Several years back, I can recall being in a state of abject boredom. At the time, I was in school and working nights and weekends at the downtown Hilton. I was taking 15-17 credit hours and working 30-40 hours per week; so basically I had very little life outside of those two things.
It was a life lived in limbo; a life lived working almost constantly for the future promise it would bring, not so much for the present; so I tended to think.
The hours I spent there at the hotel became easier as time went on, as I learned how to deal with the situations I had to deal with in that line of work; eventually everything took very little thought or effort, even in school. Previously I would have appreciated skating along in an low-effort kind of existence; but it didn’t work very well for me. The truth of this became clearer with each passing cycle.
I started noticing all of the patterns of behavior everywhere: in the guests, in the revolving door of co-workers, in the conventions; it all became so lifeless and predictable.
At school I’d notice the same things too: all of the robotic students attending their classes, most of them not caring about really learning anything; but merely looking to pass the next test, so they could get that piece of paper; not truly being in the present moment.
They’d study to pass tests, then forget, copy each other’s homework assignments, copy each other’s project assignments; not caring about a truly enlightening experience. If you asked real questions in class, then they’d look at you with contempt, wishing only to regurgitate the required material, so they can get back to their mindless routine. It seemed to be without much in the way of substance.
Most of the teachers, though not all, were reading off of yellowed notes; their lesson had long since lost their passion. The students in their classes rarely took an interest and there never was any incentive, in their understanding at least, to try anything new or innovative. How sad it all was.
Seldom was a meaningful contact made which didn’t involve some sort of hollow self interest, drudgery or was rigidly structured by some sort of societal convention.
Everything in that world was part of one silly game after another, which everyone unknowingly played; the results of which amounted to little more than superficial ego-based pursuits; seeking attachment, attainment, recognition, etc.
It seemed as if everyone was setting up the rest of their lives, without the slightest clue who they are or where they were going. They “wanted” all of these things: a degree, a spouse, kids, a house, a career; but they could never really say why they wanted these things. It’s just the way it had always been done.
To me, it was like living in a land of automata, where nothing and no-one had much of a conscious. Any attempt to interject something different was either frowned upon or ignored altogether. Only the comforting hum of the celestial wheel gave me solace during those bittersweet periods of reflection which occur from time to time.
I began the realization that I wasn’t challenging myself enough, despite the challenge of moving through all of the daily drudgery. So I sought to dig deeper, to be more of an explorer in my own mind and in the world around me.
In the process of all of this, I feel as if I became more enlightened and it set me out on the path to uncover greater mysteries, as well as to meet the people who would carry me towards greater intrigues. It also taught me that there is no shortage of mysteries to explore. In our minds, in the universe around us and in the minds of others; there are countless treasures which none have unearthed.
At whatever stage you are at, there are always challenges which can make you a better, more aware, more principled, individual. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it is that there is always a new horizon to pursue.
In life and in death, the celestial wheel will continue eternally; bringing about new opportunities which we can take, or pass over. How we meet the opportunities brought about by the wheel, will determine the true product of our lives. We are not here to gain money, gain influence, achieve acceptance by others, or any of the other illusions. What we are left with, after everything turns to dust and blows away, is either being a better, more conscious, more enlightened individual; or being the same or worse than when we entered this cycle. Each rotation of the wheel, each lifetime, is an opportunity to move up or down on the sliding scale of enlightenment.