It’s been a while since I’ve written here. The events of life pulled me away for a while. That’s the way it goes. The movement of things, like waves on an ocean, coming and going, ebb and flow. Lately the desire to write has come back so here I sit, at my computer.
What’s been on my mind lately is something a Zen teacher once said during a talk he gave. “When you look out into the world today how can you not get a little depressed once in a while.” There are a few things happening here. The first is, as those of you who have been through a deep enough awakening may already know, there is some depression that comes along with that for most people, even if for just a little while. As things fall away the emptiness that is left can be difficult at first, especially if the ego is struggling to hold on tight. The second, is the idea people have about what it means to be enlightened or awake. So many have this preconceived notion that enlightenment means that the enlightened person walks around happy and blissful all of the time, which is incredibly untrue. To be enlightened is to experience every emotion, every energy that arises, fully and without turning away from it. This could be anger, happiness, sadness, depression etc. Even Jesus threw around a table or two. Even Buddha shed some tears.
Lately, the sadness has come up as I watch most people run around being exceptionally busy; rushing, rushing, rushing, running themselves ragged. Where are they going and why? Our culture, especially here in America, tells us we need to be productive. We need to accomplish something. We need to work hard. We need to make lots of money. On and on. Why? How many of you sit back and ask yourself what you are doing? Where do you think you are going? This mind-set is never-ending. One thing gets done and it’s immediately off to the next. Not only can this be toxic to your health and mind but how does this effect how you treat others? A general observation is that the effect is nothing but harmful. I look at my place of employment as an example. People are penalized for calling in sick more than 3 times in 3 months: production valued over health, production valued over taking a day of rest, production valued over compassion for the things life can throw our way. Then there are also individuals who get upset or even angry at someone for taking a day off unexpectedly. Why? I watch people work and work and work week after week, throwing that time away until they can get to their two-week vacation. It’s insane. What about our every day time? We go and go and go so we can relax for two weeks? And even then, many vacations are filled with just as much doing as life back at home. It’s insane. At least 10 – 20 times a week people tell me they can wait for the weekend. Why wait? What about now? Again, where are you going? What is there to get to? The weekend will come, but it will also go. What about all of the other moments? They are just as precious. The sadness comes up in me when I watch this but the sadness isn’t to be seen as something negative and I don’t expect or desire things to be any different from what they are. But the desire is there to snap people out of it and show them there is more to life that they are not seeing in their busy-ness.
The other side of the sadness comes from watching people’s need to fill every moment with something to keep them busy. I watch people, almost daily, who suffer tremendously when there are times of “nothing to do” or when they are alone and it’s quiet. They do everything they can to fill what they perceive as a void. What would happen if they didn’t turn away from it? What would happen if you didn’t turn away from your own void? If you didn’t run away from it? Most people don’t know what would happen as most can’t face it or are not ready to face it. The sadness here comes from knowing that this perceived void is where the truth is. If you can stop covering it up with constant activity it will reveal itself to you.
Instead of following what your mind is telling you needs to get done, be quiet and listen to what is driving you from the inside. You won’t be led astray and it’s not as scary as your mind will try to tell you it is.
Life is not about what is going to happen tomorrow, so where are you going?