What I’m writing about today is something I understood sometime ago, but haven’t so far been able to shape it into an interesting blog post. I have to confess, my previous attempts were giving away more of the learnings I’ve gathered than what I wanted to share, is not that I’m stingy with knowledge, but at the end of the day, I need to save something for real life conversations! Isn’t it?
Fasting, being patient, and meditating: Is something that has been exercised by spiritual people of some religions for thousands of years, Gandhi is notorious for fasting. But really, what fasting means?
Fasting, of course, has a deeper meaning than just starving yourself to death, not even just making a sacrifice; what it really means is separation between need and will: Hunger is the one need we as human beings feel is impossible to overcome, thus it has a very powerful symbolic value, if we can overcome that need, then we can overcome ANY need, and that is indeed very powerful.
In this world, there are two kinds of people, the ones who have needs, and the ones who take advantage of the first group. This should be very easy to visualize when thinking on marketing, a campaign generating a need for the consumption of a product and people falling into and buying it. This is, of course not the only example: in human relationships many times there is a ‘needy’ factor: men are taught that they need to have a lot of sex to reassure their manhood, and women who realize this fact, often times find themselves in the position of demanding gifts, outings, etc from them, which is a completely natural thing to do! Another example is on the workplace: Sometimes management exploit employees particular needs, for example looking for a promotion (the need of acknowledgement), to have them work long hours and much harder. And of course, there’s never the guarantee for the needy person that her need will be satisfied.
At this point it should be pretty obvious that removing ourselves from need gives us at best a competitive advantage on any type of negotiation, but will always bring the fairness to the exchange. To tie it back to my previous examples: Don’t buy something you really don’t need; don’t give more than what you’re receiving; don’t do what you’re not expected to do!
Separating ourselves from need is not easy! As with hunger, when we go through long periods of not ‘satisfying’ our need, we start experiencing symptoms, pain, discomfort, anxiety. And that pushes us towards the wrong direction, we make the wrong choices, we set ourselves for failure. Which takes us to our second item: Patience.
Patience is important, when we pursue what we want but it may not happen immediately, and insatisfaction makes us be less patient. I will quote Hermann Hesse on his book Siddhartha: “Fast until you can laugh of hunger”. It is painful, but the right decision most of the times is not the rushed decision: Wait for the right moment to act!
This has as well another interesting meaning, when we’re on a rush for getting what we need to get, we filter out posibilites we can’t process or may not be necessarily the most obvious ones that will help us. Often times, driven by need and impatience, we don’t really think things through (I’m the number one on this regard) and let true opportunities escape, or maybe even mess up when we actually were on the right track!
This brings us to thinking, to meditation. Meditation is important to find the true meaning of things. To analyze and understand our current situation. There are many dots to connect, many perspectives to adopt. We need even to understand the causes of our behavior, we can fast and wait all we want really but without being thoughtful we are in risk on overdoing it! Waiting too much, fearing of acting. We really want to act when it makes sense to act so we don’t waste our energies in things that will not bring us anywhere closer to our goals.
This is where I tie it back to the beginning: Sometimes we feel we need things we don’t really need. Specially when we’re in tough spots and everything is going wrong to desperation and we put a lot of effort on getting anything, just the tiniest bit of satisfaction and everything gets harder and harder.
With this I wrap up my post, I hope this brings some reflection and good things.