Ever wondered why the peace and happiness that you are looking for is so elusive? Even if we are peaceful for some time, we are restless the next moment. This question let me to write the book – Happiness is All We Want! I realized that our peace and happiness is intricately linked with our well-being in physical, mental and spiritual planes. Today, I share with you an excerpt from the spiritual well-being section (Chapter 11) of the book to emphasize this point.
Why Worry About the Soul?
Besides mental peace and physical fitness, there is a higher level of joy which many human beings claim to have experienced. Even based on our personal experience in this life, we crave for that supreme peace which is long lasting or permanent and cannot be disturbed or taken away from us by factors outside our control.
As I briefly touched upon in the first chapter, this higher state is related to the state of our soul or self. By consciously working on uncovering our soul, we start on a path to achieve a sense of absolute tranquillity and everlasting happiness.
Continuing my analogy of comparing a fit and healthy human being with a race-horse, I will add that a person who is not spiritually aware may be a fit and a healthy race- horse but one with blinkers on.
Becoming aware of the spiritual side of our existence is like taking those blinkers off and being completely cognizant of where and what we are. This process surely takes time but we need to start it nonetheless.
Wake-up Story: I was inspired to increase the intensity of spiritual exploration by certain events in our family. When I got married, Manisha and I had the good fortune of having all our eight grand-parents alive.
But after some time, we began to lose them one by one. At the time of this writing, three of our grand-parents are with us while five have departed. Two of them died after a brief but painful illnesses lasting about four to five months. Two of them left us very abruptly, without much advance warning. One of them crossed over after a prolonged bed-ridden condition for about two years.
I had a chance to spend few days with a couple of them, during their final days. This experience was an eye-opener really. Here were these elderly and revered figures whom we had seen hale and hearty since our childhood and we always thought that they were going to be with us forever. Obviously, that was not to be.
The point that I’m coming to, is that starting any exploratory work in that late stage of life is very tough if not outright impossible. We have to think about that stage from now and prepare for it not only in terms of our bank balance and pension plans, but also in terms of our spiritual development and well-being. And that preparation needs to start now!
This part of the book on the soul or the spirit or the self (Atma: in Sanskrit) is meant to give you a glimpse of a vast and well contemplated subject. I say contemplation, because our store of knowledge on this subject is based on ancient texts from various cultures.
We cannot see, touch, feel, smell or hear the soul or the self. At most, many of the spiritually advanced beings may have experienced it. At best, it can be described as a concept. The concept being that our physical bodies are carrying ‘something’ that can outlive this life and based on one’s beliefs this ‘something’ goes on to do various things in future.
Since there is no scientific evidence of existence of the soul, it is left to one’s belief system to decide whether it exists or not. The existence of the soul or the self cannot be demonstrated by someone else to you. It has to be experienced by you, yourself. Only the truly self-realised individuals can actually describe the concept of the soul. Our ancient texts prescribe various paths towards the goal of spiritual enlightenment or self-realisation.
Whether your belief system allows you to consider the possibility of the existence of the soul or not, this section of the book is going to be useful for you, as long-lasting or permanent happiness is every human being’s goal. Whatever be your conviction, the following pages can give you some insights based on what I have learnt so far on this subject.
Practical Tip: Even if one does not follow any religion or does not believe in the concept of God, achieving a certain level of peace and wellness at a higher level is a prerequisite for a great life. The non-believers also have a right to a peaceful life. As such, the basic desirable qualities, which I will talk about later, are independent of organised religion. If one can practice these without any religious compulsion, these are equally fruitful. By bringing your attention to some of these basic themes, I hope to help you start or continue faster on your own spiritual journey. This ultimately leads you to make sense out of this seemingly chaotic world. You live a balanced life with a measure of contentment and achieve happiness and joy every moment.
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A seeker and explorer in the quest for lasting happiness, health and well-being. An MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Delhi. Has been a senior banker with large global banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and ANZ Bank. Working in these demanding global institutions with a gruelling schedule and plenty of business travel. Was fortunate to realise the importance of health and wellbeing early on. Learnt and practiced many wellbeing tools and techniques to focus on his own well-being while balancing the demands of a high-profile career and a lovely family.