“Think of the numberless persons and things that so excited you in the past. What happened?
In every single instance they ended up causing you suffering, or boredom, did they not? It is absolutely essential that you see this because till you do, there is no question of your ever finding the kingdom of joy.” – Anthony DeMello
Life is boring about 75% of the time, give or take 10%. There, I said it.
No? You don’t agree? Thought experiment: Think about the redundant dialogue you exchange with your co-worker every morning. Probably goes something like, “Hey, how’s it going, Mark?” Guaranteed, four out of five times, Mark’s bitch-ass response is, “same shit, different day” with an awkward little laugh that lets you know he’s dead inside. I mean, am I wrong?
This is because life is boring! (Mostly).
No way bro, I love life. Yeah, well me too asshole.
Loving life does not mean that our day to day existence isn’t boring. Additionally, life being boring does not mean that it’s a bad thing. I’m not here to rag on life. I actually do love it, despite how this blog may be coming off. But the simple truth is that not being aware of this can royally fuck up our worlds. As Anthony DeMello said in the opening quote, ” -it’s absolutely essential that we see this” and noticing myself getting caught in similar traps, I could not agree more. That being said, our first order of business is understanding that we can never escape the mundane, so why not learn to love it?
Falling in Love With the Mundane
If we stop to think about it, would our lives not be better if we got used to the mundane––or should I say, fell in love with it? We want everything in life to be “sexy” or thrilling, but the fact of the matter is the things we want most in life, aren’t fundamentally sexy. . . spoiler alert.
Do you want a ton of money? Then know what to invest in and let your money grow for 30 years. Boring. Want a relationship that lasts 20+ years? Mind-blowing sex is the answ––you thought. Relationships that make it 20+ years over process the shit out of everything. Boring times two. Plus, a major bummer (but mind-blowing sex probably wouldn’t hurt). And want a nice toned body? Then drop the pancakes for eggs, donuts for apples, pizza for salad, and get off your ass and work for it. What the fuck?
There’s nothing sexy about the mundane, unfortunately. But this is the money shot, baby! And no, I am not talking about blowing loads.
Sure, life is beautiful and has its moments making us thankful to be here. But that’s the easy part. The hard part is learning to fall in love with the unsexy, monotonous side because this is the reality that we’re actually living in a majority of the time. We’re not enjoying a tropical vacation once a month, or having exciting dirty sex all the time, or getting that car we’ve had our eye on, or wasting $1,000 on a pair of shoes. Even if we were, you know what happens in each and everyone of those scenarios? The honeymoon phase has to end at some point.
Exciting dirty sex with your new girlfriend? That has turned into a thing of the past and you can only hope that she gives you a blowjob this month. That dream car that you’ve always wanted? It instantly looks like a piece of shit once the new model drops. And those $1,000 shoes? Firstly, maybe let’s not spend $1,000 on a pair of shoes? (Best part is, I’ve spent over $4,000 on collecting shoes back in the day, so who is the hypocritical asshole now? This guy.) Secondly, sooner or later you’re bound to step in dog shit. Murphy’s law. I don’t make these things up.
By now you’re probably thinking “what a gloomy start to this blog you asshole,” and you could not be more right. I am an asshole, but I like to think of myself as an optimistic, pessimist. It helps me sleep at night.
On a more serious note though, if you can overlook my asshole-ry, I’ve been finding myself getting bummed out over real dark shit this past year. In those moments, the one thing that continues to get me out of the trenches is finding the hidden silver lining in each scenario. I’m giving you the heads up now, that the start of my next couple of blogs will be the equivalent of stepping in dog shit as you walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night. But, by the end––if I do my job correctly––all of them should be equally as awesome as coming back to bed only to find out that that once a month blowjob is about to go down. #Winning
The Hedonic Treadmill
“A true saying it is, ‘Desire hath no rest; is infinite in itself, endless; and as one calls it, a perpetual rack, or horse-mill, according to Austin, still going round as in a ring.” – Robert Burton
About a year ago (yes, this blog is long overdue) I had a friend ask me while rock climbing, what I thought about life and I told him, “honestly, not to be so negative, but it’s kind of boring. It’s the same shit day after day with sporadic moments of awesomeness occasionally thrown into the mix.”
Thinking I had just lost a friend with that answer, I asked him what he thought. “Yeah, I agree,” he answered. Phew, misery loves company. But, because he’s a better human being than I, he had more to say. “Think about it though, look at all the people who come rock climbing for their first time and are captivated, but to us, it’s just another Wednesday because we practically live here.”
My friends, this is the hedonic treadmill in action.
If you’ve never heard of the phrase “hedonic treadmill” or “hedonic adaptation,” allow me to explain. Basically, everything that was once shiny and sparkly will soon become dull––yes, even your brand new, smokin’ hot, Brazilian girlfriend. Whatever we chase in life to make us happy, or to distract us from our woes, most likely will, but only for a short period of time, until we come back down to our baseline level of happiness. In time, without fail, we get bored of that person, place, or thing and begin to look for the next best thing.
Ultimately, if we’re not aware of this basic human principle, we can find ourselves trapped in a never-ending cycle. This is when we start to see those insidious thoughts creep up from the shadows; “Master, you need the new 2020 Mercedes, the 2019 already has 3,000 miles on it, it’s no good.” “Master, I know you just went on a shopping spree, but you don’t have anything to wear this weekend.” “Master, she snores in her sleep, there’s another one out there just like her who doesn’t snore and will have sex seven days a week. I know it to be true, Master.”
Deep down we know this is all bullshit, yet we can’t help but continue to pursue that next craving. Constantly we think, “This is it! this is what I’ve been looking for!” But it’s not, it never is.
What we have to understand is that there’s hidden beauty in the dullness that we need to stop over-looking.
With any good end of a honeymoon phase comes true love in the years and months to follow. We watch that love turn into honoring, admiration, and appreciation. You can say the highest form of respect for whatever that thing may be––career, relationship, house, hobby, whatever. This is essentially what we want––to be content long after the honeymoon phase is gone, right?
So why then, is it so hard to actually be content?
Because it’s boring, duh. True, but let’s dig deeper.
Do you think the feeling of boredom is really what gets to us? No, no, no. It’s what lies underneath that feeling of boredom that rattles us. See, once that shiny allure that hooked us in the first place becomes dull, or everything quiets down and there are no more distractions (caffeine, sex, sugar, video games, nicotine, working out, working, drugs, alcohol) we’re now left alone with ourselves.
We desire more, trying to escape our boredom and ourselves, yet that desire only leads to suffering.
“This cycle of chasing the thrill, achieving the thrill, being bored with the thrill, is the cycle that we all go through.” – Aubrey Marcus
Suffering and Desire
Quick breakdown of the “Four Noble Truths of Buddhism” because my homeboy Sidd (Siddhartha Gautama A.K.A. the fucking Buddha for the uninitiated) was onto something.
- Life is suffering, dog – Just being human is suffering, it’s inevitable (Birth, death, loss, sickness, trauma).
- The cause of suffering is desire, dog.
- There is an end to suffering through the removal of desire, dog.
- To remove desire, follow the Eightfold Path, dog (Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Concentration, Right Mindfulness).
I believe, as we begin unwrapping the layers, trying to figure out what causes this whole “suffering and desire dilemma,” we start to notice that there’s a two-part system.
1. A lack of self-love. We suffer because we desire. We desire because we want to escape our boredom. We want to escape our boredom because we’re not content with ourselves or don’t feel like we’re enough. It’s that simple. (It’s actually not that simple and extremely complicated, but when you get past all the big words and psychological studies, it really is that simple.)
2. Keeping up with the Joneses in a society that is based on marketing and advertising. This is not a true root cause of suffering, but it ties in perfectly with our lack of self-love and it’s why I believe a lot of people are experiencing suffering on a greater scale in this day in age.
Keeping up with the Joneses only magnifies our feelings of inadequacy and these major companies know that. They know exactly where our pain is and how to target it. In return, that makes us feel like we need to buy more shit, or look like these Instagram models, or have that dream “fill in the blank” to be enough. It turns into this vicious, never-ending cycle that makes it impossible to break out of without conscious awareness.
I guess in the end I wrote this blog because when my friend asked me that question and we both agreed that life is pretty boring, it made me wonder, “should there be more to this?” Well, the answer is yes and no, and I’ll end this here.
I’m not saying, don’t set goals, don’t take exotic vacations, don’t date around nor buy nice things. Do that line of cocaine off a striper’s ass in your Gucci shirt. That’s why we’re here right? (You get what I mean . . . fuck off).
But, what I am saying is, be honest with yourself. Look at what is driving you to obtain your goals. Get curious about why you can’t sit in silence for more than fifteen minutes. What is telling you to buy those $1,000 pair of shoes or jump from relationship to relationship? Learn to spot the difference between being truly unhappy, versus just being bored. And fuck, know that that’s okay because wanting more would only turn into more mundane, and that more mundane leads us right back on the treadmill.
In short, do these drives control you, or are you in control of them? Who’s really running the ship here?
Edited by: Patrica Hendriks