Monday, March 28, 2005

Lesson Learned

by Skald

All travel is inner travel.

Indeed it is. Sooner or later a traveller is forced by events to turn inward. S/he hits an insurmountable obstacle.... is stricken with disease... wears down from fatigue... or suffers from loneliness. At that point, the outward journey becomes secondary.

Ive reached that stage in Japan. Its clear this journey is much more about me, my character, my needs, and my limitations than it is about living in Hiroshima. This experience is teaching me new things about myself... and reminding me of things I had forgotten.

First and foremost I have learned an important truth about myself: IM LAZY. Call it a flaw. Call it inspired Taoism. Call it whatever. Its the truth. I simply hate to work. Much of my life has followed a simple formula- the more I work the less happy I am, the less I work the more happy I am. Im fond of elaborate attacks on wage slavery, capitalism, and the like... but maybe its not the system. Maybe its just me. Maybe Im just lazier than most people.

Years ago I might have worried about this... bemoaned it as a flaw I must correct. But I dont view it as a flaw... nor necessarily as a strength. Its just the way I am... my nature. Really, I have no reason to change it, because its much easier to just accept it and adapt.

Ive realized that much trouble in my life was created because I fought against my nature. I tried to force myself to work more than I could tolerate, I tried to force a relationship that clearly was counterproductive, I struggled against someone instead of letting go, I strove to maintain an opinion after its usefulness had expired.

Each of these actions triggered misery.

The tough part is having the clarity of mind to realize what you are doing. Its easy to forget and lose awareness. Buddhists, in fact, identify this is the primary source of human suffering-- forgetting (ignorance).

Again and again we forget. Again and again we suffer as a result. If we are lucky, at some point we realize what we are doing. We become aware and suffering subsides. Then we get fat and happy and forget again. Looked at from a distance, its quite comical.

People often say //dont make the same mistake twice//. But I seem to make the same mistake five, six, seven times before the lesson sinks in.

All travel is inner travel. And all knowledge is self-knowledge.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

If I was you and I realized I'd caved in and somehow suckered myself into wage slavery again , I'd be looking for the exit door pretty fucking quick. Them Japanese kids can find some other sucker to teach them English anyhow. Knowing English won't be worth fuck all to them pretty soon anyways, once the oil and the power start to fizzle out !!
(Everything is proceeding according to plan regarding my spring nomadic journey departure - woo hooo!)
Dan ('Sunwalker')

Anonymous said...

I'm aware you mentioned how much you love teaching, but what you're stuck in still looks alot like wage slavery to me. And it's still a form of direct participation in this goddamned messed up insane asylum/global labour prison we call 'civilization'.
Dan ('Sunwalker')

AJ said...

Laziness & Cash

Ha! Nice comments Dan, and straight to the point. You mention I should "realize Id caved in and suckered myself into wage slavery again".

Believe me, I realize it!! My dilemma is Im dead broke. So whether by wage slavery, part time work, stealing, selling drugs, prostitution, or begging... I need to replenish the cash.

Frankly, none of the above are great. Do I work part time but save nothing (thus no cash for travel.. for a plane ticket to South America,... etc.)? Do I beg (Im a believer in self reliance so am not too fond of that idea)???

The thing is, Im a "disciplined hedonist" at heart. That means I want to enjoy life. Im not one to suffer unduly for an opinion. This hobopoet thing has got to be fun, not gruelling. I just dont have the constitution for hardcore rail-hopping, begging, and the like.

My preferred lifestyle.. what constitutes "enough" for me, is a students lifestyle: tiny apartment or a van, cash for coffee shops and cheap cafes,... that sort of thing.

While that doesnt take much cash, it does take some.. especially when Im wanting to get a plane ticket to another part of the world.

So you are right... Im a goddam wage slave at the moment. My strategic choice is how long to extend it... how long to rake in and save cash in order to fund future excursions. One month of working here will fund about three months of freedom (with my current lifestyle).

Im not sure how long Ill stick it out. Just taking it week by week. Once I have some cash in pocket, Ill have a lot more options.

Thanks, as always, for the blunt and passionate comments! Cant wait till you hit the road and tell us of your adventures!

AJ/Skald

Anonymous said...

Hi AJ, I was well aware you'd realized what you'd gotten into even when you first got the job. Well f you're truly stuck in this wageslaving, well at least you're doing what you enjoy, and I hope it's as short as possible. I know, maybe you can at least teach them kids a thing or two besides English. Like alot of the things you've written on this site! Just wait towards the end, so even if your bosses complain and fire you. it won't matter cause you'd be done anyways! Japan definitely needs less workaholics, less busy-ness more laziness, more wandering, more 'following bliss'... !!! :)