CHENNAI: It was a calm evening, but many white sails were on the lake. In the far distance a snow-covered peak hung as though suspended from the skies. The evening breeze from the north-east was not yet blowing, but more boats were putting out.
The valleys were in deep shadow, but the mountains still held the sun. We had been walking for some time and we sat down by the path, for he had come to talk things over. ‘I have had endless conflict, mostly within myself, though sometimes it manifests outwardly. I am not greatly worried by any outward conflict, as I have learnt to adjust myself to circumstances.’
‘I am a fairly busy man. When my mind is thus occupied, my inward conflicts are forgotten; but as soon as there is a lull in my work, I am back in my conflicts. I want to be successful in my work, to be at the top of my profession, with plenty of money and all the rest of it, and I know I can be.’
‘What I cannot understand is this inward conflict which I am unable to control. I often wake up in the middle of the night from violent dreams, and I never seem to have a moment’s respite from my conflict; it goes on beneath the everyday occupations, in my intimate relationships.’ What do you mean by conflict?
Instead of trying to do away with conflict, let us see if we can understand this agglomeration of desire. Our problem is to see the nature of desire, and not merely to overcome conflict; for it is desire that causes conflict. Desire is stimulated by association and remembrance; memory is part of desire. The recollection of the pleasant and the unpleasant nourishes desire and breaks it up into opposing and conflicting desires. The mind identifies itself with the pleasant as opposed to the unpleasant; through the choice of pain and pleasure the mind separates desire into categories of pursuits and values.