(A guide for a happy living in the hard times of Covid-19 and post Covid-19)

By Rev Fr Aniobi John N

Every aspect of our existence has its discipline, and once one respects the discipline of one’s profession one would see immediately a gentle personality or disciplined personality. But when we disrespect the discipline of our profession, we are left with a careless and uncultured personality.
In life, we need always to cultivate and discipline our lives because life has its discipline. Our life is guided by some basic discipline and principle. And when we respect such discipline we become happy and fulfilled. But when we fail to respect them, our lives will be filled with misery, pain and agony at the end.
Sometimes we think that the good things we do are done for God, as if God is there begging us to do the right thing. Yes, God wants us to do the right things, but he has given us the freedom to choose between good and evil. And the good or bad we do does not change God because God is self-subsistent being. Our good or bad deed does not change his being. It does not change his love towards us. Hence, the good things we do, will definitely reward us, and will help us to bear much fruit; fruits that will last. So also, we think that we are to discipline ourself for others. No the discipline we cultivate will pay us and others will gain from your sound personality. Therefore, one should strife always to discipline his life, his actions and desire.
When we discipline our desires, it reduces the tendency towards violence, struggles, stealing, competition, war etc. It will reduce crime of all sorts and it plants peace and sanity in our thoughts and actions.
Desires are good, but when our desire becomes so high than our available possibilities it can only plunge us into the thin line and a cavus spectrum which casts in us a bad habit of neglect of other options possible in our lives.
In life it is necessary that we cultivate our desires. We should start desiring what is in our control; what is inside us instead of pursuing the mirage in the world outside of us.
Marcus Aurelius who was an emperor of Rome in the 2nd century A.D, who was recorded as the last in a line of the five good emperors that ruled Rome, in his “Meditation” states ” Love only the event which comes upon us , and which is linked to us by destiny” Marcus admonishes us to accept the situations of life, as we experience them. In extension, he explains that all our God’s given gifts and talents are to be valued. We should not strive for things that are not within our control at any time. Hence, we should discipline our desire. Our passion or desire should be cultivated such that we desire what is within our ambience and what is of most valuable to us.
If we pay rapt attention to ourselves and the world, we will notice that most things in life are outside our control, hence we do not have absolute control over them. Therefore, we should be careful of what we desire to avoid frustration, sadness and a pitiable outlook . We must make effort not to desire with desperation things that are outside our control at any particular time.
The question is; why should we not desire in such manner? It is because we are not in control and we can never be in control of things outside of us. We are not in control of the things we desire and we cannot determine the outcome.
One can even notice that sometimes even the dog we have as pet could go out of our control and become wild against our desire and wish. It points to the fact, that we cannot be in control always.
Moreover, if we pay close attention we shall notice also that we are not even in control of ourselves. Hence, if we should desire to be in control I think we should begin from ourselves.
Moreover we all can bear an obvious witness that self control is actually one of the most difficult actions of men. Hence, we are all advised at all times to learn and apply self control in all we do. Self control entails being conscious of our actions , our emotions, appetites etc. The witnesses we bear on the difficulties of self control point to us that we must start with ourselves in the desire to be in control. Hence the Latin adage “Nemo dat quod non habet” You cannot give what you do not have.
Life is unpredictable and man according to Batista Mundi is “the supreme question for man” Man has not understood fully whom he is, his mission and his goal. Moreover, the church has given us the answer to the question on our mission in life, but we have rejected our simple mission on this planet earth in pursuit and desire of goals that presents us with flashes of pleasure, but in essence are meaningless.
Cultivating the discipline of desire is a goal we all are to pursue in other to live happily with ourselves and with the external world. We often desire things that are outside of our control ranging from money, fat bank accounts, better job, power and position of authority, answering most powerful, manssions, fleets of cars, exclusive and classical life. Some even want to replace the place of God in the world.
However, for some of the above desires, they are highly impossible to achieve, but for some that are possible, how do we go about them? Often when we desire something good we sit begging for luck to fall on us. We sit down without making any effort through learning a new skill that will help us to reach there. Hence, we live in the future, while we waste our present time and energy hoping and becoming religious fanatics, not with the aim of worshiping God, but with the anticipation of manna or luck to fall on us.
St. Paul exclaimed in 2 Thes. 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” Although this message of Paul was for the early Christians community with a peculiar problem, but such admonition are to be applied today as well. Hence, if one desires to progress in life, one has to streamline his desire to only what is in his control. This can be achieved by taking a deliberate action and not pinning our hope on uncertainties. Success begins by thinking and it is achieved by the amount of genuine effort we make. Consistency is a sure way to success, but procrastination fasttracks failure.
When we desire, we should be able to desire those things that are necessary and natural.
Epicurus distinguishes between three types of desires: natural and necessary desires, natural but non-necessary desires, and “vain and empty” desires. He stated that natural and necessary desires include the desires for food, shelter, and the like. Epicurus thinks that these desires are easy to satisfy, difficult to eliminate (they are ‘hard-wired’ into human beings naturally), and they bring great pleasure when satisfied. Furthermore, they are necessary for life, and they are naturally limited: that is, if one is hungry, it only takes a limited amount of food to fill the stomach, after which the desire is satisfied. Epicurus says that one should try to fulfill these desires.
Vain desires include desires for power, wealth, fame, and the like. They are difficult to satisfy, in part because they have no natural limit. If one desires wealth or power, no matter how much one gets, it is always possible to get more, and the more one gets, the more one wants. These desires are not natural to human beings, but inculcated by society and by false beliefs about what we need; e.g., believing that having power will bring us security from others. Epicurus thinks that these desires should be eliminated.
In his famous quotes Epicurus in admonishing us to cultivate our desire, states “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for”.
If we need something, and it is outside our control, what do we do. Is either we cut our appetite of desire, or we put in extra work to gain and learn new skill which can help us achieve a greater height.
However, when you have put in your best and you are not able to get there be happy that you have done what you ought to do. Don’t wear a sad outlook or get depressed. Do not think you are among those who go by the title ” Omewere ma Chi enkweghi” That in English means those who made effort, but they think God does not want them to succed. But I do not believe in such ideology because it does not exist. God can never hold your success. It is either you are not making required effort or that the institution “Government ” has not done the needful to facilitate your success. Hence, knowing that there are many human forces to battle with it means then that
we must cultivate our desires to be able to accept things we cannot achieve or change at a particular time.This is because the outcome is not and can never be in our control.
We should not react in an unworthy manner when things do not turn out the way we want them to be. We should love and accept them the way they turn out. Most things that happen are not up to us to determine.
Therefore, we should at all times desire what is inside our ambiance of control, and accept whatever is not in our power.
Finally, we must eschew unguided desires/ambitions and petty demands and all kind of careerism which bring turbulence in our lives, and cultivate our desires. When we do that we become sure of being happy and sound persons with clear vision and full of energy. We become disposed to do good always.
“Cut your clothes according to your clothes” I add, ” cut your desire accordingly to your power”

By Père Aniobi Johannes

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