Sometimes, we feel as though we spend our days moving boulders up a hill. Each day we rise with the sun and put our shoulders into the rocks. On days of impatience, we strain to push them simply back to where they were when we went to rest the day before. On days with more positivity, we imagine greater slopes and strive for new heights. The boulders are our goals, our desires, and our duties… ourselves when we imagine our lives, our egos when we witness ourselves.
Even in practicing mindfulness, the rocks of our ambitions appear before us. To live in the moment is a great and flickering victory, but when we only champion halfway the muttering voices of our pasts and futures appear as shadow combatants. In addiction, in desire, and in good or evil there are all moments that can be fully lived. Mindfulness is about a mode of approach that doesn’t guarantee spiritual victory or happiness; it’s even used as a tool for taming the masses. We need to dig deeper.
The rocks of our ambitions that we hoist, that come alive as shadows of ourselves when we look at them instead of up the hill, are sentient beings. They are as real as our egos, our concepts of everything bound up with the sense of self. The rocks are part of our egos – they are where or what we want to be. Our days of pushing boulders up hills are about changing the labels we give ourselves through our circumstances, our possessions, our relationships, and much more. The hill itself and the boulders we perch atop it are the same thing, just as our efforts to push the rocks up are also inseparable from the hill and rocks.
Why do the boulders come down in the night?
The rocks tumble down each night because we rise in our sleep and tumble them down. In our unconsciousness, we fight our consciousness. We make the daily struggle by setting up walls to climb over. Our setting of walls has to do with our bad habits, it comes from our need for opponents when we derive our sense of purpose in struggle. Self improvement has much to do with inspiration and goal-setting, but just the same amount or more to do with elimination. We find more liberation by letting go than we do by climbing the same walls each day.
- When we stop over-exerting ourselves, we don’t need to save up the good times for the weekend.
- When we stop buying stuff we don’t need, we don’t need to work so hard to support ourselves.
- When we stop eating that which makes us feel unwell, we don’t need to diet.
- When we stop dreaming of doing nothing, we don’t need to exercise intensely.
- When we stop being proud of our stuff, we don’t need to struggle for social domination.
Ultimately, everyone just wants to be happy and is going about it the best way they know how. The problem does come back to mindfulness, to some extent, because the underlying misunderstanding is the thought that happiness is someplace in the future. One can never be happy without focusing on the current moment and being fully present. But deeper still… happiness comes when we don’t see boulders and shadow combatants all around us. It’s not about being happy despite the obstacles, it’s about changing our visions so that we don’t see ourselves surrounded by obstacles. It’s about seeing past the illusory landscape of the ego, which is a fictional land where all people are roles and all objects are tools.
Moving past the daily struggle is about patience and attention.
The vision past our cultural contexts is not obtainable through renouncement. We can’t take a list of things that we need to quit doing and find happiness by exerting ourselves. Happiness is not in the future, but right now – and renouncement is once again about the ego, about putting the goal of happiness out there as some future self. It sets up unhappiness as a shadow combatant, depression and addictions as boulders to move up a hill, and our days as the same struggle with different labels. In truth, there is nothing to renounce just as there is nothing to cling to.
“Stop thinking there is a lack of connection, and there won’t be one. You already have the Buddha nature, stop screwing it up by looking for it.”
Dr. Kirby Surprise
Synchronicity: The Art of Coincidence, Choice, and Unlocking Your Mind
The walls we set up in unconsciousness are simply thoughts. They’re urges that arise from our conditioning, they’re simply cyclic routines and habits. When we’re mindful and see boulders or shadow combatants, we’re seeing our own thoughts and we don’t need to push or fight them. It’s a victory to see them, but a bigger victory still to let them disperse. Wait a while, and they’ll collapse back into the dust from which they arose.
- When the idea of something to be worked on arises, we can refuse it.
- When the idea of buying something arises, we can examine it to see if it’s truly needful.
- When the idea of eating arises, we can stop to see if we’re hungry.
- When the idea of laying idle arises, we can find out why we have no motivation.
- When the idea of being superior or inferior arises, we can laugh at ourselves.
We are eternal witnesses of the great interplay, the movement of the one consciousness that appears as the entire universe, and our witnessing is an act of creation. Just as the negative things spring up, so do positive things – and we can extend those by giving them attention, by embracing them and living fully with them as they emanate out from ourselves. We can dance with positivity and manifestation, by choosing them with attention again and again.
- Synchronicity: The Art of Coincidence, Choice, and Unlocking Your Mind – book on Amazon, quoted
- Three Awarenesses in Meditation – programminglife.net
- Be Grateful for Gentle Life Lessons – programminglife.net
- I’m Happy Anyway – programminglife.net
- How To Find Peaceful Thoughts In An Instant – mindbodygreen.com
- How to Be Happier Without Really Trying – tinybuddha.com
- The Stoic: 9 Principles to Help You Keep Calm in Chaos – 99u.com
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