Conflict and uncertainty

I quit my job last week. It took me a while to do this, despite the fact that I felt I would get little to lose and I felt increasingly unhappy there. I felt like I could use my time for better things, but the thought that without this job I would lose one more self-definition–that is, I could no longer define myself in terms of what I do–hindered me from quitting. Luckily, perhaps, I could no longer imagine another week of working there. What was strange, several weeks leading to my finally taking action on the thought to quit, the prospect of having no status (unemployed), though scary, was getting more compelling. Somehow I was lured into trying to live with no status/label in society. Somehow I wanted to take up this challenge. It was exciting, sort of like getting an adrenaline rush from doing something risky. But more so, I wanted to quit, just quit, spending more time and energy doing something I didn’t want. I got to the point where I could not care if by doing this I was plunging myself to everything that I fear: a life where everything is uncertain, where I will have no respectful position,  and/or a tragic end where i blow up all my potentials and privileges.

At this point my future’s becoming more and more uncertain. Partly due to exhaustion, I had planned for this break after graduating so I can take a clearer view of what I want to do in life. But the prospect of a complete break in which I would do nothing, and thus be nothing, freaked me out. So I went out to get this job so I could meet people, explore different things, build up connections. “Great,” I thought, it would then be a productive break. But I didn’t last long for I just could not care enough about all these. It turned out that my notion of a responsible adult did not mean too much for me.

I asked myself whether I am not being a spoiled brat who can always go home to find food and roof above my head if I can’t tolerate something out there. I wonder if life is too easy for me. I wonder if I haven’t push myself hard enough, haven’t suffered enough. But then, how do I know if what is at work behind these questions is the idea of the need of maximum suffering to pump up myself, to make me feel I am worthy. And how do I know if the last sentence is not a rationalization to avoid “being an adult”?

So far and in general, I enjoy what I get to do now. I enjoy not being needed or required. I enjoy being my own boss, having a slow day. I’m reluctant to admit them at times because of a self-judgement: am I being negatively complacent or living in the present moment?

Some time ago a thought occurred to me that as long as there is a need for a purpose, sufferings will never end for me. Somewhere I apparently got to the point where I identified suffering with life-purpose. To be a worthy and meaningful purpose, it requires great suffering. So I have two conflicting desires in direct opposition with one another: end of sufferings and meaningful purpose. It seems to me everything that is going on in my life now is in opposition with one another, like career and loved ones.

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Poem I turn around and round The self Li…

Poem

I turn around and round
The self
Like a dog
Chasing its own tail.
Trying to sniff out
My very soul.
My senses lead me
Astray
Most of the time.
My hearing wasted
On the song of birds.
My taste sense wasted
On many hardened bones.
My eyes hardened
By the chase of many fleeting
Things.
But yesterday I think,
When I was circling yet
Again,
I caught the scent
Of a thought.
Unlike the other thoughts.
It simply told me
Stop.

What’s the alternative purpose for me?

I wrote this about a month ago, but a lot is still pertinent to me now.

I thought I was going to write about what preoccupy me most lately, that is, what I want to do in life. The question seems to demand a more serious answer now, especially as another year of my life is passing away. I always think of the answer in terms of career, despite the fact that I think Eckhart Tolle’s answer “our purpose is to be present” makes the most sense. Anyway, a visit from a close friend changed the plan to write about this.

Career and loved ones were never in the same place for me. Living at home again after so many years away pursuing career gives me both comfort and stress. I missed my family and being home, and now that I am here, I am clutching it so time stops and I will never have to leave again. In vain, I know. I am getting older and expected to go out and “be a person” instead of living off of my mother. But the feelings that come to mind as i recall my past couple of years of establishing are cold, lonely, harsh. Is it about love (i.e., that I don’t want to be separated from the people I love) or am I merely cowering and hiding from the outside world?

I know that both career and loved ones won’t be the permanent answer that will end my angst. To be honest, I don’t believe that the end to suffering is attainable for me. So I’m settling down for less, holding on to what I think is the next best thing, no matter how impermanent and insufficient.

Especially this past week I have not been setting aside time to be alone and do nothing. I opted for spending time with my close friend in his temporary visit. I don’t believe that any resolution of my biggest fear can be reached in solitary reflections. I am tired of locking myself up and working alone. I need a savior.

Common ground

During a recent retreat I wrote a poem for each of the other participants. Trying to capture a part of the feeling I have about them in words. Looking over the poems later I noticed that not only were they relevant to the person they were written for, but also to myself. It turned out to be common ground. And maybe you will recognize something of yourself in one or more of the poems too?

Point the gun the other way,
aim for the false and blow it away!

I should, I could, I would,
but and if and when,
leave it behind and act,
that is the way my frien-d.

Confusion and seriousness cannot hide the fact,
that peaking out behind it,
is the playful child of you intact.

When I said “I want to be like you”,
it wasn’t the personality I was referring to,
the one I have with flaws and all will do,
but the light behind it shinning through.

Skyscrapers are elegant, majestic and tall,
but maybe compared to your true identity,
they are quite small…

To conquer the world,
sure as hell would be sweet,
but until you conquer your self,
you will have nothing but defeat.

Behind a facade of fear and pride,
is a bleeding heart you cannot hide!
Dear friend, please lower the guard,
don’t you see it’s strangling your heart?