Jan 20, 2011
Do you suffer from nagging tiredness for no obvious reason? Do you feel lethargic even after extra hours of sleep? Do you feel like your life’s compass is all messed up and just don’t know if you can go on?
If this is your condition and neither you, nor your doctors, have been able to determine the cause, then this article may be of help to you.
The symptoms (if there is no known medical cause) come under the banner Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Though the term may seem fanciful, the condition is as common as a local bus in your area. Depending on its acuteness, the condition can be devastating and may be accompanied by a host of other symptoms. If there is a problem with your life’s compass, then this could mean that you have lost the very purpose of living. Once this happens, you lose drive, you become lethargic and nothing seems to enthuse you. At some point in life, every individual experiences this phenomenon and looks for that spark to re-ignite that zeal.
It is estimated that more than 200 million Indians can buy just about anything they want - from a washing machine to a car. This is, indeed, a great blessing when you look at those who don’t know when their next proper meal is going to be, or whether they will be able to pay their children’s school fees.
People in the old days walked or cycled kilometers to work and there was one ceiling fan for ten staff in their offices. The way we have made progress, we may even have air conditioners to cool our streets. They already cool our offices, cars, bedrooms and even bathrooms. So, lack of comfort is not the issue.
When one considers the range of food that we spend on, by comparison our grandparents starved. For them it was ‘kanji’ with pickle or the thickened fish curry from the previous night. In other words, our bodies are well pampered.
Are we bored? Not possible. Centuries went by without television, discotheques, dance bars, movie theatres and the internet. We now have access to all of these outlets.
What about pollution? That’s another thing we look to blame, but the syndrome is equally prevalent in small towns and villages.
So, why are we plagued with fatigue despite all the comforts and luxuries?
If anyone is familiar with the Holy Scriptures, it is easy to observe that people have toiled right from the early days, but never at the expense of longevity. In other words, we are designed to endure a lot of physical hardships.
We suffer from chronic fatigue and lack of purpose not because we are physically overworked. We are MENTALLY overstretched because we are living in a SPIRITUAL abyss.
Over the years, the ‘love’ factor has steadily declined, with it the ‘happiness’ factor, and consequently the life span. The three are unquestionably interlinked. Ultimately, we go through this pain because our lives are without the higher purpose for which we are created.
While the body craves for undesirable pleasures to fill in the emptiness, the soul longs for spiritual freedom. We are constantly in this state of battle that leaves us mentally exhausted, physically drained and emotionally empty.
The mind is overwhelmingly cluttered. So busy are we planning for the future, that we seldom taste the pleasures of the present.
"Always say YES to the present moment. Surrender to what IS. Say YES to life - and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you." ~Eckhart Tolle
Parents are mentally torn between work and the ongoing emotional needs of their children. The modern child has to wait till weekends for quality time and quality attention. From time to time, I visit schools to take up special classes. When I look around the class, I can spot eyes that sparkle and eyes that don’t. There are also eyes that can pierce the very soul, and that is really unsettling.
A cancer specialist used to ask his patients if they still had the desire to live till hundred. Most patients who answered ‘yes’ defeated the disease with treatment. These people had someone to go back to, someone to love and someone who loved them.
The culture is to acquire plenty in a short time. It is all about goals without true purpose. Youngsters take up, or are pushed into, careers because a particular sector is lucrative. They then get bored and lose enthusiasm in a short time due to utter lack of interest. Winning in games has become everything. The slogan "let’s play fair" has been replaced with "let’s play hard".
Even when we achieve something, the feeling of goodness is invariably short. A hurt is carried on for years, gnawing at our healthy cells and causing illnesses ranging from headaches, to thyroid conditions, to cancers.
"Relinquish your attachment to the outcome. This means giving up your rigid attachment to a specific result and LIVING IN THE WISDOM OF UNCERTAINTY. It means enjoying every moment in the journey of your life, even if you don't know the outcome." ~Deepak Chopra
Many desire a decent house of their own, which to some is a five-bedroom mansion because the neighbour has one with four bedrooms. Then we want a decent car, and so on. With credit easily available, getting trapped has never been easier, as it gives a false sense of spending power.
"The great Western disease is, I'll be happy when... When I get the money. When I get a BMW. When I get this job. Well, the reality is, you never get to when. The only way to find happiness is to understand that happiness is not out there. It's in here. And happiness is not next week. It's now.
~ Marshall Goldsmith
Want a grand wedding, but cannot afford it, so get a loan. For many, honeymooning within India fails to impress friends and relatives. Taking a loan to go to Europe is easier than buying a wedding cake. The bank hoarding says, "get a loan and truly enjoy an unforgettable honeymoon experience with no worries." They make it sound as if the bank’s chairman is going to repay the loan. Eventually, it becomes unforgettable for more than one reason.
At any given time, there are millions making desperate mental calculations to repay their next installment. Some take the easy way out. A few years ago a man and his sister, who owed banks in excess of Rs.1.5 crore in accumulated debts, committed suicide. The duo had been using more than 20 credit cards.
A newly married couple gave a cheque of Rs 5 lac to charity, instead of spending the same amount for their reception. Their reason: they did not want to spend on guests who, in the end, only gossip no matter what the arrangements. Instead, the two families celebrated with a ‘grand’ tea party!
When Warren Buffet tells the world that he never parties and does not wear designer clothes, no one can say that he is stingy. After all, he gave $29 billion in charity.
"The most important thing in life is to live your life for something more important than your own life. That is what brings true happiness to you." ~William James
In vain, we constantly seek the APPROVAL of others by doing what they do. Our lives are hardly ours anymore. We even wear torn jeans because someone else wears one. Ironically, we pay more. Partying late into the night, over-indulging in alcohol, only leaves us drained the next day. But, who wants to miss the fun.
So many times we have the urge to do something good, but feel ‘shy’. Here, too, we lose our individuality.
The truth is, no one helps us when we hit rock bottom. No one cares. If we find ourselves in a pathetic condition, we cannot blame the world. Life is full of choices; our state of wellbeing depends on the choices we make. No one can rob us of our happiness, unless we give consent.
Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome are known to hop from allopathic, to homeopathic, to ayurvedic, to naturopathic, to aromatic treatments. The reason why any treatment provides only temporary relief is because we don’t address the root cause. It is like a diabetic taking insulin injections while continuing to binge on sweets.
"There is no calamity greater than lavish desires. There is no greater guilt than discontentment. And there is no greater disaster than greed." ~Lao-tzu
I once asked a Gulf-returnee what is it that he would wish for now that he had everything. He shook his head, and sighed: "If only I could have some peace and happiness." As with so many people like him, his was a voice of dejection and emptiness.
"Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you." ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
Largely, human beings will not change their ways until they find themselves on the edge of a precipice. It takes wisdom and a lot of courage to make amends before calamity strikes.
A 35-year-old, highly paid, IBM executive, working in Mumbai, was detected with early signs of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. Taking this to be a wake-up call, he asked his doctor what options he had. His doctor told him that with drastic changes he had a fifty-fifty chance of reversing the condition. The other option was to permanently live on medications.
He gave up his job (and with that his lavish lifestyle), took up residence at his grandfather’s dilapidated farmhouse in a remote village of Maharashtra, learnt some basic farming techniques, and is now an agriculturist, earning a fraction of what IBM once paid him. After a year, he went for a full medical checkup and came out with a clean chit. He said in an interview that he has never been happier.
The way to inner peace and true happiness is a walk down the road called spirituality.
Lord Jesus put things in the right order, as well as gave us a higher purpose, when He said, "...do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well."
The last part contains God’s own promise.
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