Apathy in life
If we have been observing ourselves, sooner or later we will find out that our mood is constantly changing. Typically, we will remember the complete opposite sides of the spectrum; that is when we are elated, full of zest and enthusiasm; and then when we are depressed, when we feel down or with complete apathy of what is going on.
To be aware of that constant flux or change is to notice how nothing is lasting in life.
The disciple said: “My meditation was extraordinary.”
The Zen master responded: “It will go away.”
The disciple, after a couple of days said: “My meditation was awful today.”
The Zen master responded: “it will go away.”
The issue is when we do not notice this natural fluctuation and rather than center ourselves in the observation of life without judgment, we try to grab a particular moment in life, a particular feeling and posses it.
That will go away as well.
To just observe means to be aware. When we stop taking ourselves seriously, we can smile. 🙂
When we smile, life changes its color.
A rich, eloquent, nutritious smile can turn our own winter time in life into a fruitful Spring.
Any feeling that we feel, any sensation, any thought has its cusp and its bottom. In between there is movement, inevitable change. This is a fact in the world of duality.
Being aware of that, means to become free from the fleeting sensation while enjoying it.
Life is like eating a piece of strawberry cake: We can only enjoy the taste of it while eating it. That means that at the end of the experience, there will be no cake left.
Most, worry about finishing the piece of cake, thus; there is no enjoyment in the experience. Others will rush themselves into finishing the cake for the anticipation of a “better future.” Yet others, will practice apathy in front of the strawberry cake, saying: “it will go away. I’d better no get used to it.”
Please see how the Zen teaching: “it will go away,” could be easily misinterpreted.
Enjoyment, appreciation of the moment needs to be there. Our capacity for enjoyment of life will depend on our openness to life, our ability to experience the experience and to let it go.
This is not about thinking: “I’d better not enjoy the strawberry cake because it will be gone while I eat it and then I will miss it.” This creates apathy out of fear.
Taste the strawberry cake of life, enjoy it and be grateful of that experience…This creates gratitude in life.
When there is gratitude there is enthusiasm and with that vitality, strength… Then, a new human being is born.
Unlimited Disinterest, anyone?
When BapDada mentions in the Avyakt Murlis that “we should have unlimited disinterest,” how do you interpret that? 🙂
The traditional interpretation is that of “apathy,” that is lack of interest, enthusiasm, concern, indifference for worldly things… right? No?? 🙂
Let me illustrate with examples: “This world is full of Maya- illusions. I have “unlimited disinterest” for everything but Godly service.”
“This world is hell, I have distaste for it.” Or to put it in “nicer words,” I have “unlimited disinterest” of this world.
The religious aspect of it is to “separate” Godly from non-Godly. To “do” Godly is “right,” to “do” anything else is “waste of time,” even though, Godly means to “relate” with that which is considered “non-Godly” so it could become “Godly.” 🙂
When we only dare to look at the sun from the small window of our house, we will miss the potential of experiencing the sunshine by venturing a bit further. We could coverup that attitude in life as “Unlimited disinterest.” It happens…
Now, let me illustrate “Unlimited disinterest” by this known story of Hakuin (Zen master)
“The Zen Master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as one living a pure life.
A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store, lived near him. Suddenly without any warning, her parents discovered she was pregnant with a child.
This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.
In great anger the parents went to the master, “Is that so?” was all he would say.
After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbors and everything else the little one needed.
A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth—that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.
The mother and the father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back again.
Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: “Is that so?”
In this story we can observe how Hakuin behaved. He accepted life as it came to him. He wasn’t fighting against it. Praise and Defamation (As BapDada mentions) were treated the same.
For Hakuin, that duality was experienced with “unlimited disinterest.” That is, an openness to the Drama of life. that is not apathy or indifference at all but the opposite.
The above story, has been interpreted by many others in different ways; however, when we have the knowledge, Gyan we can have a great perspective of life that no one else could have. We know of an “eternally predestined Drama,” then; how can we “judge” things for the way they appear to us, without knowing the full consequence of it? the full story? and even then, by knowing that it is a “movie” does it make any sense to judge it?
In the example above, we see “embracing” that which for many will be considered “good or evil” as being equal, there is no difference. As a “detached observer,” Hakuin was merely, observing the “movie” and even pronouncing the same words (Is that so?) in “his defense,” and acting in an egoless manner. It is a movie. Hakuin is “performing his role” but that role is not a consequence of ego, but a consequence of “flowing with life,” as life offers things, as we know the Drama.
Note the complete centeredness, self reliance and trust in life that is needed to do that. Paradoxically, is not being done by “someone.” It happens when there is no “I” to do things, that is “unlimited disinterest.” Apparently, there is a “disinterest” going, but there is none. Hakuin is dynamically acting in the movie of life without that ego which has a choice in “duality,” that ego which rejects and judges, that ego which “thinks too much” about the “pros” and “cons” for the benefit of the “self” before acting. That ego which loves to divide “me” and the “others.”
“Unlimited disinterest” is true selfness. It is not a matter of “definitions” of words to live by, but the experience of trust in life and its processes or as BapDada puts it, a trust in “Drama, God and the self.”