Reply To: Readers Ask: If I Am the Universe, Why Do I Have to Pay Bills?

/////Reply To: Readers Ask: If I Am the Universe, Why Do I Have to Pay Bills?
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Why Do I Have to Pay Bills?

Why wouldn’t you WANT to?! Whenever you say “have to”, ask yourself what it would take to get to “want to” or “get to”. Imagine NOT being able to pay the bills.

Sumit, Dr. Chopra spoke of needs. This might not be obvious, but every pleasure in life involves satisfying a need, and all suffering in life involves not being able to satisfy a need.

For example, imagine enjoying a fine dinner, with a variety of delicious, mouth-watering foods served up in an attractive and appetizing way. You would never enjoy such a thing if there were no such thing as hunger, and hunger implies starvation. You would never enjoy rest and relaxation if there were no such thing as exertion. And oddly enough, your body actually needs both! You need relaxation AND challenge.

We tend to think of pleasures as though they could exist without their corresponding needs, but that’s because we’re trying to avoid looking at the whole picture because we are afraid.

Birth implies death. Health implies illness. Pleasure implies suffering. Abundance implies poverty. Good companions imply loneliness.

This isn’t as bad as it sounds. Have you ever heard the story of the Island of the Lotus eaters? The lotus-eaters sit under Lote trees, eating lote fruits. That’s pretty much their whole life. They have a very, very easy life, with no challenges. It’s also boring, and presumably their brains are atrophying. Life is all about responding to challenges.

Death implies birth. Illness implies health. Suffering implies pleasure. Poverty implies abundance. Loneliness implies good companions.

Imagine inviting your friends over to play a game. Maybe something like Monopoly. Is everybody glum because they know that everybody is going to go bankrupt except the winner? No. They find other reasons to enjoy THE GAME ITSELF. Winning is fun but so is playing.

If you cease worrying about how the “game” (life) is going to end, or about the times when the game is going against you, you can learn to enjoy it again. Dr. Chopra’s teachings are about NOT thinking of yourself as being this time-bound being, so that you can stop worrying and re-direct your attention to enjoying THIS PRECIOUS LIVING MOMENT as you play the game.

when I show up at work, I can’t relate your teaching in day to day life

Is the problem that you don’t know how to apply Dr. Chopra’s teachings, or that you don’t take delight in your work? Or is it something else?

If the problem is not taking delight in your work, it’s probably the same thing as playing the game: you need to enjoy the game itself–the process of living (which is all that life is…if nothing’s happening, you’re not alive!). Not just the final result, which might not even be visible to you. Think about people who work on projects that take several lifetimes, who will never live to see success! They must take satisfaction in the work itself.

I don’t know where you work, but most jobs involve solving someone else’s problems (if not, there’s your problem!), in exchange for them solving our problems by giving us money to pay our bills. You should be taking delight in the satisfaction of your needs. HURRAY, I HAVE A JOB! I am grateful that I am not unemployed!

And you should ALSO be taking delight in the game itself.

Here is something that might help: don’t get upset over failures or obstacles. Think of each thing that goes wrong at work as being information that tells you something, and just respond to the feedback that you’re getting. If the boss yells at you one day, don’t think “I can’t be happy, because the boss withheld approval from me”. Don’t let your mood be a function of his. Think “I learned something I needed to know. Now I need to do this a different way to make my boss happy”, and then find reasons to be happy other than his approval. Once things go better, take satisfaction in satisfying the need, but also keep enjoying the process itself.

Does that make sense?

All the best.

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