Source: – Four Pursuits Medium Page
In My last blog, I had talked about holistic fitness and discussed in detail physical, mental and spiritual fitness. They are nothing but the fitness of body, mind and soul. In this blog, I would talk about our innate desires, our pursuit of happiness and how it related to fitness.
Before I build on the premise relating pursuit of happiness is fitness, first of all, I would like to mention that, all human beings (in fact, I feel all life forms but here I would restrict myself to humans) at every given point of time are trying to maximise their happiness quotient or minimise their sadness quotient.
What I am trying to say is that we all to best of our ability, knowledge and resource are continuously trying to make choices so that we attain as much happiness (contentment, संतोष) as possible with our constraints.
All our actions are driven by our innate desire to be happy, peaceful, contented without tension or conflict as much as possible.
Hence, all humans are programmed to be intrinsically selfish.
Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t mean to say anything bad here but only the truth. Even when we are doing something for the people we love, or for a social cause, for the environment, it is driven by our desire to be happier. The root of all my desires is in my existence and hence if all my desires are for making me happy there should not be any surprise in this.
If we stop deriving any pleasure from helping our mothers in the kitchen, or by sacrificing buying a car for paying college fee of your younger sibling, or by giving donations for Flood victims, then we won’t do it.
The underlying motivation behind any of our actions is our own happiness or contentment. All other things are secondary and just means to an end, not the end.
You bought an expensive gift for your girlfriend because that’s gonna make her happy and it would make you happy. So the root is not her happiness but your happiness.
You sacrificed, your career for your children. Because spending time with them, taking care of them, seeing them grow up makes you happy.
If you’re so concerned with Amazon fire, it is because you understand it’s the effect on the environment and on your life too. That piece of news is bothering your peace of mind and hurting your idea of sustainable development in alignment with nature.
If somehow, you stop getting any sense of pleasure from these activities or become completely indifferent to them, you will not do these activities for the sake of others.
Before we move on, we all first need to accept that we are selfish people, always trying to maximise our happiness quotient in our relentless pursuit of happiness.
On thought level, this is probably the only unifying principle for all humans or maybe all life forms.
So, stop feeding yourself and others lies that you’re doing it for the society, or for your old parents. You’re doing it for yourself. And we don’t need to be ashamed about it. This is how we are programmed.
Now, even though all of us are driven by our innate desire to happy, still we all make different choices in the same situation because the difference lies in what would make us happy. And here I bring you the concept of desires.
We all have some physical desires, some mental desires and spiritual desires.
NOTE (For Atheists and Non-Believers):
And let’s assume, we don’t know if God exists or not. Neither confirm nor deny. But you do exist, right?
You can’t deny your own existence, you wake up, you see, you eat, you breathe. But can you say you know yourself completely? Can you say, I have 100% control on my body and mind? Can you stop all thoughts in your mind for as long as you like? Can you stop your heart from beating at will and then start it again? Can you have conscious control over all voluntary and non-voluntary actions of your body? Can you feel all the trillions of cells and microbes in your body? Can you tell why do you get certain dreams? Can you tell why do you feel fearful of certain things? Why we click with certain people and with some we simply don’t? Why do we suddenly fall for someone? For most of you reading this, the answer would be NO!!
Most of us can’t even control our anger, our temptation for eating delicious, unhealthy food, smoking another cigarette, drinking a few extra shots, and watching Netflix during exams. Let alone having full control on our voluntary and involuntary actions and thoughts.
Now, consider spiritual goals to be the ultimate goal of knowing your self completely, getting to know your true innate nature, after purification of all vices (like need to be superior, fear, jealousy, attachments etc), impurities, ignorances and eventually abiding in it, effortlessly and having 100% control of your being, be it physical, mental, or spiritual.
So, you don’t need to know God, you need to know yourself. When you know yourself completely, you will end up realising, that you are yourself nothing but GOD.
Since we all have different desires, our way of pursuing happiness is different from each other. And your desires will determine your own unique fitness regime and lifestyle. Hence, you should make your own fitness lifestyle after clearly stating your dreams and desires in your own head.
Let me elucidate it more. All desires can be broadly categorised into two categories:
- Worldly Desires: Desires like earning material wealth, fame, having family, serving the society, travelling, achieving something in a particular field etc are forms of worldly desires. Because all these desires need you to be external and outward moving. You have to deal with the world to fulfil these desires.
- Non Worldy Desire: Non-worldly desires are where the world as such has no place. You innate desire to know the all-pervading consciousness that is the underlying principle of all creation completely. Your desire to know the fabric of creation and underlying cause of all creation. This is equivalent to knowing your own self. Basically, your desire to know the SELF/GOD is non-worldly desire. In non-worldly desire our outlook is inward and internal not external.
We all are pursuing our spiritual desire knowingly or unknowingly. Even the pursuit of worldly desires is actually making you progress spiritually.
How? I will tell you, HOW…
With every action, inaction, association and event, we either learn something or unlearn something about ourselves. In fact, all the associations and relationships that come in our life, come to teach us about our own self, not about something external to us. So, even if we are not consciously doing it, we are making progress on our journey to know ourselves better which is what spirituality is all about.
This process is always forward-looking, even if you seem to be going down, you are actually not. This process of evolution and quest to know the self is irreversible. We all are making progress every moment. Just that the speed varies.
Those, who start pursuing their pursuit of happiness with logic and structure, make progress much faster. In fact, their progress is evident to the people around them also.
Hence, I have written the logical pursuit of happiness is fitness.
Now, for finding your own fitness lifestyle, you need to ask yourself, what are your innate desires. Because your innate desires will determine how much time and focus you give to physical, mental and spiritual fitness respectively. Other factors would be your current responsibilities, your resources, and your existing thirst for your desires.
Didn’t understand? I will explain:
Suppose there are three friends Ram, Krishna and Mahesh.
- Ram wants to be a Mathematician (Extreme Mental Fitness)
- Krishna wants to represent India in the Long jump (Extreme Physical Fitness)
- And Mahesh wants to devote himself completely to his spiritual goals (Extreme Spiritual Fitness)
Now, all three need to work on their well being so that they can pursue their dreams without much hindrance but their lifestyle and fitness regimes would be different.
Let’s discuss the case of Ram:
Wanting to be a Mathematician, relates to our intellectual hunger and desire to be superior over others in terms of logic and solve the problems which no Mathematician has ever done. This is a form of worldly desire.
What Ram wants to do requires him to have a sharp logic, patience to stick with problems, determination and a fit body so that he can continue to do his work without getting bothered by bouts of unwellness.
So, Ram would mostly focus his time, resources and energy so that he can sharpen his logic, calm his mind and do some basic physical activity daily to keep his body in good condition. For him, 15 mins of doing Surya Namaskar, 15 mins of sitting in meditation and 30 mins of pranayama is enough to keep him fit for the pursuits of his dreams.
Rest of the time, he can devote to studying maths, solving problems, taking meals, and sleeping etc.
Now, Let’s discuss the case of Krishna
Wanting to be a successful athlete and represent India also is a form of worldly desire, where the sense of “I” of person wants him or her to be better than others. This relates to the physical hunger of a person to attain more and more stamina and beat others.
Krishna wants to represent India in the Long jump. This kind of desire needs extreme focus and devotion of time, resources and emotion to one’s physical fitness. He would have to train for hours daily, along with it he should do some 15–20 mins of meditation and 15–20 mins of pranayama daily to keep his mind and soul calm so that he can perform even in adverse conditions. His diet would be focused on his performance.
Let’s discuss the case of Mahesh, now:
The desire of Mukesh to find himself is a non-worldy desire because the world does not have much role to play in it. In fact, it can be a deterrent. Mukesh’s desire can not be fulfilled by other people. He would have to work to go inside his own being.
Mahesh wants to pursue his spiritual goals full time and hence he starts living in an ashram. Because his focus is on his spiritual goals, he would dedicate his most time to activities related to his spiritual goals like meditation, chanting, breath control, reading scriptures etc but at the same time he would give some time daily to his physical and mental fitness so that his physical and mental unwellness do not drag him down on his spiritual journey. He eats accordingly too. Only as per the need of his body not for the gratification of his tongue.
Hence, he would do yogic asanas, Pranayam, and other exercises for say 1 hour daily and spend hours on meditation.
So, all three of them Ram, Mahesh, and Krishna are trying to remain fit in life but their way of achieving it is different because their desires are different.
I tried to take 3 extreme cases, now a person can be a combination of all three or many different desires. You have to find out your fitness regime in the alignment of your desires. Your priority list, your resources, your current location etc would also play some role in it.
One important thing to notice is that your fitness regime would keep evolving too with your desires. Be sure of that.
So, some of you would spend 2 hours in the gym and some only 30 mins in the park. Some would be very strict about their diet, whereas some would want to eat freely but burn the calories.
Some would only go for a morning walk and some would go for long runs. Some would sit silently for only 15 mins, whereas some people sit for hours in meditation daily.
Some would spend hours reading and learning and some would never open a book. And everyone is right in their own way.
I for myself have a very peculiar fitness regime and lifestyle which is very much aligned with my desires, my resources, and my responsibilities. I am very clear about my leftover desires in the world and plan my life accordingly. It includes my workout, my professional life, my personal life, my diet, my personal alone time etc.
Not discussing it here in detail but if people want me to discuss that then I write about it in my next upcoming blog. As to how different factors shaped my fitness regime, lifestyle, diet etc and how it keeps evolving and changes almost every three months.
There are as many fitness regimes, as many people on earth because each Individual is a completely unique set of impressions, desires, preferences and will power. You would have to find your regime depending upon different factors in your life, most important being your own desires.
But you have to keep in find that no matter what your desires are, we all should give 30 mins to our body mind and soul daily. Because having a fit mind, body and soul would help you perform much better in everything with the lesser quotient of conflict and problems.
May all of us find the reserve of infinite energy in our own being.
Thanks for reading. Do share your feedback and let me know if you would like to read more on similar subjects.