What Are You Burdened With?

When I awoke this morning, I had this notion of suffering and burden in my consciousness. It seems to me that there is a lot of suffering and that many give off a very burdened vibe, they are weighed down by their life and their attitudes. People are generally heavy, not light and breezy. I typed “burdened” into a search engine and it pointed at this:

Matthew 11:28-30 King James Version (KJV)

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

When I first came upon Buddhist teachings the hardest thing to get my head around was this notion of suffering and it was only when I came upon suffering re-framed as dissatisfaction that I saw the truth of it. In addition to suffering because of ill-health, poverty and war, there is a whole lot of suffering which is “mind” generated. But most, like me, might be unwilling to frame it as suffering because it is “normal”. When I accepted the truth of suffering, a whole lot fell into place.

There is a great deal of dissatisfaction which is a milder statement than suffering but falls under the same umbrella. People are burdened with much, they are burdened with their emotions, their desires and their ambitions. They are burdened with expectations which do not fit reality. They are burdened with many unresolved things, there may be guilt, shame and a mass of things unrequited. And they are burdened with worry, lots of it. And there is a great mass of anger and resentment, which simmers away like lava in a volcano. Fear and anger are the dominant emotions on our planet. Many are burdened with fear and anxiety.

A glance at a tabloid newspaper will show how people cling on to the memories of dead people and let these dominate their lives. That theme of getting even and payback, can be found readily. And this kind of hard done by story, proliferates.

When we are burdened we might go to a priest for confession or a psychotherapist for counselling. These valves ease a little of the pressure though they may not get to the cause. The first step is to figure out what burdens you, to put a name to it and then figure out why it bugs you so very much.

Having cued this up and as an exercise:

What am I burdened with?

What am I dissatisfied with?

Make a list of all these things, all that stuff. Put a name to each of these.

Fixation of the Common Dream (Nightmare)

A Toltec might say that the Tonal of Man, is fixed and getting ever more fixated. It simply will not budge. All one might hope for is that a few individuals might see this for themselves and then start to loosen that Tonal {in a personal sense} so that they might experience a wider reality. Make no mistake that concrete Tonal is reinforced with steel bars, carbon fibre rods and graphene nanotube composites. It will take a hell of a lot to even get it to flex a little. We may collide beams of hadrons together at TeV energies, build sophisticated laser interferometers to “listen” to neutron starts colliding, and send billion-dollar telescopes into space, but there is one simple frontier which we fail to address. That frontier is inner space, it is perhaps less glamorous and won’t win you any prizes. But surely this frontier needs looked at before humanity descends further into its fatuous obsession with self-image and all the attendant miseries associated?

We have a world in which someone may go on a meditation or yoga retreat and then simply cannot wait to upload images to their social media, a world in which plastic tits and knifed up lips or noses are seen as desirable. A world in which a fucking selfie with a “star” is an epitome, a highlight. We have people eating themselves to death, whilst others starve. We have a world where stuff is more important than substance. That image obsession, how it rules. Of all the impermanent things, all the conditioned things in the universe, this is our new pantheon of deity; image, brand, made up shit. How we worship all these imaginings! There is no need for a gilded calf, there is just fantasy worshipped by megapixel count.

My guess is that humanity has to fall all the way around the u-bend of this image fixation until such time as big pharma can no longer supply enough happy pills to keep the world away from the noose or the razor blade. This illusion, this glamour, this “celebrity” is all more than a little sad. We have become paper tigers prowling in a fantasy-forest, and we fail to realise just how fragile we are.

Whilst our eyes are turned outward, to space or to image, we get sicker and more unhappy. All the shiny technology in the world cannot sate an inner hunger, an inner thirst or an inner melancholy. It might displace the misery for a while, but it comes back like a spring tide. All that being busy and rushing around, it never addresses anything.

“Look at me I am such a success! Look at me!”

“Pray tell, why then are you so tense and miserable?”

Until such time as humanity understands its corporeal observational instrument a whole lot better, there will be suffering and angst. But no, we can’t look there, it is too scary, too real, too risky. I know let’s upload some inane photos onto the internet, that’ll do it!

The inner space is the new frontier, it is here, and the monetary cost of its exploration is small. It is so obvious, so simple and so easy to miss. People generally prefer the grandiose to the simple. Which in itself, speaks volumes.

The Fixation of the Common Dream (Nightmare) gets ever stronger. Maybe one day, humanity will seek to wake up from this self-created nightmare and smell the coffee?

Detachment and Controlled Folly

Most people are concerned about what happens, they have a whole bunch of stuff that is somehow important to them; their reputation, their material goods, their sanity, et alia. The loss of any of this stuff would upset them and they are fearful of losing it. One could say that they are attached to it. It causes them suffering, thereby. People are attached to living. It is inconceivable that anyone else might have few if any attachments. They imagine that all beings can be leveraged via their attachments. It is a common belief that people are concerned about what happens to them and how they are perceived by others. There are many “social” attachments.

We do not live in a world of absolutes, so to be absolutely detached is unlikely. But to have so few attachments as to appear completely detached is possible. For example, I have written ~300 posts here and would think nothing of trashing it. There are many things that I am way less attached to than most. I care much less about what happens to me than most people do. I am a bit fatalistic about my health for example. When the man with the scythe comes, so be it. I am not depressed, I am detached. I worry a lot less than most people. I know that I can endure all sorts of things.

By using comparison mind many have a scale of importance in regard of their attachments. But in a universe pervaded by the whims of power, no one thing is any more important than another. So why be attached in rank order? Such a thing is folly. If one is detached one interacts with the world through controlled folly. I have observed that this detachment freaks people out. They want you to be attached so that they can “manage” you. And when you don’t give attachment signals they are freaked. If they try to leverage, one yields, maybe an arm comes off or something like that. Somehow people sense this non-attachment and it sets you apart.

For whatever reason people want you to buy-in to whatever drama is important to them. Failure of buy-in leaves people nonplussed.

There is a bit of a problem with detachment however. If you have no ambitions and few needs or desires, you do not appear “passionate” to others. Which means that some emotional crap is missing, and they can fail to get excited by the deadpan. Where you are at, is different from most other people. This detachment means that there is little or no striving. It is pretty hard to interact with a world whose pillars, whose basis, you no longer share. Which means it isn’t obvious what to do with the rest of your life.

One might be useful, but because one has no levers, people are fearful of interacting with you.


Entitlement and Suffering

Entitlement is a close but more extreme relative of expectation and has taking things for granted as a constituent. If one is entitled then the universe (and other people), must grant your every wish. Somehow one has accrued the right to deserve whatever it is you may want. One expects even demands that the entitlement is fulfilled. It is related to wanting to have life on your own terms, but again a more extreme version thereof.

There are two poles to entitlement, one is what you expect for yourself and the other is what you inflict upon others, both cause suffering.

Entitlement can stem from upbringing, some may be born that way, they may believe that they are owed by the universe, by God even. Needless to say, if the rare and otherwise impossible situation arises when expectation isn’t met, suffering follows. People can feel angry, sulky, hard-done-by, frustrated, exasperated and all it-is-not fair-mummy. If there is a strong sense of entitlement, people can feel the urge to share of their mood. They might kick the cat or vent at the nearest person. When entitlements aren’t met, resentment follows. And this can brew and fester for a long time.

When one has this sense, it is their divine right to inflict their will on others. They can inflict their frustration as above. They may believe that they are due high position and power, thereby justifying whatever means is needed to secure this. Along the way they may cut corners, it doesn’t matter because all they are doing is securing that which they were entitled to in the first place. They can be manipulative to secure that which they are entitled to. It is all “justifiable”.

People can feel entitled to all kinds of things, praise, money, happiness, position, love, sex and of course attention. When these don’t materialise at the waving of a wand, disappointment and suffering ensues. Sometimes people feel entitled simply to take without asking.

Once you let go of entitlement, suffering reduces. This sense of entitlement runs deep and is hidden under a whole bunch of other stuff.  It may be quite tricky to even lessen it a little. To an extent we all have some entitlement issues, otherwise we would never feel victimized. It is entirely human to feel hard done by at least once in life and that the universe or fate has it in for us. No human is ever entirely without at least some resentment, some have it in spades. It is possible that people carry a whole quiver full of grudges the length of days.

In my own recapitulation I found the themes of entitlement and resentment fertile for examination. They led to some murky places, rich with learning. Until one can let go of these there is suffering. Sometimes life is just like it is and nothing can be done about it, there is no need to get sulky or het up.

As an exercise:

Do I have a sense of entitlement, strong or otherwise?

What is my basis for feeling owed by the universe?

Do I have resentment?

What do I resent?

Why do I resent these?