Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Tibetan Perspective on Western Laziness

"There are different species of laziness: Eastern and Western. The Eastern style is like the one practiced to perfection in India. It consists of hanging out all day in the sun, doing nothing, avoiding any kind of work or useful activity, drinking cups of tea, listening to Hindi film music blaring on the radio, and gossiping with friends. Western laziness is quite different. It consists of cramming our lives with compulsive activity, so that there is no time at all to confront the real issues...We tell ourselves we want to spend time on the important things of life, but there never is any time...Our lives seem to live us, to possess their own bizarre momentum, to carry us away; in the end we feel we have no choice or control over them. Of course we feel bad about this sometimes, we have nightmares and wake up in a sweat, wondering; 'What am I doing with my life?' But our fears only last until breakfast time; out comes the briefcase, and back we go to where we started."

"In the modern world, we have to work and earn our living, but we should not get entangled in a nine-to-five existence, where we live without any view of the deeper meaning of life. Our task is to strike a balance, to find a middle way, to learn not to overstretch ourselves with extraneous activities and preoccupations, but to simplify our lives more and more. The key to finding a happy balance in modern lives is simplicity. Peace of mind will come from this. You will have more time to pursue the things of the spirit and the knowledge that only spiritual truth can bring, which can help you face death. Sadly, this is something that few of us do. Maybe we should ask ourselves the question now: 'What have I really achieved in my life?' By that I mean, how much have we really understood about life and death?'"

The above quotes come from The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche.