Thursday, September 10, 2009

A hard to swallow pill

From the day we are born we start a process of evolution both physical and spiritual.
(Actually too be more precise we start that process way before the moment of birth, but to keep things simple let’s say that our journey starts at birth.)
For the first years of our life on this realm, we have very little choice and very little to say about our development.
Basically our parents are molding us into what they think is best for us.
Our parents are in the driving seat of our life and we are just a passenger.

Now there comes a time – usually around puberty – when we get this idea – probably imprinted in our genes – that we know everything, and we have our first attempt to take that steering wheel in our own hands.
Usually that doesn’t happen – unless you run away from home – and we spend the next couple of years in a state of two or more people steering our life at the same time.
Until that faithful day when we get our first job, our first place and we are now under the false impression that we are in control of our life, our destiny.

Soon we found out that we don’t know anything, really.
The way we thought things will work out doesn’t quite work and pretty soon we are experimenting or even copying other people thoughts and actions in order to gain some control of our life.
We end up with a mix bag of philosophies and beliefs from all the people and situations we’ve encounter in our life and call it “experience”

We use that experience more to avoid making the same mistakes again and very few of us gain as much control as to become the makers of our own destiny.
Eventually even the most dysfunctional of us start realizing that it has to be a better way, that something is fundamentally wrong and we have to change the whole scenario and live a better life, have a better experience.

It is at this point in life when we look for that “teacher” the “master” that holds the key to the eternal happiness and the answer to the meaning of life.
We jump on the band wagon of the “trend du jour” spiritual craze and start chasing the pie in the sky get “happy quick” schemes just to find out we’ve been taking advantage of by unscrupulous people in search of a fast buck.

Eventually we figure out that there is no “secret” and giving control of your life to another person is the easiest way to find your life out of control.
To be master of your own destiny is to be the master of your own destiny.
There is no other way.
But that is a lot of work and we all want instant gratification – who after all, has the time to be himself?
So we keep looking for that pie in the sky “secret” that is going to change our life overnight.

Here is the unpleasant truth:
If for ten, twenty, thirty years or more of your life you have been eating junk food and have gained 100 extra pounds you are not going to reverse that in a couple of month of dieting.
You might loose all that extra fat but 99 % you will gain it back and then some more.
What you want to do is not a diet but to look at what and how a healthy person eats and try to do the same thing.

So what does dieting has to do with enlightenment?
It is a way to show you that you can’t change the programming of ten, twenty, thirty or more years of bad experiences in one day of meditation.
It is like expecting to get physically fit after eating one salad.

Your unhappiness, or better said, your happy less, is not a simple belief or idea that can be changed by reading a blog post.
After so many years your unhappiness is now a habit.
To change it will take as much as an effort and determination as it will take for example to stop drinking or taking drugs.

The real secret of spirituality is that in order to get a better life you have to get a better you and in order to get a better you, you have to take the control and the responsibility of your own life out of the hands of other people.
It takes courage, discipline and perseverance.
It takes faith, good friends and a lot of time, but trust me; once you start on that path of self reliance it only gets easier.

So go back to your spiritual practice whatever that might be, and if you don’t have one, get one asap.
You are not getting any younger.


Lydia said...

who after all, has the time to be himself? ...... What a marvelous question, and, as you point out at the end, we'd best find the time for it because none of us is getting younger.
Really, this is a great post...more like a mini thesis on being. Thanks.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

So glad that i popped in and read this post - you always get me thinking.

A lot of people would probably call me pessismistic and miserable - i prefer to think that i am realistic: positive thinking isn't going to make a difference when i go to a job interview that has already been filled internally, nor is it going to improve my current job

So sometimes its hard to try and be positive because you get worn down by the things around you - like if you knew your precice length for your life would you change the way you live?

Ideallistically maybe - because you'd want to do all the things you only talk of doing, but realistically you'd still have to have a roof over your head and thus bills to pay

The upshot is that we are never in control of our own destinies - not even the mega rich eventually, because we are subject to the butterfly effect that is modern life

PS: sorry about this response - i was in a really good mood this morning, then everything that happened to me for the next few hours was unuterably shit :)

Argent said...

This post really strikes a chord with me. It really is later than you think and if we want to take that control, we have to start sooner rather than later. Going along with the dieting analogy for a bit, I would say that it might be best to start off with smaller, more manageable changes first rather than try to do a commando raid on truth and get everything at once. I might try to take one day and see if I can identify where control could be wrested back. I might not be able to do the wresting, but it would be an interesting and possibly illuminating exercise, I think. Thatnks for this though-provoking topic and I really like the quotation at the top as well.

Quantum_Flux said...

I've no need for pie-in-the-sky instant solutions to my problems, just that I use my mind and resources to solve any problem that comes my way.

Buddha said...

@ Lydia - LOL! You get that too?
Yup! Getting older sure changes one's perspective on life :)

@ Pixie - I know how talented and funny and loving and generous you are.
I wish some how I can lend you my eyes and let you see how much you have to offer to the world and to yourself.
Don't let the pettiness of life drag you down and kill your spirit.
My advice: Take that pain and turn it into creative work.
Don't let it destroy your spirit. Pour it into your work. Use it like a fuel instead.
I know life has given you some lemons lately.
Be thankful - you can make lemonade now :)

PS - you don't need to apologize to me now or ever - I don't have an ego (almost)

@ Argent - Absolutely!
I prefer small, gradual and consistent change that create permanent habits, rather than a huge change that create just a temporary effect.

@ Quantum - See, we all do the same thing; we use our resources to solve problems.
What I am trying to advocate here is to use our resources to create our destiny instead.

Quantum_Flux said...

Destiny is a series of solved problems