This morning during my early morning Puja, I found myself responding to a line from the Precepts about - 'abandoning covetousness for tranquility'. I've been turning this phrase over in my mind. What it means 'to covet', its a form of craving, but even that doesn't quite capture the full depths of it. Its about wanting to imbibe and take something completely into ones possession, it could be materially, but I'm thinking more along the lines of into one's Self - possession, absorbing something completely into ones Self-identity.
Why does this strike me so strongly now? Well, its been quite a physically and emotionally demanding week. On Tuesday I met with Keturaja, to discuss what the likely possibilities were for work at windhorse, post Christmas. The options were no surprise. But the next day I found my emotional mood darkening, and fell to reflecting rather pessimistically upon these future prospects - is this what its come to? - unsurprisingly I became somewhat despondent. Though I've known the range of options and my degree of choice have narrowed now I'm in my Fifties, I believe emotionally I'd not really clocked it fully. Well this week I think I clocked it 100%. Not at all comfortably, I didn't want to accept it, at all. I raged against the dieing of the light, the light of possibilities. When i discussed this with Janasalin and Saddharaja, they both put it to me quite bluntly and clearly - the work situation I'm in at windhorse is the best I'm gonna get. Previously I been unconsciously living in an imaginary world where everything might still be possible, given the intervention of a Fairy Godmother. Always coveting something else, that's much better than what I currently have, more satisfying, less exhausting, ultimately creatively fulfilling. Being a warehouse picker and part-time kitchen assistant is not what I covet, it doesn't boost my ego, butter up my self- esteem or self- identity. This sort of coveting has never led to tranquility or contentment, only its opposite.
At this stage in my reflections I don't believe this means abandoning writing or painting, but more re-framing the expectations I have of them, what I believe they can provide for me. The simple life, that thing I still aspire to, seems free of such internal conflicts and expectant waiting. What can make life so tangled and complicated to unravel are the conflicting emotional responses we have, when one covets but does not get. Personal fulfillment, or vocation are highly prized things in the materialist and nihilistic world we live in, the ultimate aim of life. All I will say is, that the from the moment I started contemplating on 'abandoning covetousness', its felt like this is something of much truer value.