I watched TV for a few hours recently.
This may not sound like a big deal, but actually I don’t have a TV so I never do this.
It was an eye opener. I haven’t seen an advert in months. I wanted to buy everything.
Every single advert seemed to be created just for me. Yes I want some coloured pens! Yes I want whiter teeth! Yes I want a car that expresses my individuality! And I also want one that stops by itself to avoid collisions! I want 2 cars! At least!
Then I realised that, while the adverts are really obviously stimulating my craving for new stuff, actually I’m in this mode all the time.
I read a book on personal development and think ‘Yes, this will make me happier!’
I read a blog post on building a business and think the same thing.
Then I find out about a new system for organising my ‘to do’ list. This will shave 5 minutes of my chores!
Life is full of opportunities for improving life. I’ve implemented so many of these things, by now my life should be truly incredible.
Weirdly though, it’s just an average life. Even with all the Buddhist practice!
All the chanting and waving of incense. All the silence and meditation. All the study. All the complementary therapies.
Here we are, right now, alive. Pretty much the same as everyone else. And just like everyone else, we are aging. We will get sick. We will die.
There’s no getting away from it. The new car won’t help you escape, nor will a new mantra.
So here we are, being with what is. Without toothpaste, without a coloured pen or a car. Simply here, experiencing what we experience. This is life.
Suffering and joy will come and go. Life will come and go. There is no life hack that will change that. If you haven’t cracked it yet, it doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong (it just means you’re alive).