#50DaysCountDownTo2015 – DAY 38. Written by @Iamnotjuke
“The search for Nirvana, like the search for Utopia or the end of history or the classless society, is ultimately a futile and dangerous one. It involves, if it does not necessitate, the sleep of reason. There is no escape from anxiety and struggle.”
– Christopher Hitchens
What is Nirvana? What exactly is it? Is it really attainable? Should we work towards achieving Nirvana? Should we? I have read a thing or two about Nirvana but since this is not a dissertation, I’d rather not delve into the intricacies. Let’s just look at it at the surface. The way you know it. The way you probably knew it before you even started reading this write-up.
The Buddhists believe that Nirvana is the state of perfect peace that comes with “extinguishing of the fires that cause suffering”. Now, is this possible? Can we really extinguish all our fires?
I like to think of those “fires” as one of the reasons we still exist. What I mean is, for example, there’s a good so it appeals to logic that there has to be a “bad”. Many stories have protagonists as well as antagonists. There’s a God so I see no reason why there won’t be a devil. Even 50 Cent once said “Joy wouldn’t feel so good if it wasn’t for pain.”
Why then do we strive/hope for this freedom? Why then do we hope for the fires to be extinguished? Why then do we hope for this Nirvana? The bible, even while promising us eternal life with God if we keep God’s commandment, does not promise us Nirvana or anything close. So why do we want it? No matter how much we hope for it, will we get it?
I’m not trying to convince anyone to lose hope or to cease to persevere. But if your perseverance is some long, never-ending journey to Nirvana, I suggest you pause and have a rethink. Why? Because you might chase Nirvana all your life and never attain it until you die. If, for example, you could retain enough consciousness to answer the question “Was it all worth it?”, how would you answer?
A lot of us keep hoping for that complete freedom. That Utopia. That state where all the problems in the world are no more. Please understand that problems never completely go away. They just change. Today your problem is you’re jobless. Tomorrow, you need a promotion. Another day, your salary isn’t enough because your expenditure has tripled. Now these examples might not all have the same magnitude but I hope my point isn’t missing.
Wait. What’s my point?
Ah. Yes. Erm, forget about hunting for Nirvana. Forget it. FORGET IT. Don’t completely leave something good with the hope that you’ll find something better. Nothing is wrong with being hopeful but please consider your mental state. If you continue to pressure yourself because you’re continuously dissatisfied with your status, your status might not change. The stress just might increase. Maybe double. Maybe even triple.
If somehow (and I think this should be the best way to end this) you eventually find Nirvana, feel free to embrace. Feel free to enjoy it. Don’t avoid it because of the above paragraphs. Bask in it. Revel in it. However if you don’t find it, don’t die trying.
Peace, Love and the hope of Perfect Peace,