I have a habit of eating biscuit/cookie with my morning tea. Before I venture out for my morning walk I take my tea along with a particular type of biscuit/cookie. Other day I bought one packet of biscuits and opened it with my morning tea. To my dismay I found the biscuits inside broken into pieces. Though all the pieces were there I felt unhappy about it. Drinking morning tea with pieces of biscuits felt totally unsatisfactory. Even though the number of biscuits I ate was as usual, I felt somewhat incomplete?
Why So? Why the broken biscuits gave me a feeling of incompleteness or unhappiness? Was it my habit that was coming into play because of which I felt unhappy. But I had eaten the same number of biscuits as I eat everyday albeit in broken pieces. Why I was feeling so? Probably it is my mental conditioning? Or is it something else? Do you also feel this way?
I do not know the neuroscience behind it but I think a human being tries to find completeness in the activities that he undertakes. Incomplete things create a gnawing sensation in his mind that something is missing. We are a species where we try to find completeness, symmetry in our day to day life. Probably our brain has evolved in this fashion. What are your thoughts on this?
That reminded me a story.
The story of Missing Goat
It all started one lazy Sunday afternoon in a small town near Toronto in Canada. Two school-going friends had a crazy idea. They rounded up three goats from the neighborhood and painted the numbers 1, 2 and 4 on their sides.
That night they let the goats loose inside their school building.
The next morning, when the authorities entered the school, they could smell something was wrong. They soon saw goat droppings on the stairs and near the entrance and realized that some goats had entered the building.
A search was immediately launched and very soon, the three goats were found. But the authorities were worried, where was goat No. 3? They spent the rest of the day looking for goat No.3.The school declared classes off for the students for the rest of the day.
The teachers, helpers, guards, canteen staff, boys were all busy looking for goat No. 3, which, of course, was never found.
Simply because it did not exist.
Those among us who in spite of having a good life are always feeling a “lack of fulfillment” are actually looking for the elusive, missing, non-existent Goat No.3.
What was happening with me when I ate broken biscuits? Was I searching for that elusive completeness of the biscuits?
The story of missing goat syndrome is very instructive. We are always trying to find that something which will make us happy and fulfilled ignoring things that we have. Is it not?
Tell me how do you handle this kind of dissatisfaction? How do you manage the missing goat syndrome in your own life?
The Japanese concept of Wabi- Sabi may be helpful here, I think. In traditional Japanese aesthetics, Wabi-Sabi is a world view which glorifies the nature of acceptance of transience and imperfection. So how can we develop that world view? What practices one can follow to do that? Let me know. What do you think?
“ We need to learn how to want, what we have, not to have what we want, in order to get steady and stable happiness.” Dalai Lama.