Thursday, August 25, 2011

How To Have Fun


Step one:  Realize that the present is and always will be unsatisfactory.


IMHO this is the central insight of Buddhism.  Existence is suffering and there is no escape.  That sucks, but that’s how it is.  Every waking moment I have and always will have unmet desires.  Whether it is the need to take the next breath, or pay the mortgage, or actual physical sexy-time desire, there is and always will be something that I want, that I don’t currently have, that as long as I am alive I will strive for, forever and ever.


Step two:  Let go of the Future.


It is seductive to think that there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ futures.  Futures that are ‘good’ and futures that are ‘bad’.  Futures worthy of desire.  Futures that I need to put some serious thought into finding, and perhaps one special future that is calling my name.


Unfortunately that is total bullshit.


All futures are the same.  I won’t be satisfied in any of them.  True, I will be dissatisfied about different things, but I will generally be about as dissatisfied as I currently am at the present moment.  


There is even empirical research backing up the idea that no matter what their circumstances (and even if those circumstances change dramatically either positively, or negatively) people have a ‘set point’ of happiness.  http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.html


All possible futures I could have are all going to wind up in more or less the same place:  I’m unsatisfied at the present moment.


Bottom line: No particular future is worthy of desire.  The future is a commodity.  It’s difficult to distinguish one future from another, so choose one with the same care as choosing any other commodity item (like a bag of sugar at the supermarket):  Look for one that isn’t obviously damaged, but don’t put a lot of time/effort in choosing the ‘best’ one.


Step three: Enjoy


Simply enjoy the present moment.  Don’t be concerned about the future consequences.  Know that you are going to end up in the same place regardless, so take the time to enjoy the trip.  Go with your gut.  Not that your gut is ‘right’, go with it because it’s yours, and if the destination is the same either way, why not?

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