I would like to say something about Versäumnisangst, i.e. the anxiety of missing out on some (special) experience, be that what it may. At one time I leave one place although I’d like to stay. Another time I’d like to go someplace but can’t for whatever reasons. Then there comes a time I leave someone with whom I’d like to spend more time. Generally, there are far too many places to explore for a limited human lifetime. A myriad of exquisite mind states all passing away as soon as ego comes into play. I also write about this topic because i notice how many people are caught in the hurry-worry-flurry of ‘what’s next?’ And i write because i would like to remind y’all of Revolver, Brazil, Matrix, Samsara, Fight Club, Angel Heart, Donnie Darko, Fear&Loathing…
First of all, we agree upon the fact that all sensual experience arises, changes, passes away. If it leads to more attachment, it will lead to more dukkha. Therefore, ascetic ways encourage us to practice renunciation. The way I understand renunciation: I refrain from doing something so i won’t even get a tiny lil taste of that piece of chocolate (yes, it refers to what you think it does). Thence, I simply do not know what I miss. In this sense, ignorance is bliss.
The power of money, sex, fame etc. will only be revealed when you (have to) do without them for a period of time. By refraining from pursuing these things you make the experience of dealing without them. By learning how it is not to possess something, you learn how possessed you are. Don’t get me wrong. Nothing wrong about getting what you want. I am not implying that there is anything evil about fulfilling your desires. Do it, but be realistic about the extent to which this can make you happy. Become aware at your own pace that the path to contentment and happiness is a different path altogether.
Wanting anything, no matter what it is, makes it difficult to act as an ethical human being. Instead, one is prone to react to one’s longings, thus becoming the slave of one’s desires. Simply because without wise attention there will be ignorance regarding the moment of contact. And that is what is being missed, overlooked, denied or ignored by the majority of humankind. It is because most of us miss that crucial point of paying attention, i.e. being present for that moment of contact, that we get attached to forms, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts. With this attachment we get entangled in becoming or giving birth to a self. The belief in a self entails further thinking about itself, further speaking and acting in a selfish way. ‘Self’ is actually an activity that starts as soon as I wake up in the morning. So let’s make it a verb. Selfing is dukkha, so we are dukkha-ing ourselves.
A corrupted mind plays a thousand tricks. This trickster lures me into believing I am missing this or that, and hell yeah, that I am gonna get it! Sometimes I even think I already got it. It bullshits me into thinking I am on the right track (or just ‘right’). It bullshits you into believing you’re ready to become a spiritual superhero. Superhero, my ass! The harder you try, the less you are getting it. Because it’s about getting RID of, it’s about letting go. If one is trying hard to ‘get it’ (whatever!) or to ‘find oneself’ then there is gonna be trouble. And people of the Taker culture usually try very hard.
I don’t really know what to call this phenomenon – maybe ‘super-compensation’? It has to do with my impression that many a times people come across some new religious belief system there is a tendency to overdo it and to be zealous and eager to proselytise others. It happens with Christianity in Africa. It happens with Buddhism in the industrialised countries. The whole idea of righteousness and the fussing and fighting around it pops up. If only we would be able to take a step back and watch our own efforts to get better at everything, even getting better at being human, then we might actually understand what the ancient Taoist masters mean by reminding us not to take it so seriously. Not to try so hard.