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  • Writer's pictureMeera

Unhappy Achiever: Reached My Goals But Still Unhappy

I never found comfort in stillness and inactivity. I always have to be doing something all the time to feel worthwhile. Until recently, I never really enjoyed afternoon naps; I always thought I was wasting my time doing so.

I often find my mind wondering- Am I doing enough? Have I achieved enough? Even when I do my best with whatever resources I have, there is always a sense of 'lack' which never seems to go away. If you are anything like me, continue reading.

Perhaps, this feeling has its roots in my middle-class upbringing. In a family like mine, there is no generational or family wealth. One cannot afford to be complacent if one wants to move up the social ladder. The only way to break the status quo is to work relentlessly until the goal is achieved.

However, nobody told me what happens after the goal is reached.

Even after completing my studies at a reputed university and landing a well-respected job, that feeling of “lacking” never disappeared.

Growing up, I was rewarded and praised only for my achievements. Naturally, my sense of worth came to be attached to the unending cycle of work-achieve-reward, where contentment never lasted, and fulfillment remained an unfaithful ally.

At one such time, I asked Gurudev-

Gurudev, why does it feel like I have not achieved anything yet? Why do I feel unfulfilled?

Gurudev chuckled and replied-

“What is that you want to achieve? Do you think gaining a better position, adding more achievements or reaching more milestones will make you feel more content? Meera, it will all be left behind! You are not going to take any of it with you. This life is too short to worry over anything at all.”

He paused and continued,

“Meera, all the achievements you are running after will merely provide you 'Sukha'. They will never provide you with the sense of content you are after. 'Sukha' and 'Dukha' are both temporary. Only 'Anand' is permanent.
Once you have fixed your mind to Gurudev, when you know that there is someone who is beyond any bodily restrictions and who is looking after you, you will no longer feel restless.
Once you have known that the ultimate being is protecting you and standing by your side through your good or bad, especially through the bad, you will no longer be fearful.
Once you have known the love of that being, with whom you can have any relationship you desire, your mind will feel a sense of calm.
Once your mind becomes completely fixed in Gurudev, anything you do brings you absolute bliss, 'Paramanand'."

He continued-

“On the other hand, if your mind is not fixed in Gurudev, you will keep running after one achievement after another, one material pleasure after another, yet never feeling fully content. As soon as your desire is achieved, a new desire will be created, and you will again go running after it. This way, before you know your whole life will be over, you will realize you did not experience one content moment. You did not live at all!”

Gurudev, How do I find fulfillment? I asked.

“Keep your mind fixed in the contemplation of Gurudev. Feel a sense of gratitude for all that you have in your life. Do you feel this sense of gratitude?”

Yes, Gurudev.

“How often do you feel this sense of gratitude?”, He asked, then continued without waiting for an answer, “Tell me, how many times do you eat?”

Three times, Gurudev.

“You have to feel a sense of gratitude as often as you consume your food. Gratitude is food for your soul. Your soul will only find its strength when you nourish it with gratitude and fix your mind on Gurudev and his contemplation."
"I want you to surrender every single thought to Gurudev and become empty. Only then will you enjoy the eternal bliss, Paramanand.”

In this way, Gurudev often tried to make me realize the subtle realities of life while pointing out the futilities of our desires and the never-ending races that we are caught up in.

However, one must not mistake it as a passive attitude toward life.

Gurudev always encourages me to continue the lifelong learning process. He cheers my smallest of victories and achievements. He believes that life is meant to be lived and one must not curb their desires unnecessarily as unfulfilled desires would always manifest themselves in some other form and again present themselves before us.

Instead, one must live fully and meaningfully so that while our desire is met, we remain detached to the object and outcomes of our desires.

Only when my desires got hold of me to the extent of making me anxious and unstable would Gurudev burst my mental bubble and restore my balance!

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