In the Buddhist life view, the acknowledgement of suffering as a part of life is central. BUT equally as important is to look at those things that are causing the suffering and see if they can be neutralized. That desirecauses suffering can be difficult to wrap your brain around. After all, some kind of desire or another is much of the basis behind any action we take and any goal we achieve. The desire can be purely selfish (I want to own a Porsche) or ostensibly selfless (I’m going to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity). It doesn’t change the nature of that it is desire and in desirous fervor we can quickly lose our perspective.
This is a lesson I will likely still be learning for many lifetimes to come…<sigh>
My contemplation of this, however, led me to examine boredom. What is boredom? Is it possible to actually be bored if you are fully engaged in living life in the Now? What does boredom represent? This all started when I realized that I am bored with my iPhone cover. Plebeian, I know. Perhaps if I was a nun or abbott I could present you with something more exciting.
So, any way…I’ve started randomly taking off the cover on my iPhone and using it without a cover. Then I’ll put it back on. Then take it off again. Passing through Borders a few weeks ago, I saw some cute looking covers and boom! What hit me? Craving. Craaaaaaaaving. Ooooooh, I waaaaanted that new iPhone cover. But it was made for an iPhone 4 and mine is only an iPhone 3. So, I couldn’t plop down my $15 to soothe my soul.
The lack of compatibility with my device offered me the opportunity to examine the source of my craving though. And that is when I could see the circular connection between the boredom I had been feeling with my old case and the craving I felt for the new case. Here’s the catcher question though: do I crave the case because I am bored with my old one, or am I bored with the old one because I crave a new case? Hmmmmmmm…
Brief connection with “don’t know” mind.
This visceral connection with the pain that desire causes was a wonderful educational experience for me. I needed to tolerate some uncomfortable feelings. To sit with them. To see how they relate to ego clinging. After all a new iPhone case will not actually improve my life. Would it make me more cool? Not really. After all, not too many people actually see it. So, what is it? What would it mean to me to have a new iPhone case? In the short run, the craving would be assuaged. That uncomfortable place of want would be filled – temporarily. I would feel comfort. I might even take joy in whatever new characters or colors adorned my new case. If that were the end of the story, I could just go online and find a cute case for my “obsolete” iPhone.
The problem is that I know the moment I get it home the whole cycle will begin again. I will enjoy it for a while. Feel fulfilled. Feel that little piece of giddy joy. Then it will fade. There will be a period of neutrality – neither craving something new, nor truly appreciating what I have. Then the boredom will begin again. I have no doubt that there will be a plethora of retailers waiting for the agony of my craving to boil over again. And it will never stop.
I see all of this.
I recognize it.
I am practicing sitting with the uncomfortable feelings that this craving generates.
I’m still bored with my iPhone cover.
Now buy the Book!