When I come back from my trip through south east Asia I do not know what I am going to do. I am aimless and I think that this is a good thing. Some people I know, they are running from one thing to the next. Before they have finished a job or a journey they are already preparing for the next. Before they find courage to quit somewhere they have already found some other place to prove themselves useful. Just something to work on. It is called zeal or ambition and it is highly valued in societies of today.
There is little allowance for or understanding of bardos. Bardos are in-between states. Moratorium states of being suspended in vacuum without any plan for the future. Can you even imagine that? It implies being nobody. Scary, yes. In industrialised countries most of the people want to be or become somebody. So they count these bardos as lost time, wasted time. What they don’t see is that it is them who are wasting time in the sense that more often than not it is only the unbearable aimlessness they are trying to evade. To allow aimlessness is to open the heart to that particular part of life which renders you (and me, of course) vulnerable and which shows you what you are and what you are not. It also reveals what is important and what is not important. Gets the personal value system straightened out. Once you admit that you have no idea at all what to do the mind becomes extremely alert. You start to explore what is there. Try it for yourself! It is the prime way to discover why all the people are getting so utterly confused when there is nothing nothing nothing to do. So lonely when there is no one to confirm their existence. So anxious to perform, to be good, to prove themselves. No other animal in nature’s kingdom creates problems out of thin air – or should i say thoughts?
Maybe this is finally one thing that really makes us unique in the animal realm. Only human desirelings are so afraid to be a failure or at least not a success. We want to be respected for our deeds. We crave for accomplishment but mostly insofar others take notice of it. Many things we only do for the applause we might get. Take money, for example. Do you think you need so much money to survive? Isn’t the main purpose of having a lucrative position or role in society that you feel good about yourself, you feel smart. With money comes prestige. Prestige and privilege go hand-in-hand. This is what counts for the majority because the majority lives life in a very superficial way. Whoever is rational, clever, and ambitious does something to get something: gain, fame, praise, pleasure. We are the species that thinks – and believes 100 % in this thought – that we need to do something with our lives. If not for ourselves then at least in the eyes of others we would like to have our self-image confirmed and appreciated. This is such a hassle. It takes up so much energy. All that wanting to be someone. Do I care for becoming someone who lives decades and decades doing little else than earning and spending money? No. But too many people still believe that there is no other game in town. And the more people are running for that gold the more difficult it is to withstand and investigate the meaning and purpose and to go against the stream. Hence the tiredness and exhaustion on both individual and collective level of humankind. Good there is some scotch to take the edge off. Great to have a spliff to relax. And so on and so on.
If only there was someone who knew to give guidance on what is important! Parents, peers, teachers, friends. But we are all the same. Living in a boat without a rudder. Drifting along aimlessly. Trying to avoid meaningless moments like hell. There seems to be no end of looking for the next thing the next job the next movie that entertains and frees us from boredom, from ennui. Where does that ennui come from, exactly? How come there is this hole after a project is finished? A project like ‘school’ or ‘studies’ or ‘job’ or ‘travels’. It pains me to see even children become bored pretty soon.
It is hard to find someone with whom to share a silent moment without an awkward feeling these days. The need to talk is so powerful and yet, where does most of this exchange of words and phrases lead to? Does it lead to peace? As mentioned before, we are all drifting along without control although many think they are in control. Therefore, most of human speech is equally full of aimlessness. Just comparing this opinion against that opinion, this thought with that thought. Good enough. But hardly worth getting upset because we don’t agree with him or because she sees it differently, because he said this or she wrote that. If we could only find purpose in life we could easily put all these superficial conflicts to rest. Maybe we are here to accept that whatever we do ‘with’ life, i.e. whatever we think we accomplish during the short time we are given, our primary task is the same as that of our ancestors: to help one another carry with dignity the burden of becoming a human being in the full sense, of moving on the same drifting blue planet, of breathing the same air, and of knowing that from the moment of birth the moment of death is at the doorstep. Let’s help one another on the way… make it much easier… just a little bit easier. So. When you have finished reading this, smile when you see the next person, please. Smile for no reason. Or simply because you remember: We are here now, sitting in the same boat, drifting along, looking for a way out, and there is one exit for all of us. Once we drop our own storyline, that is, the moment we cut the ‘my’ from ‘my life’, we see the realness of others. From there it is relatively easy to let go of agendas and to appreciate aimlessness. Much joy arises from being able to accept insecurity. Relaxing into the unknown brings a lot of peace. We will suffer and we’ll be alright. We are superstars and we are full of fear. Like Pema Chödrön says: We are walking, talking paradoxes.