Polymath Letters (29/01/2020)

No desire is going to make your life complete

Before starting the email, here’s a gift for you: Letters.PDF. I compiled all previous newsletter emails into this PDF file for your weekend reading.

Let’s get to today’s email.

Today I want to share a realization about desires that changed my life. Last year, in December, I visited Kerala with my best friend. It was a wonderful trip, and one of the best experiences was a stay in a mud-house in the middle of the Chinnar forest. Here’s the view outside the mud-house:

The picture doesn’t do justice to the layers of mountains peeking through clouds and the dense forest around us. But you get the idea. I got to spend two days in a jungle with the closest friend I have. A dream come true.

But.

Something was bothering me. I was feeling very excited on the surface, but deep down, I was feeling the same, as I always felt — a neutral feeling. Strange to describe. This feeling reminded me of the day I launched my first book Pursue your Passion. The book sold 100 copies within two days. I was awestruck. I couldn’t believe this is happening. The feeling of that high stayed for about a month, but after a month, everything was back to normal. All the days were once again the same as they always were.

No matter how big of an achievement you accomplish, the joy from that experience stays only for a couple of weeks. Right now, you might have some desires — some you are working on, and some you are procrastinating on. But the fact remains the same: when you fulfill these desires, your mind will find new ones — new worries, new anxieties, and new problems to solve.

When I tweet such realizations, people often ask what to do then? What’s the solution? Understand this: what I mentioned is just a pattern of the mind; it’s not a problem to be solved. However, there’s one thing you can do: don’t expect something from a desire that it can’t give you. No desire is ever going to make your life complete. Does this mean my life will always be incomplete? No, on the contrary, when you stop chasing completeness, the sense of incompleteness vanishes. You will see that the chase of completeness was creating the illusion of incompleteness in the first place.

Take a step back and recall all the desires you fulfilled in your life — small, big, easy, hard — any desire. Did any of those desires, when fulfilled, made you stop desiring more? Did achieving any of them made you think, this is it, my life is complete now. You still kept having new desires, right? Once a desire is fulfilled, you start looking for new things.

One caution before closing the email — don’t force to stop desiring. A desire to not desire is also a desire. As desires come and go in your life, keep observing the truth behind them; any change that has to occur will occur naturally.

Namaste 🙏