Monday, May 23, 2005
The act of doing nothing is commonly thought of as not "working" at a job; Keep in mind the context of summer. A staggaring number of people are not happy at their jobs. If one is not happy, then it is certainly understandable that one would not work with much, if any, fervor in their profession. The mandatory attendence of such professions is made so only out of the necessity for survival; any other reason, such as greed or lust, are superfluous.
So then why such the negative connotation on not "working" when so many are in fact experienceing negative livelihoods while "working"? This boils down to the topic of success. To succeed in today's society is to achieve what has been tagged as important. Such items include
money, power, and fame. If given the choice between working in neonatal care (babies) for $55,000 and working for a tabloid for $100,000, most would go with the latter. Obviously, this choice would be made for the money. But let us consider the highly hypothetical jobs. One includes helping with the bringing of new life into the world. The other involves printing libel and invading the privacy of "important" people. This choice is absurd and stems from the societal values of success.
Although not everyone is to blame for these ideals, they are drilled into us at an early age. When most impressionable, we are bombarded with media telling us that celebrities and sports stars are the "important" people because they are wealthy or famous. We are told in school that good grades are vitally important for college acceptances. Graduate from a good college in order to get a well-paying job. Why not graduate in order to get a fun and enjoyable job?
Sure people need enough money for food and shelter, but anything past that is extra. "Time equals money" or "money will bring happiness" are two of the most hated phrases to me. For most people, money will bring attachment. As I have previously touched, attachment is the sure path away from happiness. I encourage all adults to first take care of their basic needs and those of their families, but then to take care of themselves. Finding a job that is enjoyable will reflect in your daily life with your family, affecting them much more than mere dollars can. To those still in the care of a family, enjoy your time as a child. Pursue your interests with vigor and work on finding inner peace so that you may touch all those with whom you come into contact. As an adult with true happiness, the necessary steps to survive will all fall into place effortlessly.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
The exercise of meditation is one that can be very beneficial to people. Note my emphasis on can. Humans ultimately decide what to take with them. Hopefully this short essay shall help those who are open and interested in learning.
This summer, I have adopted an almost daily routine of meditation. I find that like many things, repetition is key. But first let us start with: Why even meditate? It is used for many things such as relaxation, clarity of thought, reaching nirvana/enlightenment, prayer, and honing the Self. Despite one’s reason for meditating, the results will be positive physically, mentally, and spiritually when performed correctly.
It can be performed incorrectly you might ask? Absolutely! This brings us to the next point: How to meditate? Physically, one’s positioning does not matter in the slightest. I would recommend a sitting position, however, standing works just fine. Lying down is probably an invitation for sleep in our sleep-deprived society. A quiet place is naturally preferred as well.
Now, when actually in meditation, closing your eyes helps with internal focus. From here, there are several avenues to take. One which I enjoy is to focus my thoughts on my goal in life and to let them flow from there. Another way is to not even focus on a goal but to simply clear you mind and relax.
Lastly, there is focus on the spirit and oneness of life. Start out by aligning mind, body, and spirit if you feel that they are not already one. Decisions are made on three different levels, the mental, the physical, and the spiritual. If a person is not at peace within, then a discord is reached and decisions are different and disharmonious. Unfortunately, people tend to neglect this aspect of ourselves and even in their discord, people will listen to the mind or body almost all of the time, ignoring the spirit.
After one has reached a state of contentment within, it is time to move outward. During the second part of the meditation, join your oneness with the oneness that is larger; the cycle of life, all living things, the universe, God, Nirvana. Whatever the name, everyone and everything are interconnected. Meditation is a very useful tool to realizing this. After this level of awareness(!) is reached, one’s actions will be not only the best for themselves, but also for the Whole as well.
For beginners, meditation can be frustrating at times. It is important to remember to not force anything. If your thoughts wander, let them wander; they do so for a reason. While focusing on a goal is helpful, do not attach your happiness to reaching that goal. Think upon meditation not as a means to and ends but instead as a process. Enjoy the process, enjoy life.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Today, it seems a lot of people spend time doing something just to "relax" or "escape from reality for a while." I know I have throughout the past 10 or more years. But why do we feel the need to relax? Surely no one would say that it would be good to spend all their time relaxing and escaping from the world. A desire to escape from reality can't be a fundamental part of our humanity, can it? What is it that we feel the need to escape from?
I believe the answer is that our attempts at "escaping from the world" are an attempt to deal with the relationships we have in which we have to fulfill the expectations of others. We naturally hate being in this position, I think. Hasn't everybody hated having to do what seemed like a very silly and pointless homework assignment at some time? We hate having to base our actions on the expectations of others, because it sometimes forces us to go against what we naturally want to do. So then the question is, how do we deal with being in this position that we hate being in?
It seems to me we deal with this situation by taking the other role in the relationship in other aspects of our life. Isn't this what we are doing when we play a video game or watch a sitcom "to relax"? Just like the teacher who says "I will accept those students who complete this certain assignment" or "work in this certain way", aren't we really saying "I will accept anyone who also watches this TV show" or "plays this video game"? I realize now this is exactly what often motivated me to spend time playing a video games and look at sports on the internet. We deal with what we hate by becoming it. In order to deal with the expectations others put on us, we in response find our escape in being the one who lays down the expectations.
Okay, I won't say anthing else yet, because I don't want posts to be too long and complicated and all and I think I've said what I wanted to say. (And I really need to start thinking about my exam in 11 hours.)
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
What really sometimes scares me is that I could spend life doing nothing but playing games. I realize that the only reason I want to play the games is to establish relationships with other people, but this does not really end my desire of playing them. Of course, that’s all life is to many people, a series of different games: mimic what the teacher says, gain the approval of a group of people, etc.
But now, I see the foolishness in this. When a relationship is based on a game, it misses the point. Games are something that we can learn from and enjoy together. But the instant you start to play a game of any kind for the purpose of developing a relationship with someone else, you are necessarily imposing an expectation on them. This completely turns the purpose of games upside down. The presence of an expectation necessarily excludes the ability to learn from a game. All of sudden the game becomes about meeting the expectation rather than learning something about life. Relationships should never be built upon expectations, but rather a mutual trust and desire for understanding. This is the type of relationship we all truly desire.