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Sanity in an age of Intensity – Part 1

“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” – Albert Einstein

We often hear: You achieve success when you work hard for it. It doesn’t come falling into your lap; you can’t sit idly and hope to receive it!

Therefore I was surprised when two decades ago, as an apprentice in our ashram, I heard, “real success is dependent on how you ‘receive’ life, not how you’ achieve’ it”

Since then my own practises and observations have convinced me of this principle.

The price of intensity

Recently a friend declared to me, “It doesn’t matter what you do, but you must be passionate about it.” He spoke animatedly, “You could be a monk or a CEO of a multinational company or even a sweeper on the street but you must live a life of intensity.”

I politely probed, “Why should anyone be obsessive about his profession? I am quite happy and peaceful and don’t see a reason to psyche myself up about it.”

“No, you don’t understand”, he offered his free advice. “This world is a battlefield; the go getters are out to grab everything. You need to be on your toes and fight many enemies, both within and without, for survival in this world.”

“But there is no war out here”, I said slowly and softly. “There is enough for everyone. Let’s live and let live.” Inadvertently I stunned him by my response.

After a brief pause, he jabbered on, “Er…uh.. I mean you’d agree for sure, after all you are a monk, that there are many enemies in our own mind we need to fight and conquer.”

I said, “If you think you are always fighting a war, you are simply destroying your own life.”

He stared at me sceptically, and said nothing.

I said, “Intensity demands a heavy price. Your sympathetic nervous system gets overworked because a constant fight, flight and fright existence has a catabolic effect on your health. It breaks your tissues and exhausts you. Please learn to relax and sleep well. Enjoy your work and be happy. It’s all right if you are not a CEO. Do your best and all good things will come your way.”

To be continued…

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