My new favorite quote is:
The pot calling the kettle black.
I prefer the interpretation that the kettle is a shiny metal and the pot sees itself in the kettle’s reflection.
It is said that 80% of the population is religiously tied, which means they believe there is some sort of purpose, justification, and/or order to life. 20% are agnostics and atheists who don’t care to decide on the subject or decided there is no higher order, respectively.
I’d like to think that we should be free to think what we like, so long as everyone respects one another.
I wasn’t conscious, but I wanted to belong.
So, I started to identify myself as a Buddhist. Then started to identify as an atheist. I didn’t understand where agnostics came in, but now that is where I’d like to be… not that I have to belong ;)
Slowly, I caught the meditation wave, read some Buddhist books by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama. Then I attended 3x 10-day vipassana silent meditation retreats in the lineage of SN Goenka. Then I attended an 8-day course as a server.
When I first spent 10 full days only meditating and in silence, I felt empowered. The 2nd gave me a meditation high after enduring the agonizing pain in my legs, and I had since been seeking that “high” when I meditate. The 3rd felt like prison, and I wondered if meditation is about realizing the prison in your mind by imprisoning your body by meditating all day in silence.
As a server I felt a divide, they tell you the students (meditators) come first, but the assistant teachers (the teacher being Goenka himself who died in 2013) who I’d think a senior server logically, and our example were strangely demanding. Naturally I felt like a slave more and more as the days passed. I was not unhappy, just felt burdened and tired. The last day when the silence was broken for the students I felt so relieved I was told I snored during the afternoon sitting, LOL!
Goenka wants you to meditate everyday. He wants you to quit all intoxicants and be honest and all these wholesome stuff. Because apparently, he walks the path before you… sounding just like a religious leader.
I somehow fell into this thinking that I had to walk on the path… and strive to be ascetic.
IN the end, meditation made me realize I was seeking an answer that religions answer – you will know upon death (or in the case of Buddhism upon enlightenment if you reach it before you die) if you follow my way.
Well. I’m comfortable living without conviction and will always keep my doubts so that I can have an open mind.
I no longer seek my life’s purpose nor enlightenment though, I am happy to just live my life with the small pleasures I may indulge in.