We live in a world where success is measured through the busy noise of life. A good job, costly car and flat etc are the benchmarks for a successful life. The more luxury you have, the more successful you are. To be frank, we can’t imagine a “primitive” type of life where everything that you have been enjoying or wishing to experience in future is missing. A life without DJ party to rock your ears? A life without tons of notifications to satisfy your ego? Who wants to have such a boring life? I guess most of us, especially the teens, would do anything to avoid such a humdrum life. But is a calm and quiet life scary or is it just an unexplored utopian realm?
Lessons from past
Let us see what the past teaches about the importance of a calm and quiet life. The first historical figure that comes to my mind when I think about this topic is Asoka, the great emperor, who ruled almost all of the Indian sub-continent. Asoka was a brutal emperor who caused bloodbath of countless innocent people. What Asoka had in his life is something that we can only dream of – “Ultimate power!” Your achievements and dreams feel like nothing compared with Asoka’s immeasurable wealth and power. Even in the midst of such ultimate wealth and power, Asoka couldn’t find happiness. The battle of Kalinga had changed the heart of Asoka and he realized the truth that whatever he achieved, whatever he was living was worthless. He embraced Buddhism and embarked on a journey for a calm and quiet life(This is the moment of self-realization).
Tao Yuanming was a Chinese poet who had left his Government job for a peaceful life. The hectic life when he was serving the Chinese government and his sister’s death were the reasons for his change. He gave up every luxury and found happiness in poetry.
People who left stressful life in search of peace and happiness isn’t limited to the east, there are many examples from the west too.
- St Francis of Assisi
- Arthur Schopenhauer
This is one of my favorites. Arthur Schopenhauer is a famous German philosopher whose books, essays etc have deeply influenced my way of thinking. Arthur Schopenhauer, who is a pessimist, is one of the greatest philosophers of all time. Most of his life was spent in a room by writing and practicing flute. He appreciated the beauty of a calm and quiet life and most of his quotes reflect such a view.
“To be alone is the fate of all great minds” – Arthur Schopenhauer
“A man can be himself only so long as he is alone, and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom, for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
“Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
Ok, so there are many lessons from the past. Now it is time to see anyone renouncing busy life for a calm and quiet life.
Lessons from the present
The first thing I do in the morning after I open my eyes is checking my phone. I open news app to know what was happening around the world while I was sleeping. Some days I see some great news that helps me to wake up in shock or in wonder. I have screenshots of two incidents that seem unreal for a normal person.
When I was reading this news, I was wondering about them and their decision. Both of them have a great academic record as well as money. They can easily achieve what we dream — a good job, a good family life etc. Still, they chose something that we call crazy — a life of a monk! Now choosing a monk life is too difficult for us, but such news has a lesson for us— “our perception of a successful life isn’t always right”.
Misconceptions of the society
What makes us think that a busy, noisy life is a successful life? I blame the society. Society never appreciates the beauty of a normal peaceful life and pushes us towards a restless life. This happens since childhood as most of the parents force their child to pursue a busy life and hides the other wonderful side of life. Trying to impress parents and society for many years, a person can only dream of a calm and quiet life in old age. The truth is that a monk who lives in Tibet or some other place is happier than a CEO of a multinational company. Doubt that? There are various brain scan reports which prove that point. Unfortunately, people will always measure happiness and success by the following criteria:
- The number of material possessions you have which includes car, land, gold etc.
- The height of a house is directly proportional to the happiness and success of the owner of that house. The Bigger the house, the happier the owner.
I don’t encourage you to forget your dreams or to escape from your responsibilities. What you must realize is that peace deserves the first priority in your life. It is better to choose a peaceful life than living a life accumulating all the stress. Most of the disease people have nowadays are the side effect of a stressful life. I hope you consider a simple life before it is too late. 🙂