I can’t believe I’ve been so stupid for so long. Literally.
Today I’ve been reading some Osho (when I should’ve been reading school-related-shit) and it hit me like a bat on the head.
I’ve been conditioned OVER and OVER to be SOMEBODY. Somebody important, to leave a mark in the world. Someone famous, known for some big discovery, an eventual saint or planet-savior. Anyway, making my name a legend.
This conditioning began from childhood and continues ruthlessly. The conditioning goes like ‘If you don’t do what you’re being told you’re going to be persecuted’. And basically, it’s applied everywhere – from my relationships with parents, women, friends to school and university. In order to survive I had to follow the rules – and so I became a social animal – caged in rules and dogmas.
But then something interesting happens. As I become more and more powerful I start to observe the internal shit that piled up in these years. The external conditioning isn’t the cause – it’s just a reminder that I’ve been educated in such a way to conform.
What do I mean by that? Study. Marry. Have kids. Be ambitious. Strive to have LOTS AND LOTS OF MONEY. Sacrifice yourself. Don’t think for yourself – listen to those wiser than you. Strive to be powerful (in an external way).
Sounds familiar? Did you REALLY give any though to it until now?
I invested my precious life in things that I haven’t been asked for. Nobody asked me ‘Dear Iulian, how do you want to live your life? Do you want to help people, make money, maybe go travel the world?’. Nobody did this and there are a lot of reasons to do so.
First: the conditioning has been around for decades. Not since my parents but since my great-great-g(?)-parents. Very few people really ask themselves – what the fuck am I really doing? They just follow the rules as best as they can. They want to survive with as little hassle as possible. I understand. It’s ok. It’s the best they could at the moment.
Second one: if I wasn’t conditioned I couldn’t be controlled. I would ask a lot of uncomfortable questions – questioning authority, the very way I live and the world I live in. I wouldn’t buy things that are in the ads, I wouldn’t occupy my mind chasing money or fame or women, I wouldn’t be a slave to meaningless impulses. I wouldn’t be a sheep that everyone wants to. People don’t want rebels – they’re uncomfortable to live with.
Third: EGO. In a world where competition rules I feel great. Chase more and more money. Chase the best women. Be the best you can be. Be a superstar. Be famous. The questions still remains unasked – WHY? Because that’s how you keep yourself in a rollercoaster – tense, unhappy, always thinking about something else than the present. Even if you win the rat race, you still remain a rat. You’ll still be unconscious, an ambitious sheep looking for the next hit of achievement to make you a more important sheep.
That’s why I like to hit my ego. Hard. Gain as much rejection, shame and failures as possible. That’s how I developed tough skin – I just don’t take it personal any more. I don’t care. And it boggles my mind how much of my life I’ve dedicated to do shit that makes me feel important. And it scares the shit out of me to see people doing a lot of things for the same things. (ESPECIALLY in med school)
I’ve been lied all my life. Then I started to lie to myself. More, better, faster, stronger. I’m not good enough – I need to better myself. Better, bigger, anything but this. Not accepting who I am leads me to a constant external race. A never-ending one, if I’m not conscious enough to see it.
It’s only now, after I dove deep into the trap that I can see its walls. If I take a step back, relax and breathe I see it all. It’s all designed to keep me unhappy and ignorant. Because if I would be happy, I wouldn’t strive for anything particular. I won’t be so easily controlled. I can influence others too and then I would become a public menace. We don’t want that, do we?
It’s incredibly subtle and deeply rooted that it takes a lot of introspection to observe it. It’s the perfect prison – one you can’t see, smell or touch.
This is very tied to the definition of success. There’s a very nice story…
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “only a little while.”
The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life.”
The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”
“But what then?”
The American laughed and said that’s the best part. “When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”
“Millions.. Then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
I sometimes give thought to this. I accomplish everything I set out for. I blaze through everything and arrive at the end, saving the world and with all the lessons learnt. What I would do then?
Exhale. Relax. Enjoy life as it is without any struggle.
Why wouldn’t do this now? Why should I wait for the end?
I don’t need lots of money. I don’t need fame, the most beautiful women or to be a superstar. I don’t need permission to do whatever I wish.
And the rabbit hole goes deeper and deeper…