After witnessing the genocide in my country, I took some radical decisions, one of them being to maximize life, since it was so frail. I wanted to live in the place of a hundred thousands of lives that were wasted, then die in peace. I had vowed to live with intensity, as if every single day was my very last day.
Thus, I oftentimes reflected thus:
Why was I born? If I were to die today, would Ihave a feeling that I have lived up to the reason why I was born in the first place? Would I go to rest without fear or regret whatsoever? What should be my deepest, grandest, noblest and strongest aspiration? What is the sole thing that I would wait for, work for and dedicate my life to and never regret?”
I did not want to scatter my energies and attempt to chase two rabbits at the same time. I needed to be focused as a a convergent lens or a laser. I needed to follow one single purpose. I knew that a life without a single purpose is like a wrecked ship with a broken shudder, without an anchor in a stormy ocean.
To many people who did not know me, my life was either meaningless, like a leaf swept by winds, which swings here and there, unsure where it will fall or else, my life seemed utterly strange to them. I did not take it to heart, because I was sure that we were hearing a different drumbeat, and had a different calling.
I did not even try to justify my reasons. I acted in silence, assuming that no one has the right to judge my decisions if he does not understand my reasons. I was not afraid to go against the trends, to swim against the currents, to be called a lunatic, to be mocked by all, because I had an inner compass, which came from asking the above questions.
For many years, my life’s sole purpose was a quest to find answersthose questions, and I had some half-answers. I felt that I needed peace, or the union with God or the ultimate happiness, but all these were not definite answers.
Then, as there is always beauty and depth in simple things, it was a simple, almost a banal story of ice-creams that gave me an insight into what I really aspired for:
A group of children were given a test to determine who would be the smartest. They were to answer on the spot what wish they could make, if each one was given a wish-fulfilling gem that grants only one wish and then vanishes afterwards.
The first kid said: “I would ask for an ice-cream.” It was a hot afternoon, and he thought that it would be great to have an ice-cream to tame his thirst.
The second kid said: “I would ask for a refrigerator full of ice creams.” The first kid felt stupid to ask for just one ice-cream.
The third kid said: “well, I would ask for a convoy of trucks full of ice creams.”
The second kid felt beaten to have asked for only a refrigerator. The fourth one said: “I would ask for a factory of ice creams so that I can produce them myself.” The third kid felt ashamed to have set his standards so low and be thus beaten.
The fifth kid said: “Well, I would rather ask for the creation of infinite wish-fulfilling gems so that I have whatever I want, wherever, whenever and forever.”
The fourth kid was embarrassed. The last kid said: “I would ask for all my wishes to end.”
All were silent, realizing that the last one was really the smartest one.
The first kid represents people who do not see beyond instant gratification.
The second and the third ones represent the middle class society of endless wanting and hoarding.
The fourth one represents the international multinationals that control labor and capital. The fifth one is the deva and brahma heavens, where enjoyments seem to have no end, and the last one is the Ineffable Nirvana, the true freedom
Thus, in midst of uncertainty and petty strivings threatened by destruction and decay, in a life that is less reliable than a candle in the wind, I found the purpose of breathing, the reason of smiling like a little child. I found my gem. Have you found yours?