Have you noticed that the more things change, the more they remain the same? And the more we take the desperate way out to escape our lot in life, the more we learn that we are not better off. The thought takes me back to one of my old posts which had a story about two tear drops.
Once, two tear drops were floating down the river of life. One teardrop asked, “Who are you?” The first one replied, “I was shed by a girl who loved a man but lost him. And who are you?” The other tear drop replied, “I was shed by the girl who got him.”
Come to think of it, we cry over what we lose and often cry over what we gain. Always in the pursuit of some more, it is this very pursuit which lays the foundation for discontentment. When I am about to fall in the trap of …. “I’ll feel good when I achieve a particular objective,” I keep reminding myself that my desired objective which I think will bring happiness can be lost again, and therefore it holds the potential to cause pain. Yet, more often than not, I keep falling in the same trap.
Now that I am thinking about it, Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’, ‘Veronica decides to die’ and ‘The Winner stands Alone’ were based on the similar premise. I recently read this story in ‘The Mail Today’ by Paulo. I wanted to share it. Ignore it if you have read it before.
Many years ago there was a young man named Mogo who earned his living by breaking stones. Even though he was born with amazing strength, he was unhappy about his work and complained regularly. He blasphemed against God’s plan so much that one day an angel appeared. The angel said, “You are healthy and have a life ahead of you. All young people begin their lives with hard work as you have. Why are you complaining?’
Mogo said, “God was unfair to me. He did not give me the opportunity to grow.” Worried the angel went to the Lord who said “Whatever Mogo wants, give it to him.”
The next day when Mogo was breaking stones, he saw a carriage pass by which had a noble inside it. Mogo said with bitterness, “Why can’t I be a noble person too?”
Soon Mogo was transformed into a master of sprawling castle, with servants and plenty of land. He walked outside his palace with his entourage and enjoyed watching his old friends lining the streets, staring up at him with respect.
One of these days, the heat was inescapable and even under his gold umbrella Mogo was sweating; more than he would during his stone breaking days. He realized that he wasn’t as important, as above him there were the king, and the sun; who did not bow to anyone. Mogo grumbled, “Why can’t I be the sun? That should have been my destiny.”
And thus Mogo became the sun. While Mogo was sparkling as the sun, admiring his powers to grow or destroy the crops depending on his whims, a cloud covered his view. As the cloud encompassed Mogo, he got furious and said, “My destiny should have been that of a cloud.”
And soon Mogo was transformed in a cloud. Mogo was now delighted as he blocked the sun and followed the waves shouting loudly, “I am invincible.”
Along the seashore stood a rock, as old as the world itself. Mogo thought that the rock was defying him and so he unleashed an enormous storm. A storm that the world had not seen before. But the rock stood firm and impassable, almost mocking Mogo.
Now Mogo wanted to become the rock. The angel transformed him into a rock and Mogo thought, “I am the most powerful in the world.”
And this is how he spent several years, until one morning Mogo felt a sharp stab of pain deep inside his gut. He felt several thuds and immense pain. Mogo cried, “Angel, someone powerful is trying to kill me. I want to be like him.”
Soon Mogo returned to his previous life of cutting stones.
Often we keep running in circles. This is not to say that ambition is unwarranted. Ambition is good; but hopeless infatuation with all the good that’s happening in the lives of others is not. Contentment at some level paves the way for that much desired and elusive emotion – happiness.