Aimlessness or Apranahita literally means ‘to place nothing in front’ and is used to designate someone who has no aims for the future. This is the definition of Apranahita from Wikipedia. This word originates from Theravada Buddhism and has profound value in the whole concept of Enlightenment and spiritual realisation. It is the first step towards detachment and the very first lesson taught while on your path to spiritual enlightenment. Today we all have aims and goals. Both these words mean the same. We have goals set to achieve a certain amount of money, to buy a certain home or car. We have a goal for our business, our family, and we also aim to be happy wherein happiness means achieving one or all of the above. Some have goals to find everlasting love, some aim to be the best entrepreneur, some writers, actors, lovers etc. There is no end to this whole concept of aim. Once we achieve one aim, we move on to another. It is as if the whole concept of aims and goals is ceaseless. It goes on and on. We get some kind of an adrenaline rush in seeing our goals fulfilled and then immediately we have another one. So the chase goes on and on and on. Have you ever been aimless? Take a moment to answer this question.
Have you ever sat aimlessly in your life with nothing to achieve, nowhere to go and nothing to do?
The answer is NO. You and I have always been chasing goals and aims. We have one to go and another to follow. Until a year ago I had assigned a very big goal to myself. This goal made it impossible for me to sleep. My mind would be up trying to work ways and means to help me achieve it. I began working relentlessly towards achieving this. Every time I faced failure, I felt the pain and despair. I was dejected 100 times and happy just once when I achieved this nonsensical goal. When I decided to assign myself another bigger benchmark, I stumbled upon the concept of Apranahita (AIMLESSNESS). And I said to myself, ‘I’ll give myself thirty days to be aimless and see what happens’. The result was happiness, bliss, and a stress free life. Mediocrity and modesty about doing nothing and not wanting to achieve anything and simply being in the moment. Do you get it, how important it is to STOP? How important it is to be aimless, to not do or run after something. If you haven’t still understood this then give yourself fourteen days of aimlessness and see how it feels. I am certain you will write to me and share your blissful realisations.
There is immense power in being aimless. There is immense joy in doing nothing. I would like to share a short story I read in ThichNhat Hanh’s book. One day a farmer lost all his cows. They just fled due to a stormy night. The farmer was perplexed and kept running home to home, places to look for his cow. While looking he kept sharing the pain and loss he would suffer if he didn’t get his cows back. While in search of his precious belonging he stumbled upon Buddha. Buddha was addressing his disciples and explaining the essence of aimlessness when he was interrupted by this worried and harried farmer. The farmer asked Buddha if he had seen his cows and Buddha replied with a no. To this the farmer ranted about his miserable life if he didn’t find his prized possession. The Buddha felt very compassionate towards him but could not help him out of his misery. As the man left, Buddha turned to his disciples and said, ‘Good we don’t have the cows, we don’t need to be worried.”
This is what aimlessness does to you – you are never worried and you are never in a rush to go anywhere. You are just here and living the moment. I completely agree with the Buddhist approach of Apranahita. I know you will find this amusing to be aimless and goalless. Some of you may even laugh at me. But trust me, the best way to test this concept is to go aimless for a few days and see the results for yourself. Just keep all your goals aside and do what you do without any ambition, aspiration or goal. Just do something because you like it or feel passionately for not because it is going to take you some place or get you something. You need to STOP like I did few years ago. I lead a very simple life- I love to spend time with my daughter, husband and dog. Whenever a friend calls me I am always available. I always have the time to be with my parents and help them through old age and sickness. I always have the time to speak to my clients who are in distress and guide them through. I always have the time for a peaceful sleep and ten minutes of meditation. These are the rewards of going aimless and yet doing what you love to do. I love being a Tarot reader and a writer and nowhere have I compromised professionally or personally. I am just goalless, aimless and I am happy.
Hope you too choose happiness over misery (Dukkha). Realise the essence of Impermanence (Anicca) and be aimless. Stop and look at the beauty of life and make time to bask in its glory.
If you liked this article, then hit the button ‘subscribe’ to receive regular updates on coaching modules and new write ups. Karmel Nair is a Certified Life Coach, Psychotherapist and 52 times Published Global Author. For queries, feel free to write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org