Samsara is being busy!

I am very goal oriented and like to be busy doing things. I get a lot of satisfaction from getting things accomplished. Whenever something is wrong, I want to fix it! In a way that’s good, but the problem is that there is always something wrong. As soon as I fix one problem or finish a project the next one pops up. It’s a habit. I conditioned my mind to look for things to do. I realize I need to be careful that going from one project to the next doesn’t take up my whole life.

In the Buddhist teachings our present existence is called ‘samsara.’ The word samsara means ‘cyclic existence,’ which refers to going round from one life to the next, like a bee caught in a glass jar. I have also heard it explained that samsara does not mean that life itself is ‘bad,’ but rather that it refers to our neurotic way of living and relating to it. So samsara means being imprisoned in a way of living and relating to life that is not in accord with how things are and from which there is no escape because it endlessly perpetuates itself. The great master Longchenpa described samsara as a circle, without beginning and end and going on forever. It may seem impossible to get out of this situation, but there is one solution. If we are able to cut the circle, it stops.

When I get too busy, I try to remind myself that I need to learn to simply stop. At such times, I need to remember that whatever seems so important can actually wait. The world will not come to an end if I don’t get everything done today! I remember times when I was very busy with urgent matters and deadlines and got sick or something happened that prevented me from completing these things. It always worked out OK. There was always a solution. The pressure and stress only gets created by my rigid and neurotic mind. I want to learn to remember this more.

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One Response to Samsara is being busy!

  1. Thanks so much for posting this, Bernie. I am an expert at being busy too, and it is sometimes so hard to remember that we can just take a step back. What helps me a lot in taking a step back is to keep dedicating whatever I do to the benefit of beings. Then the “I” is taken out of it, and it is no longer neurotic. How lucky we are to have the teachings…

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