Anything incomplete makes you miserable and unhappy! And the horrible truth is that many of us are leading incomplete lives.
We recently met a manager who lamented the lack of fulfilment in his Life. He has everything material – two cars, a large apartment that’s free of mortgage, a globe-trotting job and lots of money in the bank that’s enough to ‘pay for retirement and leave behind some for the family’. “Yet”, the man confessed, “I feel incomplete. I am missing something. I don’t know what it is. I am searching for it.”
Many people around us are in a similar state. This happens when you reach that point in Life when materialism cannot satiate you anymore. So, you are seeking inner peace and happiness. And you realize that all that you have achieved – academically, professionally, socially and financially – is not fulfilling. This is the time to pause and ask yourself if you are indeed being yourself – not the super-qualified, brilliant engineer or doctor or accountant or singer that you think you are, not the parent, not the spouse, not the dutiful tax-paying citizen that you think you are, but are you really enjoying being who you truly are?
There’s a simple way to check this out for yourself. Are you saying what you really want to say in all your relationships? Are you doing what you truly, deeply, love doing all the time? Are you happy in all contexts of your Life? If you answered ‘no’ or ‘not quite’ for any of those questions (and these are not the only ones) then your Life is incomplete.
At the core of your unhappiness – both stated and unstated, but felt – with your Life lies your incompleteness.
You hate your job. But you go on doing it because it ‘provides’ for your family’s upkeep and maintenance. You are incomplete. Your don’t relate to your spouse anymore. But you go on suffering in that relationship because you don’t know how to get out of it. You are incomplete. You don’t like what someone in your family is saying or doing. You hesitate to speak your mind because you don’t want to hurt them, you want to be seen as a nice person. But you squirm in the person’s presence, because your value system doesn’t sync with theirs. You are again incomplete.
Remember: your incompleteness helps no one. Least of all you! German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844~1900) memorably said, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” So it is! In a preparatory Life you can afford to rehearse, put off your best act for the final performance. But what is the point in living an incomplete Life when this is it? When this is the only Life you have?
Life is not an examination. It requires no preparation. It requires living. Living completely requires spontaneity. When you see a beautiful sunrise or a flower dance in the breeze or a child smile, you ideally don’t think of anything else – you just soak in the beauty of that moment. The moment you think of something else, you miss the moment itself! Then you are not being. You are not present. You are physically there. But mentally lost in worry, anxiety, guilt, anger, sorrow – whatever. Bottomline: you have missed that moment! You have missed living it!
This is how we end up remaining perpetually incomplete. This is how we miss living. Missing moment after moment after moment – and often an entire lifetime! All our lives we prepare for a tomorrow and then for another one and then another. Or all our lives we cling on to a dead past, a memory, a guilt – and we suffer endlessly.
I have nothing against theorists. But people who talk of karma and say that everything is ordained are encouraging, perhaps inadvertently, us to give up on living fully. Maybe everything is ordained. But to live the Life that is given to us, and not to suffer it, is still an intelligent choice we may like to exercise. You can’t be living incompletely all the time. Then you are not living. You are merely existing. To be sure, the moment you remove all the factors in your Life that leave you feeling incomplete, and start living spontaneously, you will be happy!