A personal approach to Zen

Kategorie: Lifequestions

On worrying

I worry all the time, all the time. About my children, my professional future, my financial future, my past, my mother, my wife, my home. About getting older, staying healthy, getting a healthier lifestyle, getting more money, buying your own home, owning a home, you name it.

Yesterday we found out that we have to move out of the house next year. We have lived here for almost ten years, my children have been here since they were born, they love the garden, they love the house.

I never cared much about the garden because I don’t like gardening and because I always feel watched by the neighbors. I also didn’t care much about the house because I know I can rent something else and it’s ok. I grew up in apartments and never found it bad. But I worry about how my kids will take it.

Worrying all the time is exhausting.

The mind doesn’t settle down, I can’t be in the now, constantly thinking about something else, can’t enjoy the moment.

It is not a very nice summer but the somewhat gray, rainy days, still summer warm, have a nice mood. Walks are nice, sports outside are nice, time with the kids at home, now on vacation is nice. But everything is overlaid with these worries.
Some writers or philosophers said that it makes no sense to worry all the time because most things never happen anyway and you can only worry when something does happen.

That is right and makes sense. It makes no sense to worry twice about something that is not yet here, and a move is just what it is.

If I try to free the mind from worry, I still don’t succeed. If I wake up at night, it immediately continues. Deep meditation does not seem possible. Any distraction does not seem possible. I don’t know how to deal with it, how to unburden the mind. Tara Brach writes of radical acceptance, I will try that but I feel this discomfort in the abdominal area.

There are bigger worries to have at the moment, Covid, climate change, the shift to the right in society and there are some things to confront. That doesn’t put my worries into perspective either.

Today is the day you were afraid of yesterday, it’s just a waste of time to worry too much. But they are there.

Public. Private. Secret.

Everyone combines different lives in him or herself.

There is the public life with our job, our responsibilities, our identity, defined by others who see us in action, there are the skills learned and executed.

There is the private life with our relations to loved ones, friends, children, we behave in another way and this life and the relations within it are often chosen or they were chosen by fate. Regarding our parents, we had no choice. And actually, also our children don’t have it and neither we have about them.

And there is this secret life which no one knows about and which everyone has. Nothing or very seldom there is something shared with the outer world. It can be dreams, hopes, wishes, many sexual desires never talked about maybe.

A whole universe exists in every one of us and everyone is a universe on its own.

Those ‚roles‘ do interfere with each other and though there is inevitable dissonance in it, it can feel ok.

The highest priority for each person I guess is to feel safe. If something goes wrong or forces are demanding actions from these roles we can not cope with anymore, we start to feel uncomfortable.

Many times we go into a direction at a certain age, maybe with a job or a marriage and the consequences do have a broader impact than we could ever have imagined or something evolves in us and the need can’t be ignored.

If that happens we know we have to change something and oftentimes it seems not possible. Instead of becoming angry and trying to destroy or self-sabotage your job or career or family life, I think it’s best to just watch closely and be aware of what really makes us uncomfortable.

Then after analyzing and accepting, what might be hard, we can slightly change. This change starts in our mind and if the mind decided to go in a direction, everything else will follow.

I do strongly believe this, not as this esoteric wish to the universe, but as our mind is a force that can lead us to something else. Something new if we are open to it.

I always feel strongly about the movie „The Curious Case of Benjamin Button“ and especially the scene where Julia Ormond sits on her mother’s deathbed and realizes who her father was.

As though there’s not much told about her in the movie, you see that she is not happy. And as she reads the postcards her dad wrote to her over the years, there follows this moving sequence where Benjamin tells her:

‚Whenever you feel in life you got to something where you’re not happy with, or proud about, you always have the chance to start over. Do it. And I wish you the courage to do it.‘

That’s not a correct quote but how I memorize it. You can watch the scene above.

Because there are so many astonishing things out there to be seen, and the beauty of life lies in that option to simply start over and pursue what makes you happy.

For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be.

I hope you make the best of it.

About purpose in life

Why does purpose diminish over the years or was it ever there?

In the early years of life, you try to get an idea of what’s this all about.

You try to learn from the elder ones and try to get some insights out of them.

Later you learn they had no idea and just said something that you at worst misinterpreted on top.

Then you try to make it better.

After some years, being an adult for myself and having kids I’m still looking for a purpose in life and I’m afraid I might not find it.

Where is a purpose to be found?

Some search for it in business and try to reach materialistic goals, some are looking for spiritual meaning in life others do care much about family. Some mix it up and others do sport.

Why is it even important for me to define it or why do I think I have to find out what’s my role here, why the hell am I on earth, and are allowed to spend the resources?

Over the years, after studying a lot and trying very different jobs. I was literally a mechanic, an actor, a painter, a student of comparative literature, a marketer, a father, a husband, a sportsman, and a drinker, a friend and an enemy for some I guess.

But I still didn’t find a ‚calling‘. And if there is one, I didn’t go down this path.
Now, in the midst of my forties, I have to arrange myself with the conclusion that I might never find it and what to do with that feeling. Is it a loss? Should I let go of this search?

Maybe. Some seem to be so grounded and know what they are doing and where they belong.

Others are geniuses and innovators and help mankind with their findings. This will certainly never happen to me in this life, that I was ever clear about.

But still, I want my life not to be wasted, still, I want to give it some meaning. Ok, trying to be a good father and leading my kids into a reasonable life is a great challenge. But how can I do that when I still have more questions on life than answers.

Trying to be a good person and love the ones around me sounds also not false. But it isn’t always the case that I love everybody, many times I’m angry and I can’t hide it. The anger arises and plops out and people around me definitely don’t feel loved and I’m not a loving person in such moments.

Sometimes I feel after calming down it’s just about getting to the point that I enjoy those years living on earth and there’s nothing more to do. And if being honest to myself I didn’t do a good job here. I often lived on autopilot, missing the moments that could fill up my heart with joy.

Instead of thinking about the past or future or dreaming myself away to some parallel universes instead of just being in that moments.
Certainly, finding a purpose is a first-world problem and I’m aware that I might be just happy about the fact that I never felt hungry before.

Still, there is this envy in me to those who seem to have found something and the longing to find it for myself.

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