I am sure you would have discovered sufficient time to think about what all we shared in the previous issue about living. Where there is sufficient room for the free expression of our choices, we say there is life. Our living therefore is a free expression of the choices given to us.
In the process of exercise of choices, if a person gets trapped or bound, and the resultant suffering at various levels and dimensions manifests, then we can say that person has not lived life intelligently. We can also call it, as an ‘ill-lived life’. Where the exercise of choices has culminated in a person being more at home, secure and cheerful, then we can say that the person has lived an intelligent life or it is a ‘well-lived life’.
The difference between a well-lived life and an ill-lived one is in the exercise of choice. One should see whether intelligence or impulses govern it. It may look as though it is always intelligence that governs our choices, which is factually correct, but in actual terms, it is different. It looks as though most of us make use of our intelligence in deciding, but we seem to miss even the elementary things on which intelligence rests. I think we had discussed in one of our sessions, the meaning of the word intelligence and how people misunderstand the word.
Just for purposes of recollection, let me go into it once again briefly. Intelligence is that power or capacity with which a person senses the good or bad, right or wrong, healthy or unhealthy. Distinct from this is the intellect, which gathers all information, analyses them, probes into them and comes to certain conclusions regarding them. No doubt, we have to use this intellect, but we should guide the intellect with the intelligence at our disposal, else whatever one tries to prove or arrive at would be colored, partial and something that one would easily dismiss or change.
Well, there is nothing wrong in dismissing or changing views, but see what happens to the individual. All the time the individual would be changing stances, now deciding to do one thing, later either not executing it, or having executed it, regretting the action done or feel guilty about it. This is generally, what the majority of us do and this is because of intelligence not backing our actions, which also makes us send wrong signals.
This intelligence is a God-given gift, which the majority seems to either abuse or disuse. By this, we make the intelligence blunt or gross. Once we abuse this precision tool, then it becomes very difficult to set it right and put the vehicle back on the road. We abuse this precision tool by our impulsive behaviour patterns, foolhardiness and lack of self-respect. If we learn to address these issues and to begin with, regulate their flow, we commence our inner journey by placing the first right step. Well, let us not bother about the inner journey right now. Even to rectify the mistakes committed and not tread the same path, we have to learn about these ‘bugs’ and conduct ourselves in such a way that they do not trap us.
Our living irrespective of whatever the end happens to be, is indeed living, but then, if it is an ‘ill-lived living,’ life is full of regrets & guilt, landing one in misery. It does not really matter whether outwardly we express it or not. We have to understand that a ‘well-lived’ life is what everyone needs, still, instead of moving in that direction, one finds oneself moving in the opposite direction because of certain inner problems.
If we learn to appreciate the truth of the problems and do the needful, then all of us would travel the way we very much want, and reach the destination, not only meeting the short-term goals but ultimately attaining the long-term goals, with no regrets or guilt around. There definitely would be excitement & enthusiasm, which are natural to youth but not anxiety.