Is life about doing what you don't want?

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Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by Thrasymachus » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:57 pm

I have come to learn that being an adult in our society, you are expected to do what you don't want to do for most of your time on earth, because you "have" to. Life is not about doing what you want to do. People who choose that path are most often called by pejorative terms like unrealistic, bums, leeches, hippies, etc. This paragraph written by an animal rights advocate has stayed with me for months:
Gary Yourofsky wrote: ADAPTT: Here’s What’s Wrong With PETA and HSUS

... Gurdjieff, the Great Russian Seeker of Truth, explained that life is the payment of promissory notes one makes while in a waking sleep. He said that humans spend the majority of life going through the motions, making promises (marriage, employment) they never intended nor wanted, and then suffering from the burden of fulfilling those unintended commitments. Commitments to our jobs, our homes, to our spouses and family members are ignoble. The only commitment should be to justice by any means necessary.
Life experience has taught me that most people are raised to be unethical, selfish as3holes. That the more they are on such a path the more vaunted, celebrated they will be, the more friends they will tend to have. On the surface it seems to have a great payoff! Deeper they hide grave wounds that they know how to dress up real well, especially to causal onlookers, but they cannot keep up false appearances for close intimates. This is the best summation in the shortest words of the structural reasons why this is so:
John Perkins wrote:
... a concept that has become accepted as gospel: the idea that all economic growth benefits humankind and that the greater the growth, the more widespread the benefits. This belief also has a corollary: that those people who excel at stoking the fires of economic growth should be exalted and rewarded, while those born at the fringes are available for exploitation.

... When men and woman are rewarded for greed, greed becomes a corrupting motivator. When we equate the gluttonous consumption of the earth's resources with a status approaching sainthood, when we teach our children to emulate people who live unbalanced lives, and when we define huge sections of the population as subservient to an elite minority, we ask for trouble. And we get it.

... They have brought us to a point where our global culture is a monstrous machine that requires exponentially increasing amounts of fuel and maintenance, so much so that in the end it will have consumed everything in sight and will be left with no choice but to devour itself.

Perkins, John. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. (Plume, 2006) p. xv.
I have been thinking of what to do personally about this. I came across a podcast about a guy who has lived without money since 2000, named Daniel Suelo. He said that if you think about a tree, it does not make you stop and say: "What will you give me before I release this apple." The world is naturally a place full of gifts and abundance, but our social and monetary system ruin it. So to him it seemed ridiculous to use money and he stopped. However, I don't think that is a realistic path for me, since I am not a social person.

I did get accepted into some short academy that teaches to build a revolutionary type of housing with a self-contained water recycling systems(no sewer), that gathers rain-water(thus needs no hookup to municipal water), is solar powered(needs no power grid), has an indoor garden, needs no heating or cooling because it has thermal mass, etc. They are called earthships, you can learn about them from this Weather Channel clip (Youtube: 7 min) or their homepage. But I don't think is this is realistic for me: I have no aptitude for anything involving repair or building, I don't like being in new settings, etc. But it does offer a remote possibility of relocating to Greece which I would love, especially since there is a huge economic collapse ongoing that is closing off the option for most the population becoming the type of middle class scum I am currently surrounded by. Also I can't see myself ever looking forward toward abusing my body to build for privileged businessmen and the rich.

Another option I have is getting a job at the local transit. It is basically a pulse job, meaning if you have a pulse you can do it, it pays very well, you actually spend most of the shift not working, etc. I could do something constructive by stealing labor time from my employer to use for better purposes. I was thinking of creating scripts about why modernization and Americanization are so bad, creating video and narrating it to put on Youtube with subtitles that hopefully other people can translate. One of the big problems is that the American cultural-entertainment industry is the biggest export of the biggest economic power -- this creates a stilted, false image of the toil, misery, imperialism, social isolation and slavery that fuels our lifestyle. Or I could start writing fiction or something. Of course I could do those things now, but my mom has programmed me constantly about jobs, career, money so that when I have free time, I don't ever feel I can do anything.

However, I feel it doesn't matter what I do. I never will find my place in the world and I don't think I want to. To belong to an unjust world you have to be selfish and unjust. I had alot of negative programming growing up. All my mom(like almost all American moms) ever taught me was to watch tv, do good in school, be a consumer. That is to be a horrible, incomplete person who can only make money and spend money, and to "entertain" oneself in the intern of free moments, and when one cannot distract oneself, one must be scared of being alone with their thoughts. It is hard for me to exit the paradigm, especially since I don't like venturing out and hate meeting or dealing with new people. It seems I am cursed to do what I don't want to do just because there is money in it. But I wonder anew everyday, is that really different than living death? That is how most live, as zombies, but they have the great benefit of being unconscious of it, it is much more difficult to know this is your threshold of your existence. Would I rather die and live a few real moments of pain, anticipation, anxiety and calm instead from the moment that decision was made till the end comes?

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Re: Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by justsit » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:45 pm

"This is the noble truth of dukkha: birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, illness is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are dukkha; union with what is displeasing is dukkha; separation from what is pleasing is dukkha; not to get what one wants is dukkha; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are dukkha."

"This is the noble truth of the origin of dukkha: it is this craving which leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there, that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination."

"This is the noble truth of the cessation of dukkha: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, nonreliance on it."

"This is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of dukkha: it is the Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration."

- The four truths are presented within the Buddha's first discourse, Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dharma (Dharmacakra Pravartana Sūtra).

Clinging to concepts of "me," "what I want," what I don't want," etc. is the cause of suffering. This is samsara.
More here.

The Buddha also taught it is easier to make sandals than try to cover the earth with leather.
Trying to make the world fit your concepts never creates happiness. Rather, work with your own mind.

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Re: Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by Andrew108 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:05 pm

Do what you enjoy doing. The point of Buddhism is to look at the nature of your ordinary experiences. When you look closely enough there is a real beauty and value to just being in the world. How do experiences come and go? What are experiences made of? Is there an existant presence? Is there a real difference between being poor and being rich in terms of experience? There is much to know about experience. Please don't be destructive. You could miss your chance.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.

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Re: Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by deepbluehum » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:38 am

Buddha was damn selfish when he left his wife and child in the middle of the night to contemplate his navel. Doesn't get more selfish than that from a worldly standpoint. I have always looked at that to mean you do what you gotta do. If you have a mission or a vision you gotta pursue it no matter what it takes. If you don't want to conform, don't. Make your own world. You are not the only one thinking along these lines. That's what these forums are good for. I have so many friends with all degrees of success and the one thing they all have in common is that they hate it. Sure they act proud when it suits them and they judge others who are not like them, but they are seething and pacing with so much rage. It's pathetic. There's no reason to follow this example. There are ways to get financially situated without having to succumb to the grind. You have to use your smarts well. If you have a professional degree, if you handle your time well, if you can limit your material needs, you don't have to work that hard and you can do what you want.

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Re: Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by ground » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:24 am

Life is about thinking, wishing, hoping, fearing, wanting and doing until it ceases.


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Re: Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by Nemo » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:34 am

Selfish??? He could not save them from old age, suffering and death as a King. This broke his heart. So he went on the most powerful and selfless quest in history. To unravel the suffering of all sentient being in existence. But I do get your point that Mara would be whispering that it was a selfish decision.

So I feel much the same. Life in the hyper speed world of corporate capitalism sucks. It turns people into monsters. Exploiters and the mindless exploited consumers. Zombies on one side and vampires on the other.

I hope we can accumulate enough merit to go to a place of practice after death.

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Re: Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by seeker242 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:04 pm

However, I feel it doesn't matter what I do. I never will find my place in the world and I don't think I want to.
Do you have a meditation practice? My teacher and his teacher before him say this "When your mind is clear, your life and your direction also become clear"
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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Re: Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by undefineable » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:56 pm

Life is about doing (when) what you may not feel like doing right now in order to avoid experiencing any amount of unbearable and meaningless pain in the future; I understand that in pre-modern cultures, this is re-enforced via coming-of-age rituals.

Having said that, I'll hold back :o - It takes a guru to hack through any being's layers of dissatisfaction.

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Re: Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by odysseus » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:07 am

"Buddhism is only for those who are ruined by society!" -- Anonymous


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Re: Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by Rakz » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:59 pm

Life is about doing what you HAVE to do in order to live in other words taking care of all your responsibilities.

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Re: Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by dharmagoat » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:15 pm

odysseus wrote:"Buddhism is only for those who are ruined by society!" -- Anonymous

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Re: Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by Quiet Heart » Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:25 am

Oh dear.
O.K. I'll be kind then.
We all have to grow up sometime...and often that means learning that Life (the one with the big L) can be rough.
You can't always get it right...even though you may try hard....and sometimes good things are taken away from you by chance events.
I'm 66 years old now....and I've been married 3 times.
The first marriage was the one that was taken away from me by chance....lost a wife and an adopted daughter there.
The 2nd one turned out to be a mistake...ended by divorce.
The 3rd time has lasted 35 years....still going on....although it, like anything, has had it's good times as well as it's bad times.
That's just life experience.
Some Buddhists might call it "suffering" or dukka....but I just call it experience....way-stops on the path to understanding (I hope).
"Suffering" and "liberation" are just two sides of the same coin of "Life", like Heads and Tails.
But don't worry, if you don't understand exactly what I'm talking about will learn.
As the saying is....don't'll learn.
Good luck.
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach

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Re: Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:16 am

If you're miserable in a consumerist society, I think you may well be miserable in a self-sustaining hut in Greece.

I feel the only real difference is in the former, your mind has many more opportunities to project its own hatred and greed onto others. There's a reason the human realm is said to be ideal for attaining enlightenment. There's just enough bad to wake you up and annoy you, and just enough good to fathom things can be another way. Take advantage of this precious human life, the ideal situation in which to become free. Every negative thought is an opportunity. Every cruel, greedy person or loved one who hurts you is your greatest teacher.

We can't make our lives "just so". Even in perfect surroundings in a lovely society, the specters of illness, old age, and death will nevertheless gnaw your life away. That's why all of us are here. We found the Buddha's message rings true even an eon later and half a world away. And his advice is still helpful and wholesome.

I would say read some inspiring books (Thich Nhat Hanh has a gentle approach you may appreciate if you're upset), study and contemplate the dharma, speak with wise friends who care about you, and just relax :) Don't worry. Do your best where you are. What else is there to do?

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Re: Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by Kunga Lhadzom » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:59 am

I do things all the time that I don't want to do, because I have responsibilities, but it just makes the things I enjoy doing emensely more enjoyable ! I can't imagine doing only what I want to do ALL the time, but whenever I take the time to indulge in things I enjoy doing, I am emensely happy and at peace. I guess the happiness you experience, is from making others happy....(ancient Chinese wisdom) ?
The Universe flowing through my veins...stars falling from my eyes......

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Re: Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by viniketa » Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:31 am

Overcoming personal willfulness and submitting to a higher purpose is a common theme in most spiritual traditions and Buddhism is no exception in this regard. The major difference is that Buddhism does not encourage 'blind' submission. No matter your cultural and religious upbringing, at the point you understand the influences of parents and others in your past is the moment to leave behind blaming others for present difficulties and accepting responsibility for your own future.

How to function as a person dedicated to moral and ethical principles, in a world that places little to no value on such convictions, is also a common spiritual theme. Having said that, it is not easy maintaining the will to continue a moral and ethical life in an unethical, immoral, and indifferent world. One cannot grasp or cling to judgements of the world; accepting such conditions is most difficult. This is why refuge is such an important precept. In the West, where being a member of a local Sangha is not always practical, even 'virtual' contact with other Buddhists is essential in transforming what "you want" into what is needed for the benefit of all sentient beings. Practice and meditation, once abandoned, can be difficult to re-establish.

If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment

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Re: Is life about doing what you don't want?

Post by odysseus » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:30 pm

dharmagoat wrote:
odysseus wrote:"Buddhism is only for those who are ruined by society!" -- Anonymous
"Buddhism and meditation is all you need to live a cool life." -- The same person


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