Why?

Why is the single most prevalent word in my life.  When I was a kid, I used to ask why? non-stop until adults either got tired of answering or ran out of answers (by the way Dad you did pretty darn good — most people would give up under the constant barrage of questions).  My job requires me to ask why? all of the time.  And I ask why? about everything — religion, science, sports, celebrities — you name it.  If I see, hear, read about, or someone talks about something, I’m asking why?  You’d think that I would have figured out a lot by now, and in some ways maybe I have, but for every why? that is answered there seem to be at least 22.7 new whys? that are raised.  And so it goes.

I thought I would begin to address the why? of this journey — why would I be compelled to do this?  My first post alluded to some of the reasons that led up to this, but that is not the why?  The reasons leading up to this simply gave me some of the inspiration and the circumstances to do this.  The why? are the reasons why I want to pursue this journey.  Importantly, this is not about what I don’t want — this isn’t about running away from anything.  In fact, it is the opposite — it is facing some things head-on and living life more in line with my wants and values.  The why? includes, in no particular order:

  • Leading a simpler life
  • Being less focused on material items and modern “comforts”
  • Seeing family and friends back home more often
  • Spending more time communing with nature
  • Reducing my environmental footprint
  • Reducing expenses
  • Increasing self-reliance
  • Having more time for exercise
  • Having more time for spiritual practice (i.e., meditation, contemplation, reading)
  • Gaining perspective (from seeing new places, meeting new people, learning new things)
  • A change of scenery / breath of fresh air
  • Gaining freedom

This is both a way of enjoying simple pleasures while also continuing my search for the infinite.  Heading out into homelessness as a wandering contemplative was one of the cornerstones of the Buddha’s life.  Buddha attained self-enlightenment while meditating under the Bodhi tree, and he often recommends to find a nice quiet spot out in nature for deep meditation.  I know from the past that the times I have been the most centered and serene have occurred outdoors.  I am excited to find out what will happen when I devote more time to this pursuit.

Will it turn into a lifestyle rather than a sojourn?  I’m curious to find out!  I hope so, but even if this doesn’t last a long time I have no doubt that it will be an incredible learning experience.  I leave you with a song that expresses very well the joy of what I’m feeling with this decision. Toad the Wet Sprocket is one of my favorite bands of all time.  Now that I’m a little more educated on the subject, I realize how many of their songs have Buddhist themes.  The song below, Throw It All Away, is to me an anthem about the renunciation of material possessions, the typical business of modern life, and our mental hangups that lead to our own suffering.  I love the interplay between melancholy introspection and joy at a fresh start.  What a great song and inspiration!

[Plus, how often do you hear sycophantic in a song?  That’s the big word of the day!  A sycophant is “a servile self-seeker who attempts to win favor by flattering influential people” (yes I had to look it up 🙂 )].

“Throw It All Away”

Take your cautionary tales
And take your incremental gain
And all the sycophantic games
And throw ’em all away

Burn your tv in your yard
And gather ’round it with your friends
And warm your hands upon the fire
And start again

Take the story you’ve been sold
The lies that justify the pain
The guilt that weighs upon your soul
And throw ’em all away

Tear up the calendar you bought
And throw the pieces to the sky
Confetti falling down like rain
Like a parade to usher in your life

Take the dreams that should’ve died
The ones that kept you lying awake
When you should’ve been all right
And throw ’em all away

With the time i waste on the life i never had
I could’ve turned myself into a better man

There is nothing you can buy
And there is nothing you can save
To fill the hole inside your heart
So throw it all away

Help me to empty out this house
The wool i’ve gathered all these days
And thought i couldn’t do without
And throw it all away

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This entry was posted in Prelude / Getting Ready for the Road, Sources of Inspiration and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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