My version of the above activity is waiting for the green-route bus to appear while I’m at my bus stop. Adages aren’t always literally true so one needs to interpret, to extrapolate what the adage is saying on a deeper level. In the case of the famous watched teapot or my less-famous bus appearing example, the adage has at least three meanings (implications):
- Focusing all your attention on a single short-term goal takes us out of the Now, and thereby can rob us of appreciating other treasures in our environment.
- Fixating on a single event that turns out not to occur as soon we hope or expect it to occur promotes a state of desiring and attachment.
- Sometimes we need to shift our focus to other goals and activities and allow processes set in motion by our efforts run their course (which may well take longer we have anticipated and/or want them to take.
FOCUSING ON TEAPOT HIDES OTHER KITCHEN TREASURES
Think of it this way: once you set the burner at a high level, there’s nothing more you need to do to expedite the process. You might as well let the physics work their magic. You peering at the teapot waiting for the steam to appear is completely unnecessary. Sure, occasionally you have to check it out but in the initial stages, you don’t need to be involved.
The same with my bus example. What if a beautiful woman in tight pants walks by and I’m fixated on the appearance of my boring old bus? I miss the enjoyment and excitement of a lovely woman passing by me because I’m distracted by the bus-showing-up deal. How sad is that?
FIXATING OF EVENT THAT TAKES TOO LONG TO HAPPEN
The practice of wanting/expecting a desired event to occur leads to living a life filled with perpetual want and desire. This promotes unhappiness because it’s difficult to truly relish a pleasurable experience when your a part of you is already thinking about the next “thing” you “must have”. It’s like the SNL character Roseanne Roseannadanna’s signature line: “If it’s not one thing, it’s another” only instead of bad things happening, it’s good things happening. The key is our attitude towards external events, good, bad or neutral.
Becoming obsessed about need- and want-fulfillment is much like being a slave. The slave master is your want/desire. Metaphorically speaking, you’re in shackles and you think getting what you desire will set you free. But the truth is getting what you desire may set you free or it may keep you trapped in an endless cycle of want, fulfillment and letdown.
SHIFTING FOCUS: IT’S ALL ABOUT TIME MANAGEMENT
Our egos are noisy, greedy, wanting and impatient. It’s an “all about me” attitude that makes playing well with others nigh impossible. If you can somehow (meditation and intention are most powerful weapons in your spiritual arsenal) dissolve the rigid boundaries your ego constructs , that will open up a grand and exciting new world. It’s your egocentric mindset that hides the wonder and mystery of the universe by sticking incomplete and limited labels on everyone and everything that’s not you.
By time management, I mean focusing your mental energies on the present moment instead of recalling the past or musing about the future. When you accept, and buy into, the place and circumstances you find yourself in, your stress level is zero. You can smile and be happy because there’s no place you’d rather be than where you are. That is so liberating and exciting. But you have to ignore the incessant, compelling call of your ego to want to be somewhere other than where you are. To the ego, you always deserve more than what you’re getting. You’re always better than whatever you happen to be doing at the moment. Don’t fall for it. You’re fine just where and when you’re at. The present moment, the ever-shifting Now, is all we have. Accept it, embrace it, love it. That’s Life. Nothing more and nothing less.
Written by The Dr. of Badology
aka Lee A. Eide
Also Written by Lee A. Eide:
“The Dr. of Badology Presents: The ‘Bad’ Path to Nirvana – Experience Enlightenment by Not Doing What W.W. Does” – https://gumroad.com/products/RglBe
“Live the Perfect Life Now! – Discover & Experience Essence of Buddhism in 50 Pages
“Dead Man’s Plan” – http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-0060704049/Dead-Mans-Plan.aspx
Self-help book blog, JOIN THE SPIRITUAL EVOLUTION: LIVE BEYOND YOUR EGO – https://sobrietybytamingyourego.wordpress.com