Basic Instinct

Home / Articles / Basic Instinct

Our basic instinct is to be joyful–‘to be happy as hell’ my friend Sadanand would remark. “Even hell ought to be a reasonably happy place for you to want to get there—I humour him.” Sadanand’s colleagues in the office call him Sad Anand: his grim and melancholy eyes behind his thick eyeglasses lend credence to that nickname. He is an accountant by training and a certified penny pincher at work—but spends generously to fly to Australia to do bungee jumping every year. Imagine the hellish joy he gets in spending a fortune just to be suspended feet up thousands of miles above the sea. I wonder how our instinct for joy can even take us to such limits of our physical endurance

Our basic instinct is something that is innate to us. It is not what we pursue or learn. A bird does not learn to sing. A bird is instinctively song full. Similarly, a human being does not have to learn to be joyful—we are instinctively joyful. The reason we do not experience joy is that we have learnt it’s exact opposite: to be sorrowful. Sorrow is mental suffering or pain caused by injury, loss, or despair. While pain is physical, sorrow and misery are mental states. Sometimes pain cannot be avoided, however, sorrow can be unlearnt. This is simply because sorrow is not real, sorrow is a mental make-up.

While joyfulness is the soft core of our existence, sorrow is the mental organization around the soft core: like the hardened shell of a coconut. Joylessness is a learnt behaviour. Whenever we access the source of joy inside us we get organized outward to capture it. The moment we see a sunset we whip out a camera. We see a tender flower,we are itching to pluck it and put it inside a vase. What we do not realize is that the charm of the sunset or the beauty of the flower can be felt inside the soft core of our joyful self—it can’t be felt by the luminous lens of the camera or the inert flower vase.

Our current way of life has organized ourselves away from the very source of joy. It has misled us into believing that joy can be captured by drawing our senses outside through crafty contraptions. The world of advertisement promises a lot of joy in the latest 3D Television or the newest car model. It is true that great advertisements are able to evoke our quest for joy, but they take us to those places where we can never really find it. The car or the TV are valuables, but that’s not where we can find what we really value: the innate core of ananda or joy.

The pursuit of joy outside of us is as futile as the pursuit of our own shadow. Our shadow recedes from us even as we pursue it. My own experience is that joy results as we retreat to the core of who we are. Like an Atlantic salmon, we have to swim upstream against the outbound current of our senses to find joy. Salmon will return from the sea to spawn in the same freshwater rivers and streams where they were once hatched. Sometimes they are known to retreat up to a thousand miles upstream to their original birthplace. Likewise, we have to earn joy swimming against the tide of our habitual outbound senses.

I tell Sadanand as we meet over coffee, “You don’t have a rat’s ass chance of finding enduring joy jumping up and down a mountain cliff once a year. Instead decode the formula for joy inside your own name: ‘Sada’ in Sanskrit means perennial and ‘Anand’ is joy. So Sadanand is an explosive compond name that suggests joy that is boundless. Look inside and you will see that you are designed inside-out to be a bungee jumping joy machine.” Sadanand removes his thick glasses and closes his eyes in deep introspection. For once those hawk like eyes seem soft focussed. Nesting inside his eyelids, Sadanand’s eyes look inward: they have taken a break from Accounting for the Company to accounting for life!

[testimonials category=’basic-instinct’]
Contact Us

Give us your valuable feedback

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search

buffaloMonkey Mind