Siddhartha As I reluctantly began to read Siddhartha a few days ago, I wondered why our teacher requires us to do so. I had never had to read a piece of literature for any religion class, and I questioned the reasoning behind this requirement. However, the book that I thought would prove itself a waste of time turned out to be a very worthy and enjoyable experience. From this book, I learned that to obtain true happiness we must look beyond the distractions of our world and of others, and we must fully explore and experience all facets of life to learn true knowledge of ourselves and the happiness we may find within us. As I read Siddhartha, I began to realize that we as human beings subject ourselves and give in to following the path that society maps out for ourselves. To be successful, society tells us we must complete high school, go to a good college, and follow our academic career with high paying job.
Sometimes I find myself wondering, "Is all that education and money stuff really what defines us as a person?". Sure, when we are alive, material success seems important and often determines what others think of you and how they treat you. But we must realize that in the end, how much money we make and how much education we receive does not withstand bodily death. Like Siddhartha, I believe that taking the route of success and sensual pleasure can only make us happy to a certain point. Sometimes when I lie in bed I find myself wishing I could escape reality for at least a while, hoping to dream about my perfect world where no one judges others, and no one feels threatened or forced into something they do not want to do. I feel as alone as I ever have despite having ties with people that care about me. Despite Siddhartha's charm, he was not happy with himself. He wanted to achieve more than simply the love of others, which he realized would not fulfill his life forever. This idea spoke to me, since I often tend to base my own happiness on my relationships with others. Siddhartha forced me to examine that, and indicated that perhaps true happiness can only be found within myself.
For myself, reading Siddhartha made my mind wake up and forced a barrage of suppressed thoughts and feelings to churn through my brain and heart. Like Siddhartha, I found myself questioning my own self worth, the purpose and meaning behind my existence, and my future. The questions seem never-ending and the answers far from my reach. Meanwhile, the world continues at its increasingly hectic pace, swirling around me and confusing my young and impressionable mind. Needless to say, I find myself at something of a crossroad in my life, a point when an important decision will decide my future. For example, my tennis coach said to me the other day, "How much you practice in the next six months will determine the rest of your life. It will decide what college you go to, who you marry, what your children look like....". This statement greatly discouraged me. How can a sport determine your self worth and course of life? I became angry at his shallow point of view and asking myself why so many people put such an emphasis on the future and not enough on the present. Reading Siddhartha confirmed my thoughts that life proves empty if one cannot find happiness outside of the material world. Siddhartha discovers this as he becomes absorbed in the business world. Siddhartha's decline throughout this phase of his search forced me to look at my own life a little differently. Perhaps I place too much value on material things. Do I really need trendy clothing, nice furniture, and wealth to live a fulfilling life? I realized that happiness has much more depth and complexity than that. Just as Siddthartha realizes, one must uncover the path to happiness by oneself. No one can teach it. We must actively search for it. These messages of Siddhartha are both powerful and withstand through time. I am certainly glad this unusual book introduced itself to me, for it's purpose will remain with me for a long time to come.