My prose writings

Becoming Free; chapter- 6 ; Change in expectations

Read all chapters here


     We thought over instincts of mind. Now we proceed further in our study to be free.

   Expectations are at the root of all our woes; and life without expectations is practically impossible.What a pitiable situation? How unbearable a prison? What deep helplessness?

     Very few would have been devoid of helplessness. If someone is known to be a saint, who has renounced all expectations from life; he /she would be having a new goal – ‘Let me do something; so that my brethren become free of the bondage of desires.’ That is why Jesus was crucified; and Gandhiji was shot dead. Thus expectations, even in their ameliorated state would persist.

     We also saw that the root of expectations is- ‘desire to live’. But a bye product of the desire to live is ‘To get what is missing in life; pursuit of happiness.’ This is the primary goal of life; the fundamental expectation from life. The quest for happiness generates new desires and that imaginary phantom of happiness gets shifted further away from us.

    A child thinks that; “I do not have a toy; and my friend has it. So I too want to have it in my possession.” A student desires to get first rank in the examination. A young man or woman yearns to have sensual pleasure that will ignite a fire in every cell of his/her body. A popper just looks for two square meals to keep body and soul together. A millionaire has ambition to become a billionaire. A king wants to become a supreme emperor over greater territory. A saint yearns to become a prophet.

      Achieving, procuring, more… more… and more… The moment that desire is fulfilled -that thirst is quenched – something again seems missing and again the dreams for achieving and procuring more pop up.

     New quest; new expectations; new struggles; new woes… the same closed loop that keeps us running for the whole life. Myriads of poems have been written on those mirages of life and will go on being written.

    We may also note and never forget that dissatisfaction over current state of affairs is needed for development, progress and reconstruction. Mentality of – ‘All is perfect.’ –  will definitely result in stagnation. We may also conclude that’This is life.’ Very true!

     But a common experience of all is that the race for development and achievements generates stress. The fire of dissatisfaction does generate new vistas of advancement but it does not pacify. Something is always missing despite having everything! One at the tip of pyramid aims at new horizons to conquer. A preacher who preaches to renounce everything aims at adding a few more to his lot of disciples!

     None is at rest. There is a void that never fills. ‘I want this; I want that.’

     But the way out is very simple too. Till the quest for ‘That’ is there; there is a void. The sense of – ‘This is it.’ – puts a stop to the restlessness. We may continue to run in quest of new; but there is a possibility of getting joy in each and every step that we set forth in our journey.

     Our life may be full of roses OR wild flowers or even thorns; nobody stops up in making an Ikebana out of them. If we learn the art of making that Ikebana, we can put a stop to our woes. If we get joy in every step of our lives, we have lived. Otherwise there is not much of difference between us and a corpse.

   The art of making an Ikebana out of available materials is the ‘art of living’. That is the way to be free. Then we can fly free in the sky and go ahead wherever we want to reach. It is transformation of our expectations –

  • Not a pursuit for happiness; but a quest for joy.
  • Joy gives rise to Chaitanya – throbbing life
  • The experience of life throbbing in every cell of our being gives us access to Truth- the truth of life in this moment.
  • The realization of truth leads us to experience of oneness with our basic being

      As we start listening to this inner voice; the cobwebs of darkness, ignorance and deep slumber start getting dilapidated. Instead of running behind imaginary mirages, we start feeling the soothing coolness of the spring of life within us. Nothing would change practically and yet everything would be seen in new light.

    Goals will remain; as also planning to attain them. The steps and struggles will also continue- as will expectations. But the expectations get a rudimentary transformation. The ever persistent quest will still be there. Only the direction changes- outward to inward. We start desiring to distribute the joy; sharing it with all. We may not become saints ; but start living a kindly life.

  A well known Gujarati poet has said-

“It may be death or life; there is one common helplessness. The funeral procession goes ahead on support of shoulders of those carrying it. Life too proceeds further on support of others.’

– ‘Mariz’

   This sense of helplessness is the transformation of our present predicament. We start acknowledging the support we get from so many sources and start extending similar one to those whom we can.

    I’, ‘My’, ‘Me’ – that eternal dialog takes a total turnaround. The sense that ‘Our whole life – from birth to death- has been dependant on others’ – germinates a deep sense of gratefulness. Our panorama of action and activities go on getting dedicated for service to others; instead of merely for the self. The whole life becomes a Yagna. (Holy fire of sacrifice). Goals, planning, strivings – all for the benefit of all around me;  nothing for myself.

An ever persistent echoing and resounding voice …

I am nothing;
I have nothing;
I want nothing.

     ( That ‘I’ is NOT our so called identities or masks –but our true being – what we are at core.)

‘I want this, and I want that’gets replaced by a desire to share and serve.


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