edge of life

The Art of Treating the Job Search as Sacred

It’s a new life.

It’s your last chance to make your mother and father proud.

impossibleHidden away, in a field of empty chairs, we close our eyes and think of any way out of this swamp that we’ll sink into as soon as we step off the chair.  We will not see the light of the free world until we become unearthed by wolves, or deer, or the life under the soil.  We cannot see a light anymore.

I, this body, this mind, this sentience, am in a job or career search that I neither understand, nor find a sense of salvation or answers through.  The days can be troubling, with many ideas coming through my mind.  I kid myself at times with it all.  I tell myself that I’ll get a really comfortable life for myself; ya know, the sort with motorised transport and regularity and wearing smart clothes and with a lover and stuff.  Then, I question whether this is actually what I want, at all.  I remember over and over that I told Skanda Vale that I’d be back soon, and 6 weeks later and I’m still not back and probably won’t be back for some months.  I think back to my time at Chateau Anand a huge amount, maybe as it was this time last year that I was first settling in to my 2-month stay there.  I get myself a little confused over not quite understanding what is going on for me right now.  But, all this is leading to something big, something really big.

Almost 18 months ago, I wrote about my dissertation becoming a sacred experience.  It had become a daily meditation, and a daily focus for much of my energy.  Through it, I rekindled a loving relationship with my home area, and found some long-standing roots.  And through it, I found a way to truly love something that was being created by my own creativity.  Now I am sitting here, having been on a computer for much of the last few days looking for jobs and even doing the absolute worst, lowest-paid jobs I can imagine is even possible, and I’m going to tell you all that it is a sacred experience.  Because, well, there’s nothing else but the sacredness of this whole unravelling.

Unlike the Sacred Dissertations writing, this writing has been hugely inspired by quotes that I have read from Henry David Thoreau.  There’ll be four sections, for how I feel, somewhere deep inside this whole existence, that whatever is going on now is to be treated as a temple, as a water droplet landing on the forehead, as a fawn opening its eyes for its first time.  It is all beautiful, it all is boundlessly beautiful.

The Stag who lived forever. Full story here: http://www.storywarren.com/the-stag-who-lived-forever/

The Stag who lived forever. Full story here: http://www.storywarren.com/the-stag-who-lived-forever/

#1 Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.

The work is as much a part of you as the word, the friend, the eyes and the spirit.  It is where the energy of life is going, the prana, creative lifeforce, and it is the deepest connection with the earth beneath and around us that we are communicating in working this energy.

Truth.  What can be truth, when we have to sell ourselves all the time, and pray that we get this or that job because we just need to be able to get some money to pay for the bills for the things that we don’t really need but, really, we do need?

Truth is beyond selling ourselves.  It’s perhaps the biggest, hardest, thing I’ve had to do in a long, long time.  I’m going to have to shave very soon, and wear clothes to conform.  The construction work that I’d hoped for, if all fell through with teaching-related stuff, is out-of-the-question until I get a CSCS card, which I’d have to wait until November for.  So here’s my future.  My beard will be trimmed, hair tidied, and I will play it all on the superficial for a while.  I will sell myself as a commodity, as something that can be looked at and judged by my very cover.  My cover.

Truth is knowing that something deeper is going on here.  Just as in Buddhism it is so important to base oneself around the ‘non-self’ philosophy – we are not really ourselves, there is no permanent ‘self’ there, it’s all a fabrication and illusory and no matter how much we try to claim that we are something in particular we really aren’t – in general truthfulness there is a knowledge that experience is beyond the facade.  We are not this job or that job, or even this body that we are needing to sell for a while.  We are something deeper, beyond appearances or statements.  And that deeper experience of what we are comes different for every single person.  For me, I scream louder than anything around, over and over and over, and that is freedom of what is me.  And I will keep doing this, no matter if I am freshly shaved and in a penguin suit, or not.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, ‘Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth’.  This brings tears down my face, as I remember also in Into The Wild this being uttered, and I remember my brother basing his life some years ago upon words like these….wanting so, so much more than is offered in any way by the society that is around us.  That is what is to be lived for.  Truth.

truth

#2 Be yourself, not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.

When we have to sell ourselves so much, and give up so much of what we have perhaps stood for for quite some time, we can feel like we’ve become an idea of someone else’s creation.
Society’s creation,
The Man,
The bloody illuminati,
The mainstream MTV conformists,
God.

God made us what we are.  God is creation.  And creation is within you.  You are creative, you have the unbelievable, indefinable, and unpredictable nature to be creative.  And so you hold the creation within you.  And so you hold God within you.  And so you are made by what is within you.

In Buddhism, there’s the interesting idea of tṛṣṇā.  Tṛṣṇā is craving.  But it is a craving that exists before any conceptualisation of a body, of a physical essence.  It is through tṛṣṇā that karma is born.  The craving for something that needs to be resolves.  Without tṛṣṇā, nothing ever existed.  It is the tṛṣṇā, the unconditional and boundless craving, that creates the existence of all matter and non-matter.  The craving that led to any form of your existence is what makes you what you are.  There isn’t going to be a boss, or a societal movement, or so-called world leaders, or any form of external figure, that is going to ever have the slightest kind of effect on your ultimate nature.  Your world leader is something that you can’t even understand.  Nobody can understand how the world is led – which leads to all these world mysteries, these questions that we cannot possibly answer.

There is nobody’s idea of yourself.  You project an image out to the world, and they take it in and it fixes their minds in some kind of way.  A week and a half ago, I walked through Bath with no top on and covered in blue body-paint.  I didn’t feel like I was topless, as I had all this paint on and felt like I was still wearing a t-shirt.  People didn’t look at me so much.  I was projecting an image of there being nothing unusual about my appearance.

So be your God, be your tṛṣṇā, and allow the world to be much, much vaster than it can sometimes be made out to be.

into wilderness

#3 Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage.  Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.

The past is going to be with everything that you carry in life.  Things will change, at times, and you’ll remember something from years back and break down crying because it pulls your heart so tightly back to whatever happened, sad or not-so-sad.  No matter what is happening in life, there is still everything that has happened, and we can absolutely thrive off of that.

I meet so many people that refuse any sort of connection with the beauties that they’ve already experienced in life.  So often, one painful moment can block out 10 years, or even longer.  And it’s so sad – because that experience and those memories stay around for the goodness of the world, because once we latch onto them the world around us will tremble with the immensity of the moment.  And it is through that, through connecting with our own existential ancestors (ourselves at different stages in life), that we find a powerful influence and potentially overwhelmingly positive effect on the world.

We are often deceived by what we can gain, in life.  I’ve experienced it myself, a lot.  To buy more stuff, or do more stuff, as to numb that really quite hard-to-deal-with emotional stuff of the past (or of the present, or future) that can come up.  I bought things in France that were mainly for this purpose.  I bought an mp3 player, and a camera, and books, and loads of flour and oil, because all of these were things that could help to numb the troubles of the ‘now’, to stop myself thinking too much into whatever was going on.  The flour and oil was for pancakes, which I’d fill my stomach to the brim with, as a drug.  And since being back in Bath, I’ve had some real issues with just stopping, just really stopping with all the action of doing things all the time and always being busy with stuff, and going into a world of just connecting with myself.  Last week, I realised that I needed to take life independently for a while, and probably not see so many people for a while, as I need to focus on my own stuff a lot.  I feel better alive like this.

Poverty is sacred.  Sage is sacred.  Salvia.  Salvation.
In these times, I am on the very edge of borrowed finances, but it is not through financial loss or gain that one experiences poverty.  Poverty, of small means.  We must conquer ourselves.  Find new means to break all our chains, every cage, to communicate.  Poverty, of small means.  Break every cage.  Make it something great, cultivated.  We are a blob of irresponsible unsustainability, defacing this planet that we call our home.  In poverty, of having small means, we give away all of the excess that we have, and move to a small and minimal way of living.  I remember in Alicante, walking through the old city below the castle, I would encounter the crazy cycles between ultra-rich tourists, and the ganja dealers and cat keepers.  The sun would blaze on us all, though, and great silence was to be found on the westerly walls of the castle grounds at dusk-time.  Wealth does not create silence, but often creates increased chatter, internal and external.  In Eastern Switzerland, I met some of the calmest energies of my life.  It wasn’t such a rich area of Switzerland, and there was something incredibly special there.  There was a huge amount of silence.
silence

#4 Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

Speechless I lay down my head, shaking from this feeling of total emptiness. No bloody dogmas can save me, no bloody higher power can save me. Just myself, and my creativity, all the things I care for, and all the people I just love for being here. And blood ‘ell, this is why it hurts, this is why it hurts. All the things we lived for, are just going to be bloody well nothing. Just like you. Just like me. But these are our catalysts to keep us going on and on.

Truth.  Freedom.  Making life absolutely what it is and was always meant to be.

I’ve been told by so, so many people, people I’ve met on the road and people I’ve met in other situations, that I am so lucky to be living so freely, to be so young and without commitments.  And yet – am I really so lucky, or am I just following what is always true to me?  Is it really luck that creates a life that is what it feels it’s meant to be?  Is it really luck that makes me able to put my thumb out, to sit in a field of Christmas trees chanting at an emanation of Lord Shiva, that has me swinging around myself and, if I’m lucky, a lovely dancing partner, to music that is moving my body in ways that I don’t want to control because it’s so beautiful to just let the body swing around like this and it’d be such a shame to stop such a deep act of freedom?

I can guarantee that I will still be living the life that I’m meant to be living in 20 years time.  This could even be a life of rotting in the ground – who knows what’s going to happen – or it could be a life as a father with kids, or a life as a long-term jailed ‘criminal’, or a life as a hermit, or a life as a monastic.  It’ll be whatever it needs to be, whatever it’s meant to be.  

Not till we are completely lost or turned around… do we begin to find ourselves.
I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest…
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

~ Henry David Thoreau.

buddha

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