Back to Basic

Because of our big ego, everything becomes a big deal to us and we take life so seriously - making ourselves miserable. So our problems look big and 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. Hence the real solution is actually simple and straightforward. It is just a matter of learning to relax and let go.

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated" -- Confucius

Everything is fundamentally impermanent, unsatisfactory, insubstantial, ego-less and empty. But we do not see through this basic facts of our existence (three marks of 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" - genetically and experientially. This is the natural law of karma. 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 -- "It kisses first, then betrays!". But with our ignorance, we continue to work hard to chase after those fleeting pleasures, making ourselves miserable.

In some cases, 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 failed miserably when comes to peace and joy in their life. They had wealth, fame and power; they had all luxuries and sensual pleasures available to them. Yet they lost peace, joy and satisfaction in their life. So many religious leaders and figures preached others. Yet they harmed themselves and others. So many spiritual teachers and gurus even from wisdom based traditions badly failed at the very basic level of NOT harming oneself and others. In the end, their deep and wise teachings or so many esoteric rituals and practices did not seem to help them.

It is important to reflect on this and recognize the futility of pursuing wealth, fame, power, sensual pleasures or even religious/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, mentally, verbally, sexually or psychologically).
  • 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 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 -- with total openness -- and without any rationalization and assumption. Focusing first on the simple, small and gross problems.
  • Relax and Enjoy: Honoring life, but not taking it so serious. Learning to relax, accept and let go.

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CK. Kamaraj
3 July 2018