Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Understanding Zen and its Practical Applications Part 3

I would be perfectly fine with never having to work another day in an office, performing work that I cared nothing for. To me, the idea of spending 40 years sitting in an office, is like hell. Sure there are office jobs that I could see myself working in, where the job wasn't that stressful and overbearing, and the people I worked with were decent and we got along. But ultimately, I think that my personality type, is simply not meant to exist for long periods of time within the confines of a florescent-lite cubical.

That being said, where do I belong? I'm actually not quite sure. I know where I feel comfortable. I know that there are three basic conditions to be met that make me content. They are: doing what I like, with people I like, at a place that I like. This is of course assuming that the physiological needs for me to be content are already met, such as having good health, a place to live and food. When it comes to work, I prefer to have a job working for an organization that does good to the world in accordance with my personal morals. Any job where I have to aide giant corporations in their destruction of the Earth for money, is not something that I can take lightly. I have done that in the past and I am not proud of myself for it.

Discovering Zen Buddhism through the teachings of Alan Watts has helped me to see the world from a new perspective. Zen has this mystery to it. Many of the experiences associated with it cannot be put into words adequately, which for me is a part of its appeal. I think that though Zen I have journeyed a bit closer to where I am supposed to be. I don't consider myself a Buddhist but what I aim to take from Buddhism is its practical philosophical aspects, and incorporate them into my existing belief system, that is grounded in atheism and Western philosophy. I would like to keep a foot in both worlds so to speak.

This all being said, I still honestly feel lost as to where I am in this world or where I belong in terms of my profession. I feel almost as if I simply just exist, without a greater purpose being actively implemented by me. I know where I stand in terms of my philosophy and morals, but translating this to an action plan that can support me financially has been an utter failure. Now I am of the mindset, that we each make our own purpose. We each have within us, inherent talents and desires, and from them we can each find the path that  feels right for us. A few years ago, when I started to get very serious about my passion for atheism and humanism I felt as if a light had just gone on. Unfortunately, this light seems to have gone off a bit too late - I was already in college paying thousands of dollars towards a degree in the IT industry just as my interest in it was waning.  This set of events has left me angry, but I don't blame anyone or anything for it, it just happened. I am glad to have found something I am passionate about at all. I do still wish that I could turn the clock back 5 years or so and have gotten my degree in political theory, philosophy, or one of the sciences.

In Zen you don't dwell in the past, because it doesn't exist. The past doesn't determine the present because the present is all that exists. My past miscalculations should not affect my desire and strive for doing something I am really passionate about. But all to often I become controlled by my past, as many of us do, whereby we allow events that have happened to limit our abilities in the present. This is not only harmful to one's potential, it is harmful to one's being. For to dwell too strongly into the past prevents the self from expressing who it truly is, and I struggle greatly with this.

What Zen philosophy means that my past experiences do not determine my potential in the present. Haven't we all succeeded in an assignment when we had no past experience to gauge whether we would be successful? It is shocking sometimes when you realize what you can achieve in certain situations, even when there has been failure in the past. All I can say is that my potential now to achieve what I am passionate for has is not bound with the chains created by past events.

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