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Being sensible makes you dead inside

JeroenJeroen Do it with a smileNetherlands Veteran
edited July 30 in Philosophy

I was reading a selection of Adyashanti quotes, when I suddenly realised this. If you don’t live your life with passion what exactly is it worth. You might be a lawyer, an accountant or a pensions clerk. Those are very sensible professions, but if that’s what you spend all your time doing you will end up a dry and dusty bag of bones. It is the work of a lifetime, to bring those passions to maturity, and instead of spending them in a flash, to live by them.

The more I read of Adya’s teaching, the more I feel that they are powerful, clear, radical, fierce. It has the potential to truly bring you to the threshold of revolution. Respect to the people who have the guts to live by them.

“As soon as you break your fidelity to Truth, you kick yourself out of the freedom of Truth. As soon as anything—power, praise, person, place, thing, outward love, respect, acknowledgment—becomes more important than Truth, you will begin to suffer and feel separate. There is only room for Truth in the Truth. This means there is only room for seeing the Truth, choosing the Truth, and loving the Truth. A fierce commitment to Truth is a moment-to-moment choice.”
― Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

“This one question -- "What do I know for certain?"-- is tremendously powerful. When you look deeply into this question, it actually destroys your world. It destroys your whole sense of self, and it's meant to. You come to see that everything you think you know about yourself, everything you think you know about the world, is based on assumptions, beliefs, and opinions-- things you believe because you were taught or told that they were true. Until we start to see these false perceptions for what they really are, consciousness will be imprisoned within the dream state.”
― Adyashanti, The End of Your World: Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment

It’s stuff that puts me in mind of a famous Hakim Sanai poem, this…

“Stop weaving a net about yourself:
burst like a lion from the cage.
Melt yourself down in his search:
venture your life and your soul
in the path of sincerity;
strive to pass from nothingness to being,
and make yourself drunk with the wine of God.”

Comments

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Living your life with passion all sounds very nice and gets you followers on Instagram.
    But when the rubber hits the road, does it get you any closer to removing greed, anger and delusion?
    Probably not

    Shoshin1
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Perhaps if we think of passion as a form of intense compassion or focussed mindfulness. In other words greed, anger, lust, intensity, fear etc. can indeed be wielded in the service of Truth. Even ignorance can be an example or revealing both to others and ourselves.

    It is a bit like swearing a perfume, that everyone can be scent. So being sensible or Dead to impediments may unfold But the True Lover of Allah The Spaghetti Monster is all meat balls …

    … And now back to the road/path of rubber beating. Probably.

    In the spiritual path being sensible and senseless is possible. In fact even the impossible is passable.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    Funny title. My initial reaction to reading it was, "well its better than being dead on the outside because you've been reckless and now can't pay your rent."

    I mean its probably true if you spend 100 hours a week trying to earn that partnership in the super competitive law firm. But I like the benefits having a sensible life gives me. I have reliable work, I have the security of being able to afford reasonable health insurance, a retirement fund, have enough money in the bank to not have to worry if my truck breaks, and don't have to sweat the cost of ice cream.

    I like stability and security. I'll take that over being able to do stuff that makes me happy 24/7.

    BunksJeroenlobster
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    @Kerome
    said "If you don’t live your life with passion what exactly is it worth."

    Forms, feelings, thoughts, volitional activities and consciousness can sometimes be said to be the categories by which a life's worth can be experienced.
    Here, just as an ego's momentum depends on the creating of preferences for some of these categories over others, the key to that same ego's entropy occurs as we allow these categories to return to their originating collegial interactions with each other.

    As far as my understanding of the middle way and the Buddha's path towards suffering's cessation is concerned, passion, when either deliberately amplified or repressed, represents a direction taken that creates more suffering than it alleviates.

    コチシカlobster
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    Being sensible gives…

    • Security
    • Logical consistency
    • Peace

    But it doesn’t give fire, the motivating impulse to follow beauty. I think that by repressing passion in favour of the sensible you are setting yourself up for these themes to return at some later stage, you are merely burying them and then you have to hope they still shine when they come back.

    There is a saying, “the unexamined life is not worth living”, well I say “the unimpassioned life is missing the most important parts”. You might find yourself having that experience of a lifetime which passion led you to, those memories you wouldn’t trade for anything.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    As far as my understanding of the middle way and the Buddha's path towards suffering's cessation is concerned, passion, when either deliberately amplified or repressed, represents a direction taken that creates more suffering than it alleviates.

    That is true in my experience BUT being human (one of my ambitions) we may have to realistically and temporarily repress distractions and develop an intense passion for dharma.

    person
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    Being sensible gives…

    • Security
    • Logical consistency
    • Peace

    But it doesn’t give fire, the motivating impulse to follow beauty. I think that by repressing passion in favour of the sensible you are setting yourself up for these themes to return at some later stage, you are merely burying them and then you have to hope they still shine when they come back.

    There is a saying, “the unexamined life is not worth living”, well I say “the unimpassioned life is missing the most important parts”. You might find yourself having that experience of a lifetime which passion led you to, those memories you wouldn’t trade for anything.

    If that means taking risks, then I'm all for it.

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran
    edited July 31

    @DairyLama said:
    If that means taking risks, then I'm all for it.

    I think it does… most people turn away from their passions at some point in their life. They decide on a safe career, they think paragliding looks cool but is way too dangerous, they decide not to go and create their own business, they don’t approach the pretty girl for the prom because they’re nervous. It’s all fear, people not having the courage to own their passion because their brain tells them the risk-reward ratio is too high.

    Spiritually too this plays a role. Lay buddhists who decide to try for a more advantageous life the next time around have avoided the fire of enlightening experience. Seriously pursueing a spiritual path is a risk. It requires an investment of time and energy, and choices on what not to do, avoiding the things that do not fit a spiritual life. It requires courage as a life direction, because you leave the usual paths.

    “As soon as you break your fidelity to Truth, you kick yourself out of the freedom of Truth. As soon as anything—power, praise, person, place, thing, outward love, respect, acknowledgment—becomes more important than Truth, you will begin to suffer and feel separate. There is only room for Truth in the Truth. This means there is only room for seeing the Truth, choosing the Truth, and loving the Truth. A fierce commitment to Truth is a moment-to-moment choice.”
    ― Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

    Bunkslobster
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    Capitalism makes me dead inside.

    JeroenBunkslobsterLinc
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @Jason said:
    Capitalism makes me dead inside.

    Good point. Capitalism is a machine, an algorithm for generating heaps of money for the rich. It doesn’t have much life in it.

    David
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    No, it doesn't, at least not for most working people who are alienated from their labour and forced to work one passionless job or another to survive. It often doesn't support things that give us joy and happiness, such as the free time and resources to learn the things of our choosing, time to devote to spiritual pursuits, or anything else. In the critique of the sensible, I see a critique of modern society and social relations and a culture focused on productivity and doing sensible things to make a living rather than supporting individual talents and living life to the fullest. We live to work, not live to enjoy the life we have and make the most of it, unless we are lucky enough to be born the right kind of person at the right time in the right place with the right supporting conditions and have our failing business bailed out by our parents until it becomes a corporate behemoth. At least places like Thailand and India have some support structure for monastics and those who seek an alternative lifestyle. But just imagine how better things might be if profit wasn't the primary focus, people had more free time to spend on things they're passionate about, and the resources to achieve that? Without the material conditions in place, it is very difficult for the average person to find and live their passion, let alone look inside themselves and search for truth.

    JeroenlobsterDavid
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    You could say they feed on each other, capitalism is a result of sensible thinking towards private property, and then sensible thinking is forced onto you by the structures of capitalism in the world around you.

    lobster
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited July 31

    @Kerome said:
    You could say they feed on each other, capitalism is a result of sensible thinking towards private property, and then sensible thinking is forced onto you by the structures of capitalism in the world around you.

    You could also say that these long-winded blogs on capitalism are completely off-topic, and pure self indulgence by an NB mod who should know better.
    And this nonsense is supposed to inspire these fictional new Buddhists who are aoperently queueing up for approval? My arse.
    Why would anyone want to join a forum like this?

    BunksDavidLinc
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Jason said:
    No, it doesn't, at least not for most working people who are alienated from their labour and forced to work one passionless job or another to survive. It often doesn't support things that give us joy and happiness, such as the free time and resources to learn the things of our choosing, time to devote to spiritual pursuits, or anything else. In the critique of the sensible, I see a critique of modern society and social relations and a culture focused on productivity and doing sensible things to make a living rather than supporting individual talents and living life to the fullest. We live to work, not live to enjoy the life we have and make the most of it, unless we are lucky enough to be born the right kind of person at the right time in the right place with the right supporting conditions and have our failing business bailed out by our parents until it becomes a corporate behemoth. At least places like Thailand and India have some support structure for monastics and those who seek an alternative lifestyle. But just imagine how better things might be if profit wasn't the primary focus, people had more free time to spend on things they're passionate about, and the resources to achieve that? Without the material conditions in place, it is very difficult for the average person to find and live their passion, let alone look inside themselves and search for truth.

    Lucky? How much of a part does luck play in where we are reborn?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Lucky? How much of a part does luck play in where we are reborn?

    If you have been reborn, arrived from or heading for a heaven/pureland, lucky as hell …

    Bunks
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @DairyLama said:

    @Kerome said:
    You could say they feed on each other, capitalism is a result of sensible thinking towards private property, and then sensible thinking is forced onto you by the structures of capitalism in the world around you.

    You could also say that these long-winded blogs on capitalism are completely off-topic, and pure self indulgence by an NB mod who should know better.
    And this nonsense is supposed to inspire these fictional new Buddhists who are aoperently queueing up for approval? My arse.
    Why would anyone want to join a forum like this?

    Lol I don't know, why are you here?

    Linc
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited July 31

    @Bunks said:

    @Jason said:
    No, it doesn't, at least not for most working people who are alienated from their labour and forced to work one passionless job or another to survive. It often doesn't support things that give us joy and happiness, such as the free time and resources to learn the things of our choosing, time to devote to spiritual pursuits, or anything else. In the critique of the sensible, I see a critique of modern society and social relations and a culture focused on productivity and doing sensible things to make a living rather than supporting individual talents and living life to the fullest. We live to work, not live to enjoy the life we have and make the most of it, unless we are lucky enough to be born the right kind of person at the right time in the right place with the right supporting conditions and have our failing business bailed out by our parents until it becomes a corporate behemoth. At least places like Thailand and India have some support structure for monastics and those who seek an alternative lifestyle. But just imagine how better things might be if profit wasn't the primary focus, people had more free time to spend on things they're passionate about, and the resources to achieve that? Without the material conditions in place, it is very difficult for the average person to find and live their passion, let alone look inside themselves and search for truth.

    Lucky? How much of a part does luck play in where we are reborn?

    You tell me. Maybe Jeff Bezo was Lassie in a previous life and is now a trillionaire because of all the good karma from saving Timmy from all those wells he fell into. And now his good karma gets him shot into space in a dick rocket like nature intended.

    On a more serious note, if rebirth is a thing, then I suppose some amount of previous past kamma can translate into a favourable rebirth. But I don't think that past actions alone dictate everything that happens, and other natural laws in conjunction with what we would call luck or happenstance also are also a factor.

    Beyond that, even the Buddha notes the importance of material factors in how people behave. When there's poverty, there's privation and crime. When the people are well cared for and have ample resources and opportunities, there is peace and happiness. I think suttas such as DN 5, for example, make the case that, in general, people can't be expected to be happy, law-abiding people when their material needs aren't meant. In the story that the Buddha tells, the king wants to eradicate the thieves and barbarians causing crime and violence within his kingdom by imprisonment, banishment, or death, but his wise advisor says:

    Rather, here is a plan, relying on which the barbarian obstacle will be properly uprooted. So let the king provide seed and fodder for those in the realm who work in farming and raising cattle. Let the king provide funding for those who work in trade. Let the king guarantee food and wages for those in government service. Then the people, occupied with their own work, will not harass the realm. The king’s revenues will be great. When the country is secured as a sanctuary, free of being harried and oppressed, the happy people, with joy in their hearts, dancing with children at their breast, will dwell as if their houses were wide open.’

    Just something to think about. Even if the king was born a king because of past kamma and those in poverty were born poor due to theirs, the immediate material conditions still matter and influence how they act in the present.

    Bunks
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @Kerome said:
    You could say they feed on each other, capitalism is a result of sensible thinking towards private property, and then sensible thinking is forced onto you by the structures of capitalism in the world around you.

    Ixnay on the apitalismcay. Apparently we can't talk about that. It upset @DairyLama.

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @Jason said:

    @Kerome said:
    You could say they feed on each other, capitalism is a result of sensible thinking towards private property, and then sensible thinking is forced onto you by the structures of capitalism in the world around you.

    Ixnay on the apitalismcay. Apparently we can't talk about that. It upset @DairyLama.

    Nah he is just looking for a way to make a contribution, he’s hurting because his mates are no longer around.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited August 3

    A point to remember. The people who deliver the food to your stores and keep your lights on, or make the paints that you need to follow your passion of painting are people making sensible decisions for their lives. I doubt there are very many people passionate about delivering food.

    Maybe make more "I" statements about how you want to live your life rather than making categorical claims about all the passionless people who are dead inside that you depend on for your way of life.

    Edit: Rereading this it comes across as more judgmental than I intended. Its meant to be a constructive statement about interdependence and gratitude. And about communicating your preferences without unintentionally denigrating others.

    BunkslobsterJeroenDavid
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @person said:
    A point to remember. The people who deliver the food to your stores and keep your lights on, or make the paints that you need to follow your passion of painting are people making sensible decisions for their lives. I doubt there are very many people passionate about delivering food.

    I suspect that some of those delivering food to the stores are passionate amateur cage fighters in their spare time, or that the person keeping the lights on loves breeding pigeons. The point is, you don’t have to be passionate all the time — although perhaps the examples I cited made it look like that, and it does help if you can transform your passion into your living — as long as you’re not being sensible all the time. Give yourself room to breathe and dream, my friends.

    Bunksperson
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    Some folks are passionate enough about their practice to naturally sanctify what others see as the mundane.

    BunksShoshin1lobster
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Being sensible makes you dead inside

    Yeah... What about 'outside'...?

    I just keep thinking that someone woke up this morning without any inkling, knowledge or notion that today would be their last day. They went about their business - whatever it might have been - until our friend Yama tapped them on the shoulder, and beckoned "You're done here. Come with me."

    So I try to think every morning, "Will this be it?" and I then try to modify my responses and approaches in the event of it being so.
    I mean, you never know, do you?

    I'd hate to die feeling verily pissed off about nothing in particular.
    Because when you die, EVERYTHING is 'nothing in particular...

    Bunkslobster
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    I was listening to a podcast in which they were talking about an American spiritual teacher who lived a year as if it would be his last. He made lists of everything he still wanted to do, and took the time to do it all. At the end of course he carried on living, with the difference that all the things that death made him want to do before the end were already fulfilled, and so he would have no regrets

    Shoshin1lobsterBunks
  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    @Jason said:
    No, it doesn't, at least not for most working people who are alienated from their labour and forced to work one passionless job or another to survive. It often doesn't support things that give us joy and happiness, such as the free time and resources to learn the things of our choosing, time to devote to spiritual pursuits, or anything else.

    I agree that capitalism sucks. It glorifies greed, exploitation and competition. But what's a viable alternative? Socialism and communism gave us Stalin, Mao and Fidel. All sterling respecters of freedom, human rights and civil society. Clement Attlee seems to be an outlier, but isn't he the exception that proves the rule?

    I wish I had a good alternative to either system. A hodge podge of the two seems to work somewhat better, but is still far from ideal.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @nakazcid said: Socialism and communism gave us Stalin, Mao and Fidel.

    No, it gave 'us' Dictatorship. They were power hungry, corrupt and they twisted the notion of Socialism to their advantage. Don't confuse Dictatorship with true, well-run Socialism.

  • I wish I had a good alternative to either system

    Here, here 🏴
    https://theconversation.com/what-is-anarchism-all-about-50373

  • LincLinc Site owner Detroit Moderator

    @person said:
    A point to remember. The people who deliver the food to your stores and keep your lights on, or make the paints that you need to follow your passion of painting are people making sensible decisions for their lives. I doubt there are very many people passionate about delivering food.

    I think you too readily conflate working conditions with the work.

    People literally volunteer to deliver food because they are passionate about it — via charities like Meals On Wheels.

    So is the problem that no one would do critical work if they weren't coerced into it by threat of homelessness, or that our lives depend on screwing people that way?

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited September 6

    @Linc said:

    @person said:
    A point to remember. The people who deliver the food to your stores and keep your lights on, or make the paints that you need to follow your passion of painting are people making sensible decisions for their lives. I doubt there are very many people passionate about delivering food.

    I think you too readily conflate working conditions with the work.

    People literally volunteer to deliver food because they are passionate about it — via charities like Meals On Wheels.

    So is the problem that no one would do critical work if they weren't coerced into it by threat of homelessness, or that our lives depend on screwing people that way?

    Its not that no one would do it. Its a question if enough people would do it to meet the demand. Some things need to get done for the welfare of society whether people enjoy it or feel passionate about it. Plus with something like Meals On Wheels, there is the psychological reward of directly helping someone out that isn't there when driving a truck to and from a warehouse.
    Also things like homelessness and deprivation are the default state of nature for humans, if we're not sufficiently conscientious and industrious its the place we all will naturally revert to.

    I was reminded recently of one of Aesop's fables I heard as a child:

    The Ants & the Grasshopper

    One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and humbly begged for a bite to eat.

    "What!" cried the Ants in surprise, "haven't you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?"

    "I didn't have time to store up any food," whined the Grasshopper; "I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone."

    The Ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust.

    "Making music, were you?" they cried. "Very well; now dance!" And they turned their backs on the Grasshopper and went on with their work.

    It would be compassionate for the ants to help the grasshopper out for sure. But it is also selfish for the grasshopper to spend his time in pursuit of pleasure then turn to others for his needs. It would be the compassionate thing on his side to consider the impact of his behavior on the rest of society. For the collective to thrive, able bodied people need to contribute, and contribute in ways that the rest of society requires rather than the way that they necessarily prefer.

  • birdsbirds israel New

    sensible is a condition of relying on the senses , sense able, so if you get addicted to that then potentially some part of you might become unfulfilled or wondering why you feel sullen,

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    I came across a great quote from the movie Passengers…

    “If you live an ordinary life, all you will have are ordinary stories. You have to live a life of adventure.”

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    The grasshoppper and the ants, the Disney version…

    person
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @Jeroen said:
    I came across a great quote from the movie Passengers…

    “If you live an ordinary life, all you will have are ordinary stories. You have to live a life of adventure.”

    This has kind of stuck with me, I think it is true to a large extent. If you choose to live an ordinary life your energy will remain stuck at a low pitch, to truly live life you have to be courageous and go out beyond your comfort zone.

    Bunks
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @Jeroen said:
    The grasshoppper and the ants, the Disney version…

    I like that ending way better than Aesop. The grasshopper learned a lesson about what he owes others and the ants benefited from his talent. To me that is a great example of reciprocity and free and fair exchange.

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @person said:

    I like that ending way better than Aesop. The grasshopper learned a lesson about what he owes others and the ants benefited from his talent. To me that is a great example of reciprocity and free and fair exchange.

    I agree with you, he wasn’t so far off the mark, our mr Disney.

  • RiddlewindRiddlewind oregon usa Explorer

    Vanity is passionate in all that defines and serves the self, as the passion of vanity is to make the self happy and satisfied. However, vanity is an illusion and serves us with a life formed in self-delusion, and while meant to fill the emptiness of life in us the love of delusion is the cause of emptiness. Shall we then choose delusion to be the measure of feeling life and life’s satisfactions, when none of it is real? Or, shall we regret not having a passion for doing the things that would appear to fill us and give us life when all we do is feed our image of an illusory self? Better to have a passion for peace and the fullness of the Life that is already in us that is our Truth, than to follow after all the passions that strive to satisfy the fantasies of the needs of ego. Self-imagery and the idea of self is an illusion living only in ones vain imaginations.

    The bliss that comes from the Mind that fills the emptiness is both Love and Life, where the mind is made still apart form the ego-cravings, and you are satisfied. If one is satisfied and happy and full, what then is any hunger for passion to give you life? Every question of life that the desire for passion seems to serve is to question whether one is serving the vanities of ego imaginations, or, whether one is to be passionate for the Truth and being at peace with his own Mind, as the Mind is the Source of Life.

    Even to seek passion is still to satisfy the mind by using the mind to bring you life. But is delusion life? What do you receive from passions but what the mind has given? Shall we accept ego telling us that we are empty of life because we are not enough, or empty of life because we are not doing enough to indulge and lift our self-image. Shall we suffer to let ego drive us to judge and be critical of ourselves in self-doubt? Undoing Self-doubt is to trust that the Mind would provide for us knowing that it is not for us to satisfy the Mind, but for the Mind to satisfy us. If we recognize the appetites of ego we recognize that they are the opposite of the Truth, for as the Mind would satisfy, the appetites of ego are unending no matter ow many times they appear to be satisfied.

    howlobster
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Jeroen said:

    @Jeroen said:
    I came across a great quote from the movie Passengers…

    “If you live an ordinary life, all you will have are ordinary stories. You have to live a life of adventure.”

    This has kind of stuck with me, I think it is true to a large extent. If you choose to live an ordinary life your energy will remain stuck at a low pitch, to truly live life you have to be courageous and go out beyond your comfort zone.

    I agree - whenever I have got out of my comfort zone in the past good things have happened!

    Unfortunately I can't even get out of my postcode right now so patience is my strongest asset :)

    Shoshin1lobsterJeroen
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @Riddlewind said:
    Even to seek passion is still to satisfy the mind by using the mind to bring you life. But is delusion life?

    I think you are right in saying passion is not the answer, I think it is too fickle. But there are points in your life where you notice, I am not fulfilled, and there are also times when you think, I am feeling happy and complete.

    Being courageous and getting beyond your comfort zone are things that help you find a path to fulfilment, whereas being sensible tends to keep you living within self-imposed safe limits. Of course for some people deep fulfilment can be found within those limits but often it’s not the case.

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