16. Cloud Castle

March 25th 2020, Wednesday

Dear Blog,

I am starting to feel the impact of staying at home all the time without going out, then I remembered how it must have been harder for the extraverts. They by definition get their energy from talking to people whereas introverts need to be alone to recharge. But in times like this, I think it is fair to say that everyone is experiencing the impact of the social isolation of not being to talk to real people face to face. Glad we have social media now, right?

I have one more exam on Friday but I have not been studying. I was busy reading other books to relieve my anxiety. Some might argue that reading is the best kind of procrastination. Problem is, are the tasks that you are running away from really worth your time?

Any successful person has to decide what to do in part by deciding what not to do.

I can’t have everything. You have to let go of your perfectionist tendencies. You are not a child anymore. Do not spend most of your energy putting out fires, thinking something bad is going to happen to you. Real suffering comes from not doing the tasks that truly matter to you.

Loneliness never really bothered me, unless lust comes along. For the last 2 days, I have been taken over by strong sexual desires and forgot my mindfulness practice. I simply became agitated and unable to focus.

One virtue of mindfulness meditation is that experiencing your feelings with care and clarity, rather than following them reflexively and uncritically, lets you choose which one to follow — like, say, joy, delight, and laugh. And this selective engagement with feelings, this weakened obedience to them, can in principle include the feelings that shape the essence we see in things and people.

— Robert Wright, “Why Buddhism Is True”

According to a lovely video on YouTube, there can a deep analysis behind what kind of people turns one on. Feel free to watch the following video, with timestamps embedded where he starts by talking about a painting. The entire video is rather illuminating if you have time to watch it at its entirety.


This quote from the video stuck with me:

When trying to analyse what turns us on, ask “what is missing in us?” The person who turns us on, is going to contain within them, all sorts of psychological traits which we are attracted to, but slightly short of.

— Alain de Botton

Looking back at all the boys that I ever had a crush on, I can start to see the common thread that lies behind their appeals. That’s why I also include the Robert Wright quote above. We have a tendency to attribute essence into things and people. When a boy turns me on, it’s not just the body, but also the hidden essence that might satisfy my missing needs, an essence that is the product of my feelings, but not the reality.

Know all things to be like this:
A mirage, a cloud castle,
A dream, an apparition,
Without essence, but with qualities that can be seen.

— from Samadhiraja Sutra

I am certainly not suggesting that I should become a monk and cut the cord from worldly desires altogether. I am simply trying to have a more accurate understanding of reality, and not be a slave to my transient feelings. When love comes in my way, I shall remember to be brave.

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

— Rumi

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