Back to Basic
Because of our big ego, everything becomes a big deal to us and we take life so seriously - making everything so miserable for ourselves and others. Since our problems look so big, we look for a big and complicated solution. However complicated our problems may seem, they are all fundamentally rooted in our artificially created and inflated ego. The real solution is actually simple and straightforward.
Everything is fundamentally impermanent, unsatisfactory, insubstantial and empty. But we do not see these basic facts of our existence, as our ego creates intricate web of delusions and clouds our minds. Because of this ignorance, we foolishly go around and around, and continue to fight a losing battle with the basic realities of life. It is just a matter of seeing through our basic ignorance by developing clear mindfulness.
Our ego is "conditioned" — the more we indulge, the more we strengthen it and it becomes habituated. This is the root of all our cravings, addictions and habitual patterns. This is how we become a slave. This is how we continue to strengthen our ego and get trapped in our own delusions. We think that we can satisfy our cravings and desires, and that would lead to happiness. But all we get is a fleeting pleasure, leaving us feeling empty and more addicted. But with our ignorance, we continue to work hard to chase after those fleeting pleasures, making ourselves ever more miserable.
Sometimes we do recognize the problems of our addictions and cravings. But when we fight them (we do so from the place of our ego), we give them even more power and so we fail again and again. It takes cultivating clear mindfulness and discipline to find a proper middle way between not indulging and not suppressing — to come out of this vicious cycle.
When we look at the history properly, we can see how the so-called successful people often fail miserably when comes to simple peace and joy in their life. Their wealth, fame and power do not seem to help them. So many religious leaders and figures preach others. Yet they harm themselves and others. So many spiritual teachers even from wisdom based traditions fail badly at the very basic level of NOT harming oneself and others. In the end, their deep faith or wise teachings or so many esoteric rituals and practices do not seem to help them.
It is important to reflect on this and recognize the futility of not only pursuing prestige, status and pleasures, but also most of the religious and spiritual teachings, rituals and practices. Our happiness and well-being simply depends on coming back to the basic and looking at our everyday life and developing few simple basic discipline towards peace and joy.
Simple Basic Discipline
No Harm: First and foremost commitment: NOT harming oneself and others - physically or mentally.
Mindfulness: Cultivating mindfulness to get know our mind and our life intimately - so we clearly know our problems (what brings happiness and what brings suffering) and we can skillfully handle them.
Everyday Life Discipline: Developing proper discipline to take care of all the details of our life: eating, resting, sleeping, working, exercise, meditation, etc. Working with our everyday life issues (small or big) and our basic neuroses in a simple, direct and straightforward way.
Relax and Enjoy: Honoring life, but not taking it so seriously. Learning to relax, accept and let go.