Great Escape

Nothing can compare to lessons ‘on the road’. After spending nearly 250 hours over the last month speaking to random people from multifarious walks of life, I’ve gained some new insights and reconfirmed several old ones. A few days ago I asked everyone I met what they do to relax. The top 3 answers: 1) Sleep 2) Entertainment (TV, movies, video games) 3) Intoxication. It’s interesting that all three activities are essentially an attempt to disconnect oneself from ‘real life’. After we’ve seen, done, tried and bought it all, we usually end up wanting to escape it. Although most return to play the same game again, a rare few decide to ‘retire’ and seek something higher. According to the Bhagavad-gita, however, this desire to ‘escape’ the world is entirely natural.

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”  – C.S Lewis

The Vedic scriptures offer a variety of enchanting accounts describing the nature of the metaphysical world. In that realm, every step is a dance, every word is a song, every action is motivated by pure love, and the atmosphere is infused with ever-increasing transcendental happiness. Sounds good. Maybe too good. Ethereal concepts formulated to distract us from the aches and pains of the ‘real’ world? Fairytale accounts fit for those living in cloud-cuckoo-land? Could there be reality beyond what we see around us?

Instead of dismissing our deepest and innermost desires as childish, naive and unrealistic, it may be worth exploring where such universal longings come from. Why is the yearning for immortality and unimpeded happiness common to every entity in the universe? Maybe such desires reveal something about our higher nature and self. Maybe such desires are a constant reminder to seek further and go deeper.

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