick brochure of toys from that manufacturer in the bag. I caught her in time and politely declined the ‘free brochure’. This is an insidious way of sowing the seeds of desire in children.

The way it works is like this.

The brochure is full of pictures of toys set up in ways arrestingly interesting to a child’s mind. Children pore through the pictures and imagine themselves playing with those toys. They do this over and over again. Soon, as it must happen, they lose interest in the toy they have and want one of the toys from the brochure. They then use pleading, requesting, demanding, insisting, threatening (anything which works) ploys with their parents with an aim to make them buy them the toy they desire. Most of them will not rest till they have that particular toy. As frequently happens, parents, who might not be able to afford the toy in question will buy a cheaper one, just to pacify the child. By then it is too late. The child’s mind has a seed of desire implanted deep in its recesses which has taken root. Buying  a cheaper toy will water the seed just the same.

This seed of desire is sown deep in the subconscious part of the mind. As the seed germinates, it will break the surface into the conscious part of the mind through into the world of work and action. Which means the conscious mind will keep taking decisions and actions which will keep watering the plant. Plants can bear flowers and fruit which are beneficial to all. In our analogy, it means we undertake actions which are for the good of all. Or the plant can become a weed, serving no useful purpose, bearing no flower or fruit, occupying the limited surface area of our conscious mind and sucking up nutrients from the surrounding plants which want to bear flower and fruit.

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A thousand mile journey…

More than 2500 years ago, Lao-tzu spoke these famous words: A thousand mile journey begins with the first step.

Today I took my first step on my spiritual journey. It is actually my first concious step on the path of my new journey. A new journey full of hope and promise. One where I will endeavour to become what I was meant to be.

Its with most of us. We are in the midst of living our lives, earning money, loving people, seeing places. We experience many new and wondorous things. We use mobile devices, wear large wrist-watches, drive in the car of our dreams; we even write blogs. But do we stop and ask ourselves where we are going?

Its not that I did not know I would have to walk this path. Since the last 6 years, I’ve been toying with the idea of starting afresh; giving myself the chance to see what I can create, what I can set into this world, not just for me, but for others – mainly for others. But I was waiting for the “right moment”. A right moment when either the path would suddenly appear below my feet, or when I would suddenly find myself on it. I even knew that the path I was then on was not the one for me; that the one I was on was picturesque, full of wonderful things bought with money (some of it credit). But it was not what I was meant to be. I knew I would have to step on to another path soon but…

…as Morpheus said in The Matrix, “…sooner or later, you’re going to realise just as I did – there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

Today I made the mental move to recognise that I have left the path I was on and am on a new one now. It is not just a new path in my career – I will be moving over to a completely different field; its not just a new path in my life – Its a new path which for me is spiritual. Spiritual because I know its not about the mortal, weak, vulnerable me. Spiritual because the path does not ask me my name or where I’ve been, only shows me where I need to go. Spiritual because I know I am already discovering the true me – formless, nameless, (although still wearing a given name for legal reasons), but one who will create forms and give them new names; one who will define events and not be defined by them; one who will continuously grow spiritually and help others grow; one who will change himself and then his world – for the better.

Spiritual because I have finally understood my fears and recognised my freedoms.

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