We want strawberries out of Life. We dream about them. We believe that “achieving” strawberries in Life will make us happy and fulfilled.
Life offer us lemons instead. Why don’t we make lemonade?
We are stuck with our belief in strawberries. Unable to bend our position to observe things from a different perspective.
Look! Someone has strawberries and he is happy! I want that for me. If life doesn’t offer that, bitterness is the “side effect” of that trauma. We feel unhappy, unfulfilled. What can I do with lemons, for god’s sake!
A “best seller” on how to achieve strawberries will be made.
“Achieving” strawberries or lemons will not make us fulfilled in Life. It is the experience of enjoyment of Life experiences what will bring fulfillment.
Lemons by themselves may be too bitter for some, not for all. Taste them to know. Open up, so the possibility of mixing lemons with something else arrives. Lemonade is such a refreshing drink!
The dream of strawberries is only a dream. If that dream becomes a reality, it doesn’t mean that fulfillment has arrived. We are looking for fulfillment not strawberries.
Shall we wake up from the dream of living Life through dreams?
Have you heard the singing of a yellow warbler or a robin bird?
Be aware of how you feel. You may enjoy it.
Those sounds have a pleasing effect on us. There is coordination, balance, symmetry, agreement, peace in that. It happens without rehearsal, naturally.
That sensation we label as “harmony.” There is agreement with the environment.
I could take someone right out of that sensation if I ask:
“Why do you like that singing? Please elaborate.”
Even worse, I could ask: “Why do birds sing?” Then meaningless answers may arrive: That is the way they attract potential mates. They are protecting their territory. Truly, a bird does not DO things out of a plan, an objective. That is rational, not harmonious.
The mind keeps questioning. It keeps coming up with plans of action. Ideas, ideals and fantasies filling up our time.
Inner nourishment and delight is in the experience of listening to the bird’s song, not in knowing intellectual answers.
We only have preconceptions based on our human expectations and understanding of the world. Can’t ask the bird for “answers;” instead, ask your neighbor: “Why do you breathe?” Then, we could realize the value of our questioning and spare the bird from a meaningless question. Intellectual questions/answers are without fulfillment.
The intellect, reason, logic have a place in Life. That is the “office world.” We can hardly survive in that world without it. But to know harmony, we may need to open a different door.
Enjoyment of Life means to enter into that door of harmony.
Our “black or white” mentalities are not “trained” for harmony. We want to live Life in the “right” way, which is to follow a set of rules, commandments, expectations that we believe to be the representation of “righteousness.” We will apply those rules every time, the goal is to be consistent with our ideas. To be “right” we must get rid of “wrong.” “Wrong” is our definition of unacceptable…. Living in that intellectual, conceptual manner we lack fulfillment, harmony.
Harmony is not an idea, a concept. There is nothing to get rid of to make things “right” but rather to integrate. Can we integrate “right” with “wrong”? Not in our minds. Our strict “concepts” and ideals do not allow for that.
A song does not have a preconceived structure. It does not follow a particular pattern. A bird does not have limits of what is “right” or “wrong” to sing. Those are only expectations of the human mind, which are obstacles to discover joy.
“Mind” the environment. The inner and outer world. Be aware of the discordance of our own voice. Have we heard how unpleasant the sound of it may be? What we ARE manifests in so many ways.
Harmonious living cannot be put into a recipe. There is no method to study, concept to DO or commandments to follow.
Harmony changes continuously. Every song Life plays even though different, is in accord with the time, setting and environment. That is why, no one could teach another to be harmonious. Moving with it, is not following it. That is beyond the limits of any sort of “spirituality” or moral standards. Without harmony; enjoyment of Life is reduced to another method to “practice” and achieve by our monkey mind.
An enticing “objective” only to dream about. 🙂
“I would appreciate if you could share some insights with regards to choosing a vocation or how to earn one’s livelihood. Though you don’t entertain personal questions ,will share my personal situation to give you a context.
I am a 32 year old working in the Indian IT industry for 7 years,have done my engineering and MBA degrees but somehow of late “office work” just doesn’t stimulate me.This has been happening for 2-3 years,almost feel repelled regularly.Though its a state of mind and it goes away and its fine for few days but then it again keeps returning regularly.Just sitting in front of a computer whole day is just too much to take for me at times.I understand we all go through different emotions always but this desire to break out of this keeps coming back.But the irony is I have no idea what I want to do instead.If I get some free time I kind of distract myself but not work sincerely enough on finding about what truly I desire and work towards it,lack the discipline to do it consistently.Somewhere feel I am not following my ‘ highest joy’…don’t know if that’s possible even.
Not sure if my question made much sense and is different from the regular spiritual/philosophical thing, but if you are able to relate to it please do share your experience.”
Thank you for your question. Your question may fit the situation of many and I have experienced something similar, thus; I will answer it.
The question you ask is not easy to respond if you are looking at it from a conditioned perspective that is the “mass” belief. If your perspective is driven by “your instincts,” “your gut feeling,” “your intuition,” etc. Your question does not need to be answered as you know the answer.
Therefore, that is your “choice” at this point, but that can change in the future. Let me explain:
Like you, at one point in my career I wasn’t feeling fulfilled in the “office world,” even though the pay and the “status” were pretty good. I decided to look for another well-paying job in the IT industry. But Life had a different plan for “me.” I was let go. I wasn’t able to find a job to match “my standards” even though I tried pretty hard.
Thus I lived with my savings for the next 4 years. I found work as a “swimming pool cleaner” to supplement my savings as I live in Florida- USA.
If we believe in the idea of security and “social status” that the mind has bought into; my experience could be traumatic. It was at the time. Now, I see something entirely different.
Why did pool cleaning interested me? That was the time to experience “ Do what you love to do.” I love physical work/exercise outdoors. I wanted to walk barefooted in the grass and get plenty of sunshine, be in the water and feel the weather’s change in my skin. Also, I was mysteriously attracted to the blue color of a swimming pool. From that, I went into bodywork full time, and learned about energy work, the art of relaxation and the power of touch. My days in the IT industry seemed over, but… I am back in the IT industry with a job similar to the one I was let go, 12 years ago… but now as a “different person.”
What I AM “now” is the sum of that journey. If I am to think about retirement funds, the house, the luxury vehicle “I lost” during that time, what I experienced may have no meaning. It was about the “spiritual journey” into BEING someone different, for that I needed to let go of the conditioning by experiencing my fears.
Life is just full of experiences which we may label as surprises, good luck, bad day, punishment from God, being born under a lucky star, etc.
We get caught up with labels, but those are completely meaningless in the “bigger picture.”
Life is playing a song for you. You could stress yourself by trying to guess which is the next note that will be played in the song and “make the right decision;” or you could just be open to the tune as it develops. At the end of the day, a song is a song whether you spend your time trying to guess the next note “standing by the wall” or whether you just flow with the tune and “get down on it.” What is the difference then?
Your state of BEING.
If you don’t know what you want to do, you will find out. Things that you may not even consider when you have the safety of your current job, may be potential candidates.
You may “choose” now, but Life may have other plans for you, later on; therefore, here is my 10 cents sharing of my experience:
“Your choice” is not important. Go left or go right…It is not about that. Just “get down on it” to whatever tune Life is playing. You can dance.
Expression in Life is not a matter of “choice.” 🙂
The intellectual, the philosopher is not ready for inner change.
While we obtain more information through books, classes, DVDs, conferences, etc. less aware of inner observation we will be.
It doesn’t mean that classes and books are “bad.” It just means that what we gain in information, we lose in inner awareness.
The authority in the book is giving us a concept. We repeat that concept. We think we “know.”
What we hear, we interpret it according to our experiences. It just remains as an “idea,” a nice concept to like or dislike.
A strong experience, something intense will change a person.
Why? Because that person does not have control over it. The “I” is unable to fight back and “teach a lesson” to another.
We easily label the experience as “bad” or “good” according to our interest or some moral code. However, the bottom line is change. That change is not fake, for it does not come from intellectual understanding.
Any intellectual understanding when referred to living Life, is worthless without inner awareness. However, intellectual understanding is necessary to survive in the “office world,” our society away from Nature and Life. In that world, inner awareness is not needed, in fact; it may be an obstacle for proper conditioning.
The rupture is evident. Most intellectual neophytes will pretend to understand Life under the premise of accumulation of information, concepts, ideas. Nevertheless, part of the spiritual journey is to unlearn all of that.
If we just go to Nature and observe the Ocean, we will learn all we need to be in tune with Life.
There is high tide and low tide. We ask: Which is better? Which one is good? Which one is more convenient?
Both are one. Just different polarity. To understand that, may take a Lifetime to many. Those who are busy “choosing” between high and low, left and right, straight and crooked, good and bad, right and wrong… Those are the intellectuals.
Yes, they “understand” the concept that opposites are complements; but because there is no first hand experience, because there is no observation… still they will be trapped in labeling incidents, judging outcomes, taking sides, babbling opinions.
What is empathy? They may ask. They want a concept. A definition. The Hawk grabbed a fish from the Ocean.
Is the Hawk empathic with the fish? Well… that doesn’t fit the definition of empathy. Is the Hawk compassionate?
No? Here comes the rationale: Therefore, the Hawk is “bad.” If the hawk was “good,” the hawk will display empathy and compassion. What about a human fishing and taking a fish out of the Ocean? Is he empathic? Compassionate? Yes/No? What the mind says? Isn’t this a moral problem? an ontological issue?
Hawk, fish, Ocean, wind… all are one. Life sustains itself through different forms. Our moral concepts are worthless to understand Nature.
The Ocean moves, changes. It is alive. The wind is part of the Ocean, and so all the creatures although for intellectuals; those are different things.
There is no better lullaby than the waves of the Ocean breaking into shore. It is the magical tune to quiet our busy minds… but rather than listening to it, we may ask: “What is the cause of that sound?”
Oh! It is the Jacques Cousteau Factor… The mind is happy. It has an answer! The intellect knows… while that empty container called “self” is still looking for fulfillment…
While we are taught to accomplish important things, to always DO things, to make a name for ourselves, to leave a legacy behind ourselves, to improve, to become better, holier, godly, etc. Our mind remains busy in the future, in a task believed to shape us up, to take us there, to fit the ideal, the promise…
The idea behind that perception is that we are imperfect, we need to make that change…Thus, religions and moralists are there to “help us,” for they know exactly where to go, where to lead us; after all… they have the “right” answers.
Somehow those “answers” have not taken a man into BEING a genuine human being, but into the “sinner “ mentality: Full of fear, guilt and shame.
Those 3 types of energies are blocking us from living in fulfillment. Those 3 types of energies are spread out in our society in one way or another.
My neighbor keeps yelling at his dog named “Lucky,” as “Bad dog.” Fortunately for “Lucky,” he doesn’t have a clue of what is “good” or “bad; ” otherwise the dog will develop fear, guilt and shame. Nevertheless, the “master” feels a sense of self-righteousness, a sense of knowing exactly what is moral and immoral, a sense of power over the dog. He is playing “God” with the dog.
However, the dog is truly intelligent. “Lucky” will play out the sinner role in front of the master: Tail under hind legs, with a look of repentance in the eyes… which will vanish a few seconds later.
“Lucky” has mastered the art of just holding that look long enough to make his master “happy.” Then “Lucky” will keep playing and acting as if nothing has happened. It is that untainted innocence the one that his master may never know about.
The dog is fulfilled in ignorance. A typical human being is not, even with knowledge.
It is a matter of innocense.
For instance, a child is pure. Not because he does not know lust, anger, greed, etc. A child is pure because of his innocence.
As a child grows up, then “teachings,” come into his experience. BEING is replaced by DOING.
A particular DOING is promoted by teachings, laws, moral standards, dogmas, beliefs, superstitions, etc.
That DOING supersedes BEING.
That “knowledge” takes away the innocence of the child. He becomes “impure.”
Shall we reject that “knowledge” then?
No. It is part of the growth of a child. Part of his experiences. Society cannot function without that particular “knowledge.”
The “I” is born fully through that “knowledge” and with that the separation with Life.
The feeling after that “change” may be as if we do not fit anymore there. We feel misunderstood.
That stage is part of experiencing the different flavors that Life could offer. It is not a traumatic experience, but a flavor.
A rebel may reject society. That rejection will need to dissolve in him, for any rejection does not bring growth but stagnation. We become complaisant, comfortable with our “knowledge.”
Knowledge cannot come from the outside. It will come through experiencing Life. Then, it is no longer knowledge but insight. It is that insight the one that could bring wisdom, fulfillment.
In Life, we go through the dichotomy of ignorance and knowledge just to find that insight above knowledge, that which cannot be written down as a law for “all” to practice, follow to become “good.”
It is not by separating but by opening that “I” how the emptiness of fulfillment arrives.
Fulfillment is like an empty room. Open for different possibilities of décor.
It is no longer the longing for a particular piece of furniture “there,” but the appreciation of “what is.”
Until January 4th 2016! 🙂
A “seeker,” in the beginning is blind. He may find a little light down the road and he may think: “I found it. I have the truth. All I have to DO is stick with this.”
Little he knows that DOING will not change BEING. All different paths are merely points of reference. The “seeker” will not be satisfied until he finds himself… and for that, he may need more light than the “truth” he found, less beliefs than what he has been taught.
Have you heard the story of the starfish?
It is used by many people to convey the thought that “I” can make the difference to “help” someone.
It goes something like this: A little boy was throwing starfish back into the Ocean, for the tide washed them up onto the beach. The starfish cannot return to the Ocean by themselves and they will die when the sun sets high.
An adult passing by said: “There are thousands of them, you will not be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy replied: “To this one, it will make a difference.”
The above story illustrates our sets of beliefs and thinking, it also promotes the idea of being a ‘savior’ for someone, that is “helping them from harshness.”
That is one perspective.
Another perspective is that there is another “reason” beyond Human imagination, as to why those thousands of starfish were washed out onto the beach. The Ocean and the creatures living in it, are in tune with what is needed in the Totality. A human being typically is not, and only has his belief to live for.
Isn’t the kid “throwing” (not even placing it in a “safe place”) a dying or weak starfish into the Ocean just delaying the starfish’s death for it will be helpless and eaten by another creature?
“Help” is much more than a belief supported by the Disney channel.
The kid is projecting his human moral standards into a starfish. The adult is only projecting his “utilitarian reason” which he was taught through “education” and the “office world.”
“It doesn’t make sense. It is a waste of effort. There are too many needing help.”
That is why it becomes increasingly important to feel rather than to think.
Thinking will create “Help.”
When thinking creates “help,” there is the separation of the one helping and the one receiving help, the one doing the “good action” and the one in “debt.”
Helping supports the ego of both: The one helping and the one receiving help.
Helping means more “I.”
Am I saying not the “help”? 🙂
No. I am not referring to the meaning of the word, but how we feel when we use it.
“I helped so and so..”
When you do something from your heart, the “I” is not helping. That is the Universe taking care of things through a person.
Feeling is the way to connect with the Totality. When thinking, we could be “right or wrong,” but when we learn to listen to our feelings, we cannot be right nor wrong. Feeling goes beyond that.
To be able to perceive Life from a different perspective, demands that we abandon that which we think we know or feel comfortable with or that we have conveniently labeled as the “truth.”
That is the courage needed to take away the certainty and comfort level of the “I.”
To become aware of this, is to “be” less “I” without trying… thus, true, honest and sincere.
Practice a method to change “you,” and that will only change behavior.
Be open for Life to change you, and that will change consciousness.
Learn to listen to your true feelings and you will embrace your destiny.
Follow your mind and thoughts and you will be trapped in the duality of “right or wrong,” trapped in beliefs, rationalization and dogmas…always wondering if your “I” was right…or wrong or “rationalizing” how “good/true/right” “I” am.
Until next Monday… will be taking a week vacation!
When there is a realization that Life is about the experience of “experiences,” which are agents to transform our consciousness; then in that realization we could observe that Life does not have any objectives or goals; unless we assign those to Life.
If our perception of life could change at any time, if every individual has a perception, why are we so stubborn in our continuous creation of a goal, an objective for everyone to follow?
That is how “truth” as an objective arrives, and that is how “truthful paths” come into this picture.
Perhaps the above is not easily explained. Let me put it in another way:
Does your life have an objective, a goal? Do you have a “path to follow” which is an ideal?
Some intelligent individuals could advice you to have one. Our society demands that we have a Life objective. If you do not, religions will give you one through their multiple belief systems. If you don’t have one objective, most probably your consciousness will move into having one objective, path, goal, truth in Life.
Most probably Life will teach you that if you choose a path, a truth, an objective, you will still look for meaning, for fulfillment for the “ideal” is not “reality.” The “ideal” is just a perception. Thus, sooner or later you will be pathless, goal-less, etc. when you become disenchanted of ever climbing someplace, ever becoming something, ever doing things to get to the same place. Nowhere…. 🙂
You see, duality is interesting. Choose “yes” or “no” does not matter at the end of the road, for you will experience both anyhow. Paradoxically, it is that experience of both “sides of the rope” which will liberate you from duality, from embracing one side and rejecting the other; BUT… this is not intellectual stuff, you must EXPERIENCE it.
Dear readers, if you are able to understand me by the above paragraphs notwithstanding my limitations of language, you could discover many things for yourself.
Let me just share one.
Perfection is an ideal. The saint looks for perfection under the premise that “we are not perfect,” we are “sinners.”
Embrace perfection. Reject imperfection.
The ideal cannot be fulfilled. It is after all an ideal.
Life is complete. It is in that completion how we could observe its perfection.
We are Life itself. Are we not already that which we are looking for?
Perfection is not something to attain in the future. Perfection is now.
What feels like “lacking” is known as lack of completion. To be complete.
The experiences of Life will give us that completion.
When a person reaches the end of his life, there is completion. That completion cannot be compared with someone else. Some may live 10 years while others 99. That is not the point, Life gives completion of every role in Life.
When we live the “now” there is no “Perfection” to chase in our thoughts.
To hurry up to attain “Buddhahood” as some monks will pretend to do in a temple is of no consequence. With honesty, they do not know how to do it, neither their masters.
Do you know why I am so sure of that?
Because it happens automatically when there is completion of experiences in Life. No need to have that as an “objective.” It happens at different times.
It happens when you have gone through the “Yes” and equally through the “No” of experiences of Life, when you have gone through that duality. It does not happen because someone meditates 20 hours per day. Nevertheless, if someone wants to have the experience of meditating 20 hours per day, that is not “bad,” it is part of that person’s experience.. BUT, that does not mean, that “he has found the method.”
Dear readers, Life is very simple. Just enjoy it. Don’t take it as a “life or death” situation 🙂 for whatever is happening, it will go away. “You” will go away as well. Isn’t that beautiful? “You” will be out of this particular “role” in Life and move on. It is just a matter of time.
Shall I do something to speed that up? 🙂
Why would someone who is enjoying the ride, would like to do that?
Are you enjoying it?
Enjoy now …and continue enjoying the next “now.” Allow for your consciousness to change. No need to “do” anything, but to allow for it to happen. Beliefs, ideals, fears, preconceptions are not allowing for that consciousness to move on. Observe that.
Finally, here is the most transcendental Spiritual teaching that I have learned so far, which actually puts all the blah above into a nice summary: (I learned this sometime ago from reading about a Zen master, but it just recently sunk into my core.)
“When I eat… I eat. When I sleep… I sleep. When I play… I play. “
Easy to remember, easy to share. Not so easy to understand … and not so easy to “do.”
Perfect and complete.