“Santosh” will lead to “Shanti” and “Khushi”. These three Hindi words can be translated to “Contentment”, “Peace” and “Happiness”. Where ever you have reached in this material world. If you don’t have contentment you will not have peace and happiness. The opposite to contentment is “Unstoppable Desire”. This will never let you have peace and happiness in life. Happiness may come for sometime but again will disappear.
Desire is the craving for anything from personal pleasure to material goods or gains or fame or power.
If only I had more money, if only I had more power, more fame, more connections, more accomplishments, more cars, better cars, then I would have been happy, then everything would have been happy, then everything would have been fine and okay and people would have loved me……….or
If only I were smarter or thinner, or heavier or beautiful or more muscular, with more hair on my head, if only I would have looked nicer – then I would have been happy and everything would have been fine. If only I had sex more often, with more people, with a particular person; if only I would have been in that lavish party yesterday and dined with the celebrity I would have felt happier, more connected and people would have loved me…….
All these are due to unstoppable desire, the never ending desire that is the cause of all the chronic stresses of the human kind.
Desire: Both sides of the coin
Desire is beginning of both Happiness and Sorrow for all of us. If we do not have desire, we will not work or put our energy to achieve that desire. Achieving the desired object gives us pleasure. Sigmund Fraud, the famous philosopher said “It is the pleasure principle that keeps us in perpetual/constant motion. We keep on putting up constant efforts for gratification of our incessant desire. All the people in this world keep on working hard for the gratification of their desire”. On the other hand, it is the unstoppable desire that keeps us unhappy and in chronic stress. Most people feel that if one’s desires are fulfilled at will by itself it will lead to lasting happiness or well being. But such beliefs normally result in further cravings or desires and repeated enhancement of activities to bring about the enhanced desired results. Materialism, money, name, fame, power are wants that apparently can never be satisfied. As a result desiring them continuously will only bring sufferings. The antidote for desire is “Contentment or satisfaction”. Happiness is in the mind. If you are contented with whatever you do, or whatever you are then happiness will result. It is the resetting of the mind that desires should be limited and if the mind knows that we are voluntarily decided to cut down desires to achieve happiness we have probably reached a solution. But at this point there are two problems our mind also keeps on fluctuating and second is that we are social animals staying in a group so, all the people in the group should agree to getting contented within the decided limit of desire.
Mind’s tendency to change
Let us analyze the mind’s own fluctuations, adaptation. Today I am satisfied with my car, my house, my wife, with my children. The next day I see someone with a better car, bigger house, more beautiful wife/ more accomplished wife, more educated/talented children my mind becomes unhappy and I want to feel unsatisfied. I earn a particular amount of money and am satisfied the next day I meet someone with more income and then the happiness evaporates. I have a car and I am happy. Then I see the advertisement of a newer car better than mine my desires spiral. The happiness is converted into unhappiness. Most of the advertisements in the TV, newspapers, and internet are designed to increase this desire the modern day’s mantra for want, need and buy. Now how to solve this problem! How do we direct the mind not to change? So fast, not to compare? How to develop the strength those mind does not run towards unlimited aspirations. It will be definitely be by logic. Mind must analyze the subject in detail; agree completely that limiting the desires is the only way to achieve more happiness. Then it may work. Then the mind needs to be reminded again and again, reaffirm the resolve repeatedly, reminded about the logic again on day to day basis. Mind must know that we should have materialistic desires – but that too must be within a particular limit. It may be 25% or 50% or 75% of one’s realistically achievable goal (today’s desire). This can be reviewed from time to time (may be yearly) after an analysis.
Positive and Negative desires:
Desires can be of two varieties. One is towards more success, more studies, more promotions, more work, and more income, more saving. In this world where money is very important their desires lead to prosperity. This can be called positive desire. The other kind of desire is about spending more. New car, new dress, branded shoes, designer saris and designer dresses, designer ornaments, buying expensive perfumes, visiting five star restaurants, buying latest electronic gadgets, expensive decor, expensive furniture, changing to new cars, spending lavishly on parties, expensive holidays. Most of these desires have no limits and leads to draining of the resources, less of savings and create more stress on the long run. This is negative desire. It is true that excess of desire whether positive or negative both are not good. We need to balance the two kinds of desires. I would suggest 75% of the Positive desires (if 100% is the maximum of the real possibility) and 25% of the negative desires (if 100% is the maximum possible according to your status or income).