A rich merchant in Baghdad sent his servant one day to the marketplace to buy food. But after a few minutes the servant returned looking panic-stricken.
“Master!” he cried. “You must lend me your best horse immediately, so that I may flee to Damascus and thereby escape my fate.”
“Whatever is the matter?” asked the merchant.
“I went to the marketplace and I saw Death standing there among the stallholders!” exclaimed the servant. “He made a hostile gesture at me and started walking towards me. I beg you, lend me your best horse so that I may flee to Damascus and escape.”
The merchant was a kind man and he did as his servant asked. Then he himself walked down to the marketplace to see if the story was true. Sure enough, Death was standing in the crowd.
“Why did you make a hostile gesture at my servant?” asked the merchant.
“I made no gesture of hostility,” replied Death. “I was simply very surprised to see him, for I have an appointment with him tonight… in Damascus.”
You cannot escape. Wherever you go you will find your death waiting for you. Yes, it can be prolonged, postponed, but what is the point? Rather than postponing, why not use this opportunity of becoming aware of death — that it is approaching, that it is on the way, that any moment you will be in its grip. Don’t ask for the horse and don’t try to go to Damascus. You cannot escape. The only way is to transcend, not to escape.
Not To Escape
In everyday’s life we want to escape from our inner turmoil. We think escapist is only solution. Because for us world seems to be in turmoil, this doesn’t mean you live in unique times. The world “out there” has always been a source of trouble and never the source of peace. The real issue is how to relate to such a world.
What Is Inner Turmoil?
Turmoil is a broad term. There are many ways that people can feel worried, agitated, anxious, and depressed. But if you look inward, certain common elements are generally present.
1. Troubling thoughts keep repeating themselves.
2. It feels as if these thoughts are in control.
3. As a result of feeling out of control, you experience an element of fear.
4. The inner agitation feeds off itself the more you dwell on it.
Finding a way out of turmoil seems impossible, which leads to spiraling helplessness.
If you stop for a moment and reflect upon anything that has deeply worried you or made you feel depressed, especially if that is happening right now, you will notice these mental qualities. To escape your inner turmoil, each of them must be reversed.
Troubling thoughts must be put to rest.
1. You need to feel that you are not the victim of your mind and emotions.
2. The element of fear must be released.
3. Inner agitation needs to decrease day by day.
4. You must regain enough power to feel in control once more.
Learning from the story A Servant In Baghdad: The only way is to transcend, not to escape
Life is a tapestry of experiences—ups, downs, joys, sorrows, and the pleasures and pains of life. One experience that can be particularly challenging is that of suffering. The great wisdom tradition of Vedanta reminds you that, in the absence of enlightenment, life contains suffering.
Unlike pain—an uncomfortable physical, mental, or emotional experience—suffering is the state of being caught up in your painful situation and identifying with it as an aspect of your being. In other words, pain is what happens to you; suffering is your interpretation and reaction to that pain. Therefore, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. But what are the roots of suffering, and where do they come from? According to Vedanta, there are five specific causes of suffering—the five Kleshas.
In Sanskrit, the word Klesha means poison and refers to a negative mental state that obscures the mind and allows the conditions of suffering to arise. By transcending them, you can be liberated from suffering. The following looks at each Klesha in turn.
1. Not Knowing the True Nature of Reality:
This is the state of ignorance or Avidya that arises when you forget your true nature as spiritual beings. Your real identity is that of pure, unbounded awareness.
Unfortunately, the turbulent activity of material life has overshadowed this understanding from your conscious awareness. And when you don’t grasp this essential truth of who you are, you set the stage for the other four Kleshas to arise.
2. Identification with a False Sense of Self:
Once you have forgotten your true self, you substitute a false identity in its place. This constricted self is the ego; the moment-by-moment fabrication of your self-image that defines itself by the positions and possessions of life.
A great deal of suffering is caused by the ego’s need for approval and the resulting offense taken whenever its needs are not met.
3. Attachment to Objects of Desire:
Raaga, or attachment, is the act of clinging or grasping to something which is illusory or impermanent. When you are deeply attached to something, it is an indication that you are afraid it of it being taken away.
Attachment causes suffering by instilling in you a background current of fear, tension, anxiety, and dread of loss that is the inevitable byproduct of life on the material level.
4. Aversion or Avoidance of Things You Don’t Want:
While attachment is the act of hanging on to things, people, or situations you do want, Dvesha, or repulsion, is your avoidance of things you don’t want. Anything that poses a threat to your ego will cause you to recoil.
Aversion leads to suffering by pulling you into negativity, fear, what ifs, and worst-case scenario thinking as you worry over what you will do if you can’t avoid what you fear most.
5. The Fear of Death:
Abhinivesha, or the will to live, is the ultimate attachment—the attachment to life itself. Fear of death is an experience shared by nearly all human beings, even those who live in misery.
The fear of death causes suffering by giving rise to all other fears, anxieties, doubts, and worries.