Life Lived Right, Personal Reflections

The Weariness of a Life Lived “Right”

I have no illusions that I am living my life “right.”  I am suscepitble to all manner of selfishness, pettiness, self-centeredness, and “victimhood.”  I get angry too easily, resentful too quickly, and hurt too readily.  I get frustrated that I am not the center of everyone else’s world, and that my feelings are not the primary focus of those around me. I get frustrated by silly little problems (a broken lock on the office bathroom door), and feel put-upon by all the “big issues” I have to address.

But I do try.

In my embracing of the Buddhist path I do (at least intellectually) understand that all the above described feelings are the result of attachment.  That, in essence, all of this suffering is the result of my desire for a perfect, unending, joy.  That when I engage and indulge my selfishness, I am merely feeding this desire for things to be other than they are, and other than the can ever possibly be.

Further, in embracing the Buddhist path I do understand, and deeply believe, that the solution to this sufferring is continuing to follow the path and the practice of zazen.  In sum, “I get it!”  That is, at least, intellectually.

Oftentimes, however, this understanding and practice eludes me.  My mind, and my desire for love, respect, and adulation beccome a storm that sweeps me up.  I get lost in the feeling, “I’m really trying…  shouldn’t I get some material reward?  Shouldn’t I get some acknowledgement, some praise, some… well, something.”  Again, intellectually, I know that none of those desires, if satisfied, will actually satisfy me.  Like my daughter I will ask for “one more….”  I know that any acknowledgement I get will be insufficiently sincere (in my eyes) to quench the thirst, any praise incomplete, and any “something” just not enough.  But, my understanding alone, heartfelt as it may be, can’t lessen the tornado of desire.  Like my desire for the latest electronic gizmo, getting it it will not make my life perfect and will not sate my thirst.

So, where does that leave me?  Still suffering as I sit in meditation, still suffering as I study the path.  Still disappointed that the world doesn’t bow to my “needs.” Still thirsty for more and still battered by the storm of my desires.  Mindfulness eluding me.

I do know that this storm will pass.  Like all things, as long as I continue on the path, as long as I don’t indulge and wallow in this thirst, as long as I stay in the moment (to the extent I can), it will eventually cease.

But some days I feel weary, and some days feel harder than others…

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Discussion

17 thoughts on “The Weariness of a Life Lived “Right”

  1. I love it! I have heard people tell me before, “If you’re not happy with what you have, you won’t be happy with what you get.” I am always striving for something more physically. Whether it is a new tattoo, the latest technology, a girl I am pursuing, or that new job, I essentially put all my eggs in one basket. I think to myself that if this one thing would just go MY WAY, I would be happy!

    I agree that it is desire and attachment. I can be attached to getting a new job without even doing a job hunt or interviewing. I make up stories in my head, positive and negative, and am often dis-eased when things do not go according to my plan.

    I feel like I am always looking for something more, and I have felt like that since I was a child. I am learning to take that in a spiritual aspect. When I feel like spending a lot of money on something I don’t need, I turn to mindfulness as often as I am able to. I slowly am learning that these things do not truly make me happy! My mind slips sometimes, and I act impulsively, and I suffer, and I wallow. But my experience tells me that I ALWAYS come out of it stronger if I choose to.

    Thanks for the great post! Long comment but I loved the post really got me thinking!

    Posted by The Easier Softer Way | May 23, 2011, 2:49 pm
    • Wow, thank you for such a well considered comment.

      This specific area of desire and attachment is my biggest battle. I’m really enjoying your thoughts, both here and on your own blog!

      Posted by The Habituated Buddhist | May 23, 2011, 3:05 pm
      • Thank you. I truly enjoy your thoughts and as The Mindful Feast says below, I am impressed with your ability to express the journey. I find myself reading your posts thinking…”Wait…Did I write this or can he read my mind.” Im grateful there are others that share the journey and I find it a wonderful resource.

        Posted by The Easier Softer Way | May 24, 2011, 7:58 pm
  2. Your post reminds me of the story about the night the Buddha attained enlightenment. Remember how he was pelted with desire, aversion, terror — everything! You’re in good company.

    Once again, as I read what you write, I’m struck by how well you express what we’re all working with.

    Posted by The Mindful Feast | May 23, 2011, 5:49 pm
    • Wow… that is extremely flattering, and wow… I am so complimented. Thank you.

      To be fair, if it sounds at al like the Buddha’s story its because the Buddha’s tale really is all of our story…

      Thank you very much for your comment… I take great solace in the fact that others like yourself share these feelings.

      Posted by The Habituated Buddhist | May 23, 2011, 6:39 pm
  3. I must be honest with you when I say I know absolutely nothing about Buddhism. However, the things you’ve posted have made me want to learn about it.
    This post particularly spoke to me. When you said, ” I am merely feeding this desire for things to be other than they are, and other than the can ever possibly be.” it really made me think. It’s just so true. We are frustrated because things aren’t the way we expect them to be exactly when we need them.
    Today, for instance, I went to get my hair cut and upon arriving at the barbershop I found there to be quite a line. At first I was a bit irritated and then I thought to myself, “Why be irritated over this? I guess I just wasn’t suppose to get it cut today after all.” I know it seems trivial, but it’s just a thought.
    Good post, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    Posted by Dan | May 25, 2011, 8:07 pm
    • Thank you for your comment.

      No, I don’t think your example was trivial. In fact, I’d say that recognition of your irritation, recognizing the source, and (most importantly) seeing that you need not feel that way is perhaps the one of the important truths you can learn.

      Personally, I caution one from concluding “I just wasn’t suppose to get it cut today after all.” Perhaps you were, perhaps not…. either way, why should you be irritated?

      Posted by The Habituated Buddhist | May 25, 2011, 8:47 pm
  4. While we do walk along different paths, I share much of your experience and appreciate how you articulated them. So well said. So true.

    Posted by Debby | May 26, 2011, 10:47 am
  5. Thank you for your comment. I hope we can continue our dialog in the future.

    Posted by The Habituated Buddhist | May 26, 2011, 11:02 am
  6. Wonderful post! Well-written and totally honest.

    Posted by nothingprofound | May 29, 2011, 12:00 pm
  7. Hey I like the new layout!!!! Lookin forward to good things to come!

    Posted by The Easier Softer Way | May 29, 2011, 2:35 pm
  8. It may sound lame to agree with the above comments and not write it out myself. But why bother with perfection? 🙂

    You do express yourself well. Your journey is the ‘everyperson’s’ journey yet expressed in a simple, deep way…that most of us cannot state as well.

    A moment of mindfulness..can be an eon.

    I am glad we (all who have shared or have read and not shared their thoughts) share this journey. Thanks for another lovely post.

    Posted by Debra | June 9, 2011, 7:44 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: A Thought from The Habituated Buddhist | The Easier Softer Way - May 23, 2011

  2. Pingback: The Hubris of a Life Lived “Right” « The Habituated Buddhist - June 3, 2011

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