07 May Since we’re on the subject of TWOs
Many years ago, I read a book called Shantaram, a true story, written first-hand by Gregory David Roberts, narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter Bombay’s hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek, in this remarkable place, what they can’t find elsewhere.
As a hunted man without a home, family, or identity, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city’s poorest slums, and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The search leads him to war, prison torture, murder, and a series of enigmatic and bloody betrayals.
Shantaram may have been the most thought provoking book I’ve read, and to this day, I still think about it’s many lessons. At one point in the story, Lin asks Prabaker a question,”What is suffering?” which was debated shortly before by money & power hungry men. Prabaker responds, in his simple way, that suffering is merely a word that means “hungry, for anything.”
This isn’t one of the most popular quotes from the book, but it stood out to me, and changed my definition of simple happiness. If to want is to suffer, then to be happy, one must not want. We have to be content with who & where we are, and what we have, in each passing moment. The simple way of attaining that is to feel gratitude for all that we already have.
Today I came across another quote, which led me back to this simple, yet incredibly POIGNANT idea I first received from Shantaram.
There are two ways to get enough: One is to accumulate more and more, the other is to desire less.
The problem with the first option, is that when we are in constant want mode, we can’t ever be content with what we have, and therefore, we will always suffer, just as Prabaker suggests to Lin in Shantaram.
In my humble opinion, the greatest lie is that with more money, more things, we will feel more happiness. This lie was created to make us buy things. And in turn, we, as a collective culture, have become slaves to our suffering minds. So let’s stop this great lie in it’s track. Let’s free ourselves, and be content with our realities.
How can we do this?
Start slowly..open your eyes in the morning, open up your blinds, curtains, or whatever you have covering your windows, and be grateful for the sun as is shines it’s energy into your soul…and SMILE.
Repeat this every day, because even if you don’t believe it at first and it seems like just a chore, you will soon feel the gratitude in your heart. It may even bring you to tears one day.