KVE301/KVE401 Universal Human Values and Professional Ethics
Chapter 6: Harmony in Self – Understanding Myself
Problem with activities
Desires, thoughts, and expectations are largely being set by pre-conditioning and sensations.
Preconditioning means we have assumed something about our desires on the basis of prevailing notions about them.
We have not verified the desires in our own right. As a result, we are not clear about what we will get out of the fulfillment of that desire. What is the issue with that? Unless we verify our desires, we may not even know whether they are ours! We may end up spending an entire lifetime accumulating desires that are not ours, and in running about trying to fulfill them!
A perception associated with stimulation of a sense organ or with a specific body condition: the sensation of heat; a visual sensation.
A term commonly used to refer to the subjective experience resulting from stimulation of a sense organ, for instance, a sensation of warm, sour, or green.
Suppose we had seen the bike and not associated it with ‘greatness’; rather we only liked the way it ‘looked’ – then this is based on the sensation.
This is largely the case with us today: either we are operating on the basis of preconditioned desires (set from outside) or on the basis of sensation (coming from the body).
Effects of the problem
A. Conflicts and contradictions in ‘I’ as a result of pre-conditioned desire
We have not verified the desires, thoughts and expectations in us on the basis of our own natural acceptance. As a result, these desires, thoughts and selections are in conflicts. Since the desires are in conflict, the thoughts they give rise to, are also in conflict and in turn, the selection from the thoughts are also in conflicts. This conflict affects us in different manners:
1. Wavering aspirations
Our goals keep shifting as the inputs from the outside also keep changing. Our desires thus keep shifting, because their source is outside and these preconditioned desires may come from what we read, see, hear, from media, friends, society, etc. hence, we are always wavering in what we want; we are not able to be certain about it.
2. Lack of confidence
Since our desires are shaky, we are not sure about them. As a result, we lack self-confidence, in the true sense. Our confidence seems relative i.e. we keep comparing ourselves with others in order to feel confident.
Since our desires, thoughts, and expectations are in conflict, it becomes the cause for our unhappiness, leading to stress and tension. Such desires will also be in conflict with our natural acceptance.
4. Lack of qualitative improvement in us
We focus largely on fulfilling the needs of the body. As a result, we live with a sense of lack of fulfillment. We are doing many things, accumulating a lot, progressing on paper, but we don’t feel that we have improved, that we have become better. It seems that only the things around us are changing!
5. State of resignation
Because we do not understand ourselves properly and have contradictions within, we slowly start getting disillusioned (pleasant but mistaken beliefs). We feel that there are no solutions to these issues, and end up in a state of resignation.
To sum up, if our desires, thoughts, and expectations are based on pre-conditionings, we are generally in a state of great confusion. This leads to confusion, unhappiness, conflict, and stress. We have lack of clarity about the self, relationships, society, nature, and existence. We have lack of confidence. We have a feeling of being unfulfilled, unsettled. We operate largely on the basis of the environment, driven from the outside – either from sensations, or based on pre-conditionings.
B. Short lived nature of pleasure from sensations
The pleasure obtained from sensations is short-lived. We are driven by five sensations (sound from the ears, touch from the skin, sight through eyes, taste from the mouth, and smell from the nose), and most of the time we are busy trying to get pleasure from sensations, from the senses. We have so much dependent on sensations that instead of giving us some sensory pleasure, it becomes the source for our happiness. Then what is the issue with this is? This can be understood as follows:
The external object is temporary in nature the contact of the external object with the body is temporary in nature. The sensation from the body to ‘I’ is temporary. And at last, the taste of the sensation from the body in ‘I’ is also temporary.
The need for the ‘I’ is continuous, i.e. we want to have happiness, and its continuity. Therefore, if the source for our happiness is temporary by definition, then our need for continuous happiness will never be fulfilled. Hence, any sensation we have from the body, can’t be the source for our lasting happiness.
No matter how much we try to be become happy via the senses, or via bodily sensation, it does not last. This does not mean that we stop these sensations from the body, or that we stop tasting from the senses. It only means that we need to understand the limitations of happiness or pleasure got from the sensations from the body and need to understand what is their use or purpose. If we confuse this purpose with the happiness, we are in trouble, since something that is temporary can’t be the source for our continuous happiness.
We can thus understand that living on the basis of preconditioning (“good life means having a nice car”) or sensations (happiness out of taste from the body) means being in a state of being decided by the others or outside, i.e. enslaved (Partantrata). We are at the mercy of the preconditioning and the sensation. Whereas, we want to be in the state of self-organization of being decided by our own self, in our own right (Swatantrata).