Friday, February 15, 2008

The Way Things Really Are

We are surrounded by forces telling us what to desire and feel. We are taught to chase after things. Hold on to things. Things that can make us "happy". Things that can satisfy "thirst". But all too often these things result in our suffering. Why is that?

The answer to this is actually really simple. It is the pursuit of self (ego) and our attachment to objects that gives rise to suffering.

Let me illustrate with a story.

Back in my school days we used to occasionally do presentations in front of our teachers and peers. I remember in elementary school it was generally easy for me to do them. I wasn't nervous. It was just like having a conversation. But in high school the presentations started becoming more nerve wracking. For some reason I had developed a serious case of "stage fright" presenting in class. It was odd because in elementary school I breezed through them. So what changed?

What changed was my view towards presenting, brought on by the increased expectations at school. For instance, it became more “important” to do well in school. There was more “competition”. “Screwing up” was less acceptable. Grades were more important. The stakes were higher, etc. Furthermore, the people at school were saying that it’s normal to be nervous during presentations. So here you have a situation where you are taught to respond a certain way and then told that your response is normal.

If the issue had never come up and if the burden of expectations were never felt then I would never have been nervous. It would never have occurred to me to feel anxiety, simply because there would have been no attachment. And ironically, I would have done better anyway.

To illustrate with another example, consider how men are taught from a young age that it's important to have women in their lives. And if they don’t they will be unhappy, unfulfilled, less of a man, etc. Many men take this to heart and go through tremendous effort to have women in their lives. For years I was one of those guys. I made getting-women a part of my identity. It was absolutely necessary for me to have women to be happy. I saw this pattern in many men and it reinforced my belief at the time.

Unfortunately, it was doing me more harm than good but I had no idea why at the time.

Fortunately, my eyes were opened when I discovered that there were men who were happy even without women in their lives. They didn't chase women, or avoid them. And things happened naturally for them. I was forced to re-examine the situation and eventually I realized for myself, that you can be happy without women. It became my new reality.

So imagine how much control you truly have. You only have to realize certain things to make them true. Mind over matter. All this stuff in my head about needing women was programmed in me as being true. So once I re-programmed myself to not need women anymore then that became true in its place - and with a much better result. I became much happier. And naturally it led me to wonder what else you can detach from which some may currently believe to be difficult. Are you trying to quit smoking? Are you of the belief that it's difficult to quit because the "experts" tell you it is? I can tell you that if men can stop desiring women then you can stop smoking just by choosing to.

Can you live without your Blackberry?

Can you live without your IPOD?

Many people would say No. But wasn't there a time when these things weren't around? And is it reasonable to assume they were unhappier? I think not.

Don't be afraid of letting go of desires. If you don't then you may very well find yourself a victim of them.

This is not an abstract or unnatural thing to undertake. In fact, it's completely logical. It just means understanding the nature of desire and how it relates to your sense of self (ego).

Realize that when you chase after something, chances are you are doing it to reinforce your sense of self. And as it often happens, you get caught up in the chasing part of it. And even if you do get what you wanted, the urge to chase is still there. You may want something else, or something better. And that something may be just as fleeting as this thing you have, having no value except that which you have given it or which others have given it - all subject to change, and non-constant. It's like trying to hold on to the wind. Does it make sense to do that?

Why grasp at something which has such fleeting, intangible value? It cannot, and never will live up to your expectations, and that will unavoidably cause you grief.

Many men chase after "beautiful" women - women who spend hours on makeup and clothes - which must be "re-applied" on a regular basis. So much energy chasing after an illusion. Where is the logic in that? And then there’s chasing after sex, knowing that the activity of sex doesn't remove the desire for it. Where is the rationale?

Many women also fruitlessly grasp at things. They pursue "relationships" in order to affirm their ability to “keep a man”. They sometimes withhold sex to achieve that goal. And they are often not able to enjoy sex because they are too concerned that he may leave after - an example of not living the moment.

Actually, both men and women are often not living the moment when it comes to sex and dating. They are too caught up in a consumer mentality and it makes them miserable in the long run.

Enjoying the moment means enjoying the process, which means you don't care about the destination. When you live the moment there is no association between where you are and where you want to be. You are truly relaxed and enjoying yourself.

When you're living the moment your actions come from inside you and you are not preoccupied with results. It’s good to extend this mentality to your lifestyle, the friends you make, your livelihood, etc.

Avoid the common trap of being happy and wanting something that can make you happier. What can happen is that the desire to be happier can consume your thoughts. And in that instant you are less happy than before. Let that realization hit you like a bolt of lightning.

It's wise to develop a strong sense of awareness and be mindful of how you do things and react to things. How are your thoughts and actions affected? How does that relate to your sense of self (ego)?

Make your thoughts and actions congruent. For instance, don't tell yourself to be indifferent towards women and then go to a bar to "pick up". Don't tell yourself that you don't care whether you have sex or not and then take her out to an expensive dinner, or read up on "seduction". Your thoughts and actions must be congruent or you will have inner conflict.

Think of your thoughts and actions in terms of suffering and happiness, not just your suffering, but others as well. Follow the wholesome (happy) path and avoid the path that leads to suffering. It may take wisdom to differentiate between the two so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time.


Anonymous said...

"Make your thoughts and actions congruent. For instance, don't tell yourself to be indifferent towards women and then go to a bar to "pick up". Don't tell yourself that you don't care whether you have sex or not and then take her out to an expensive dinner, or read up on "seduction". Your thoughts and actions must be congruent or you will have inner conflict."

I see where you are going here but I think "being unattached" and "being desireless" are two different things.

to me, having Sex with an intimate partner whom we share a connection with is very beneficial spiritually . I do not need sex but I definitely desire it. I will not die If I dont have it (like food/water) but I will feel better.

The key is to be unattached and indifferent to the outcome. I am very straightforward, upfront and honest about my desires, intention and interests with women but I am not attached to her response or the result of us getting together or not. there are plenty of fish out there so it is absurd to be attached to a certain woman we just met. Nice guys get frustrated because they have expectations that are not going to me met most of the time. they think that wining and dining should get them laid.

being indifferent and unattached means having no expectations at all, like bruce lee says a goal is just something to aim at, the process is what's more important.

so in other words, taking action and honestly expressing my self is real success to me whether I get the girl or not. conveying my sexual interest to a women is honestly expressing myself.

I think that you are taking it to the extreme where you want to remove all sexual desires and live like a monk. I do not think this is healthy because you can only know yourself deep down and examine your life better when you interact with people than when you are alone in your life.

check out modeone:let the women know what you'r really thinking.

Anonymous said...

Being alone does not mean being lonely. Two different things.