In this talk (the 3rdin the series “Lessons from Lockdown”) we examine the need for a guiding light to help us navigate life. There is a need to recognize the fact that we are often the “products” of a great deal of conditioning (previously known as brainwashing). There are some surprising examples of this in the talk.
We have been sold the idea that increased consumption will deliver much-wanted happiness, peace, and fulfillment. As a result, we feel the need to be always “on the go” in that quest for a wonderful future. But as we may have learned from the lockdown, this may not be true. In fact, some of the messaging we respond to may in fact deliver the opposite result to what was promised. Hence the need for objective and insightful guidance to find a way forward, to a more peaceful and purposeful life.
Albert Einstein penned a short formula for happiness which he gave to a bellboy in lieu of a tip while visiting Japan in 1922. His advice directly contradicts current consumer messaging. He wrote:
“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”
This provocative message is consistent with the ancient guidance offered by great spiritual authorities. The ancient Bhagavad-gita offers similar advice:
“A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires — that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still — can alone achieve peace and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.” Bhagavad-gita 2.70
What a shock to discover that feeding our desires and appetites will neither fulfill us nor make us happy and peaceful. We sorely need to find and embrace such wisdom and have it guide our life choices and values if we are to truly become happy and peaceful.