Lesson 4: Want, Work and Relax

The monks will tell you that it is necessary to grow out of being a slave of your desires. They eat for the sole purpose of feeding their bodies. And that’s right for them, because they choose to live happily with that premise. For other people who are not monks, desires are part of our essence. And it is by learning to control them that we can enjoy them in a mindful way.

So, if we enjoy good food, that’s great. The problem arises when we eat too much or forget other areas of our life just to feed that desire for good food. Finding the equilibrium in life is key.

Since that trip to Thailand in 2011, I have visited 18 countries all around the world. Each year I visit more than the year before. I call this process of obtaining scholarships the “first law of Newton”: if you achieve the first scholarship, then you will transform the movement from one state to another. Before 2011, I hadn’t gone anywhere beyond my own country, Colombia.

In 2014, happened the most curious case of all in terms of scholarships. I was on Facebook (Yes, I do a max 30 minutes per day, not to get lost in the thousands of feeds and pictures), when I saw that a dear friend of mine, an entrepreneur, Juan Pablo Salazar, tagged me. A girl in Mexico was looking for more people to apply to a great event. The application was due that night. My desire was to travel to Mexico. The opportunity was there.

Me in Mexico
Me in Mexico

I thought for five minutes and decided to complete the form. That was all the work I put into it. I optimized my time using the Pomodoro technique, 25 minutes of intensive work with 5 minutes resting lapses. In 3 Pomodoro sets I completed the application. Then I applied the most important lesson I learned from my conversations with LP Pasura during the retreat at the Mooktwan Sanctuary in Thailand: “No expectations”. From the moment, I clicked the “Send button”, I completely forgot about the travel. The problem with expectations is the energy we invest thinking about something. It will eventually drain us without helping us in any way.

Days later, I got an email from the organizing committee telling me that I was chosen as one of the top candidates and they were awarding me the fellowship. I was very happy. One day, another email came: ”Sir, we are so sorry, but due to financial restrictions we will not be able to fund you.” At first, I got angry. Then I calmed down and reflected on what my mother always tells me: “What is for you, is for you, and no one can take it away”. So, I relaxed and kept enjoying the day.

Unexpectedly, 12 hours later I received another email: “Sir, you received a mail telling you that you were not selected as fellow of CONDATOS, however you are selected as fellow of CONMAPAS, and we will arrange your travel”. 2 weeks later I was in Mexico, sponsored by the government and living each experience.

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