Fear and greed drive everything that we do, not even almost everything but every single thing.
When we arrive in this world, we arrive screaming and kicking, reluctantly. When we leave, we leave moaning and crying, reluctantly. In between we live out live hoping, seeking complaining and worrying. Envy and greed, worry and fear drive our thoughts. These thoughts, our perspectives, drive our actions. Our thoughts and actions drive us into stress and depression.
Thus reads the story of our lives, most of the time for most people, except when accidentally we fulfill our wants.
Our needs, if we look at them carefully, stay pretty basic. Food, water, shelter, some clothing and of course sex, to renew the species. Two meals a day, at most three, 8 glasses of water, a roof above our heads and a couple of sets of clothes, and an occasional partner should meet our basic needs.
Why then do we strive so much? why then do we get stressed so much?
A hot-shot young banker got stressed out. His shrink told him to go on a vacation or he will have a breakdown. The guy plans to go fishing, packs designer gear including designer bait and lands up in a rural resort. As he sits by the rivulet nearby not having caught a single fish, a local hillbilly ambles over with a stick of a rod and a can of worms, sits downstream of the banker and rakes in fish after fish.
The competitive banker watches incredulously. The older man feels sorry for this stranger, waves him over and shows him the ropes. Son, the banker is hauling the fish in happily.
While sharing his resort packed lunch with the local man, the banker tells him to come over to New York, where he can make a lot of money with his remarkable angling skills. The hillbilly asks the young man what he plans to do with his life. The young man says he plans to make a lot of money.
And then, prompts the older man. ‘Oh, I plan to get married, raise kids, buy a house’. And then, he asks again. ‘At some time when i have enough money, i shall retire to a place like this, fish and be happy.’
‘My friend’, said the local, ‘that ‘ exactly what i am doing now, being happy. Why would i want to waste my time making money?’
But, since fear drives us, it’s best we imagine the worst case scenario, when things go wrong. If stocks fall, expect a crash. If you feel, think you may die. Plan for the worst. Anything better than the worst will make you happy.
If you think this is a joke, just try it seriously and find out how much better you feel. You will feel lighter. We imagine most of our worries. If a few worries come true, they may actually do us good.
The biggest fear we all have concerns death. One can actually meditate on death, visualizing the death process. This will remove all fears of death. Once we shed the death fear, nothing else can bother us. This probably re-frames our mind better than anything else.
Envy and greed also color our perspective. Greed has no end. Envy never ends. The more we have, the more we want. Buddha talks about how impermanent everything material remains. The hillbilly angler understood this better than the hotshot banker. How much do we need to accumulate, when at the end we get packed in a six-foot box?
When a self-aware coach understands how impermanent life is, the coach can project that to the client.