This thought-provoking post by Sukumar and subsequent - brilliant - discussion around it awakened my mind like never before and made me type out my response like I was a possessed being. Sigh. These things make you feel absolutely alive (and kicking and screaming and what not). But they don't happen often enough. Maybe they should not happen often enough...because that way, when such a moment 'finally' arrives, it promises immense exhilaration - the Aa..ha! experience. Uh?
So, do read the post...and the discussion around it (lengthy read). As for me, I need to reproduce my comment (longest ever?) here so I can come back and re-discover my own thoughts whenever I need to.
Amazing! Simply amazing! First of all, I must congratulate this whole community on Sastwingees.org for the mind-boggling variety of perspectives and sincere discussion/debate. Sukumar: I must say I am almost jealous. Not everyone can find and motivate such a community to engage in such a wonderful discussion. While I blog - most of the time - for myself…there are times when I know that only a conversation/discussion will throw light. This blog has what it takes to generate knowledge! :-)
Now, to the post. I am pretty late to the ‘knowledge’ party. Saw the post only yesterday and couldn’t respond immediately for I wanted to run through all the comments and that took me some time. So, unfortunately or fortunately, most of what I might have said had I read the post earlier has been said by many others. I, nevertheless, want to use the opportunity to write down what *I* think…as it would be a good idea to summarize my own thoughts especially taking all the comments into consideration. If it happens to generate some more discussions and ideas, all the better.
1. My first thought on reading your post was: But…a goal is different from the results of the goal and the Gita Slokha you refer to talks about the *results* and NOT the goal. Someone has already explained that. So, I guess I must not waste everyone’s time repeating that.
2. The Gita Slokha only talks about being detached from the results (whether we finally succeed or not). From what I’ve read (books on the Gita) it simply means that we’ve got to be emotionally intelligent. We must not let the results (temporary or otherwise) deter us from either pursuing the goal (never give up) or modifying the goal (get more intelligent and change the methods/processes/tools). Being attached to the results will shake us up in the wrong way - we get emotional and may even lose sight of the goal ultimately. Someone has already mentioned this as well.
3. I also belong to the school of thought that believes that the journey matters more than the destination. The means are as important as the end if not more. So, focusing on the results of the goal (as opposed to the goal per se) means we lose the joy that is embedded in the *journey*. And it is the journey that makes us what we are…not the goal or the achievement of the goal. [I think that's really important]. It is the journey that gives us the strength, the values, the skills, the contacts, the experience, the learning etc. The goal is what the society gets to see (as opposed to the journey that we went through). But the goal does not make us what we are - deep within. It is journey that allows us to achieve another goal of the same order. If we were to have achieved the goal without concentrating on the journey, I suspect that we will never be able to achieve another such goal. It becomes a flash in the pan. It is only a matter of time before the society forgets that we exist.
4. Regarding the type of goal we must set for ourselves, I believe in Dave Pollard’s repeated talk about the intersection of three aspects - what we love doing, what we are good at doing, our calling/purpose in life. I am not sure I’ve understood your query on the relationship between success and the goals we set. Isn’t success what we think it is? How can it be only related to the goal we set? How can the goal determine we are successful or not? Isn’t it you who determines whether you are successful or not? Let me explain…You may have a goal XYZ. If you think you’re successful only if you achieve XYZ, then you’re letting the goal control your perception of yourself. On the other hand, if you think you’re successful even by setting such a goal and enjoying the journey and experience of moving towards it, then that’s it! But continuing on the topic of setting huge goals, why do we have to limit ourselves? Why can’t we dream big and believe we can achieve anything and everything? Are all geniuses and prodigies only born and not made? I don’t think so. The law of attraction says we can achieve just about anything we desire from the bottom of our heart! I think it takes a spiritual person to determine what goals to set….to get away from this maddening world and look within…introspect. Many of us are far away from that state…we are caught in this routine whirlpool and find it hard to take off the black cloth that covers our eyes. Do we believe that making money and leading a good family life is all that is needed? Are we looking at what’s happening around us? Do we see the big picture and what’s happening to the environment we live in? Do we think long term? Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like many of us are thinking these thoughts! We are mostly in a mad rush….setting temporary and materialistic goals for ourselves. But, apparently, the world does not discriminate. It allows us to achieve all our goals provided we want it very badly.
5. Taking the completely opposite direction, spirituality also advocates just being! Like Gregory points out. This school of thought asks us to spend time in just being…stop doing, thinking…try just being. I am not sure I understand the implications as yet. But, ironically, something tells me that it is a great way to arrive at a goal. To stay silent and watch the world…step aside…..and think about what needs to be done as opposed to following the herd.
6. I am fascinated by two other perspectives that this post has generated. Not looking at results because they are “temporary”! Wow. Nice way of putting it! And the other perspective - understanding what the goal is - it is not about winning the war…it is about rooting out evil! That should teach us not to focus on temporary results but keep the ultimate aim in our minds. But can rooting out evil be a goal??? Think about it….it cannot be….! Why? It is actually not something you can achieve at a given point of time and then sit back and relax!! It is a journey! It is something we must work towards every minute of our life…it does not have a destination point. It is a way of life!!! That makes it a value…not a goal!!! So, there is a difference! In our endeavour to lead a life which denies a place for evil, we aim for temporary goals…small steps…throughout our lives….and that is what give us the satisfaction! Eternal satisfaction….for we do it every minute of our life and there can be no situation when we feel bored that we have achieved our goal!!
Whew! I am not sure how to thank you for such a wonderful post and how to thank this community here for such a sincere and brilliant discussion! You folks rock!
[Thanks for the patient reading and I am hoping I find the energy to respond to your second post as well...very soon] ;-)