The book ‘Monk who sold his Ferrari’ starts with a hi-fi, big shot lawyer, walking away from his life. He disappears into the Himalayas and becomes a monk. Why? When the lawyer suffers a heart attack, he pauses to look back at his life just to realise that no matter how wealthy he was, how successful he was, he was still unhappy. ‘What do I need to become happy? To be content in life? What do I need?’, he disappears to find the answers for these questions. This concept is not new in Hinduism where it is known as ‘vairagya’. Unhappy with life, a person abandons everything in search of peace, to identify what they actually need in life and want from life.
This urge to walk away is triggered when we are deeply dissatisfied with our life. When we know we messed up in life, that this is not the life we were looking forward to, that things are so bad that they cannot change, that there is no point in fighting, that we’ve lost hope, when we’ve reached a peak. It is then, we feel this urge in our every nerve of the body – let’s just leave, let’s just walk away.
And, what do we hope to accomplish by walking away? We hope to distance ourselves from all the crap we piled onto ourselves and start afresh. We hope to find what is important to us, to find some unchangeable principles (truths) on which a new life can be rebuilt. But, life seldom gives anyone that chance. So, to distract ourselves we buy stuff, bury ourselves in alcohol, drugs, food, hobbies, just to forget all that we don’t want to deal with, hoping ignoring it will make it go away. But, deep inside we know, ‘it won’t’. That ignoring it will often times make it only worse.
Some say, “the way out of hell is through it”. But, you know facing these issues will neither solve anything. Sometimes you would’ve reached a peak at work or in a relationship and there’s nothing you can do motivate yourself. Sometimes you can, but the juice is not worth the squeeze and sometimes battles are lost even before they begun. What is wrong then in wanting to have a new start? Or in feeling disenchanted? Who wouldn’t want to go away to get their head straight? What wouldn’t you give to start afresh? Who wouldn’t want to walk away?
But will a new start guarantee a good life? That we won’t mess up again? No. We are human after all. We are bound to mess up again because our values & beliefs keep changing with time. What was important once may not be important today or will be tomorrow. What we believed was correct may be proven wrong tomorrow. Then, what is the guarantee that a new start will actually help us? There is none. Then what do we do? We have to risk it. We have to decide if it’s the time to walk away or if things can still be salvaged. In deciding between the two lies our wisdom & peace.