Spirituality for millennials: Can I change without changing?

The inspiration to look forward to a change comes from the hope of positive pleasure that it brings along. The monotony of one's present situation and the discontent that it triggers is often replaced by the prospect of exhilaration that a change heralds.

The grass is always greener on the other side. Or rather in today’s context, prospects are always higher on the other side of the ocean. The bug of discontent has spread like an epidemic to destroy a healthy mind. Just like metal detectors detect the presence of extra metal in a person, if we could have mental detectors that could detect the metallic presence of discontent, the buzzer would probably be perpetually on.

Currently, change is welcomed at every level, even at the level of a gender change. The discontent of the present gender has to be dissipated and replaced with a new role that herald’s pleasure. The Bhagavata Purana heralds the story of a king named Syudyumna who prayed for a sex change and was blessed with the change of gender every month.

Now, he had to deal with not just a physical sex change but along with that a change of mindset also that came as a package. As his mind and body went through excruciating trauma with the change every month, he repented his original desire for change. The change made him realize that any change though promising newer pleasure, concomitantly gives rise to newer pains also.

A bear never looks at a tigers’ shiny skin coat with envy, frustrated with his grisly hairy coat. A crow never looks at a peacock’s colourful feathers with envy, frustrated with his black feathers. A desire for change stems from the fact that we focus on the limited negatives of our lives than the unlimited positives life has to offer. Addiction to change is simply an outcome of not focusing on what you have and seeking an escape into the world of what you don’t have.

The desire to experience constant change is an indicator of an unstable un-counselled mind. The mind is constantly exploring reasons to be dissatisfied. Mind being a turbulent ocean, it's waves venture into the shores and return back unsatisfied; constantly trying to explore different temptations and relations to achieve happiness but always returns unsatisfied. Just like the wave cycles of the ocean never end, the changing wish list of the mind never ends.

Changes can be generated from outside the purview of your influence or suggested from inside the centrifuge of your raging mind. Changes thrust upon us from outside are to be accepted silently with humility. Changes prompted by the untrained mind are to be curtailed diligently with dexterity. To accept the outside change with grace is a sign of maturity. To resist the desperate inner voice gnawing for rapid change is a sign of stability.

In the Ramayana, Vishwamitra was desperate to become a Brahmarishi although he was a king, thinking that this change will bring happiness to his life. He performed Tapasya in every direction in order to become a Brahmarishi, and every time he came across some distraction that would dissuade him from his focus on his goal. Each time he failed, he blamed the place and the direction in which he was, for his failure.

Immediately he would change the place to see if the new location could add to his luck factor. After such herculean efforts, when he was finally declared by Lord Brahma to be a Brahmarishi, he got an important realization in his life. He realized that change does not necessarily mean growth. So far he had always associated growth with change.

Therefore, he had given up kingship and changed to a rishi in order to convince himself that he was actually growing. And from a rishi, he had desperately endeavoured to become a Brahmarishi. He had definitely changed, but not definitely grown. Instead of thinking that he could grow by changing, he concluded that if he had focused on growth by satisfaction, he would have actually grown. Satisfaction, he realized is the only way to change and grow.

When we look for a change in people or change in things, we are actually looking for something or some person who will satisfy us. In an attempt to purchase satisfaction from outside, we forget to look for it inside. The quest for satisfaction is actually a mind game. Because one tends to deal with things and people in one's purview superficially, one tends to neglect them by undervaluing them. And then the mental machinery gets into an auto-compare mode to churn out a copious number of thoughts of dissatisfaction by comparison. This, in turn, causes cracks in the personal satisfaction levels.

Have you ever wondered why Lord Krishna always wears a yellow dhoti and a peacock feather without any exception? Do you know why Lord Rama took a vow of being loyal to one word, one arrow and one wife? And why sages did exactly the same daily routine in performing their sadhana?

The answer is obvious to the observant eyes. To cultivate satisfaction!

Satisfaction is about being happy with what life offers you. Instead of constantly changing things, change your perspective of seeing things. If you find change mandatory for growth, what you need to change is your perspective rather than changing your things and relationships. Zoom in, appreciate and explore the potential of what you already have before hankering for what you don’t. The power to be content in life is within you. Don’t allow negative energy to leave you dissatisfied and thirsty.

Just like a tree takes simple water and returns sweet fruits in gratitude. Similarly, when one cultivates the tree of gratitude for whatever simple things one has, sweet fruits of satisfaction will grow.

Rather than changing external situations, if one changes one's mental framework from discontent to satisfaction, every situation in life will be rewarding.

A desire for constant change reflects deep-seated discontentment. Though promising joy, changes are accompanied with pain too. Discontentment may originate from either envy or a negative outlook on what we have, taking the form of a habit. Change then is yearned for as means of escapism.

Changes can be external or internal. No matter how much the external change, it does not result in satisfaction. To accept the outside change with grace is a sign of maturity. To resist the desperate inner voice gnawing for rapid change is a sign of stability. Satisfaction is the only growth; satisfaction is being happy with what life has to offer. If at all a change is needed, it is a change in perspective – appreciating and exploring your potential; stopping the negative energies from draining you with discontentment.

(Shubha Vilas is a Tedx speaker, lifestyle coach, storyteller and author. He studied patent law after completing his engineering degree. But, finally, he chose the path of a spiritual seeker. Ramayana: The Game of Life is his bestselling series. He’s also the author of Open-Eyed Meditations and Perfect Love - 5.5 ways to lasting relationships. The focus of his work is the application of scriptural wisdom in day-to-day living, addressing the needs of corporates and youth through thought-provoking seminars. He has delivered more than 4000 lectures across the globe. He is also a visiting faculty at the Indian Institute of Management.)

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