Archive for May 17th, 2007

Rat Race

May 17, 2007

Reading the May-June 2007 issue of Outreach reminds me of something that I asked myself quite some time ago. Why are we here? What are we supposed to do here? What is living?

The second paragraph of the cover page article “Living Simply” goes like this…

Living simply frees up time and energy. Consider how much do you need to buy just to have the job you have. Let’s say you work in an office – you need to have certain clothes, drive a particular car and see the movies with your colleagues. All these things cost money. So you work hard to get the things you need to maintain your job. Quite a vicious circle. But the mental state involved with simplicity lacks the neurotic caring about what others think of us.

There is this book “Many Masters Many Lives” that provides an insight into why we are here. It was written by an American psychiatrist where one of his patients has the ability to recall her past lives when she was under hypnotization. His explaination bears a resemblance to Buddhism where we are born into this world to right the wrong that we have done in the past. In Buddhism, we are bound by our own actions, according to the Law of Karma.

What caught my attention in the above paragraph is the vicious cycle that was mentioned. It is something that I have in my mind and I was thinking if there is any other way besides the cycle?

You see, what is the main reason we go to work? To earn money. But where did a big chunk of the money goes? Car instalment. Petrol. Parking. Toll. Food. Clothes. And where are these things mostly used for? At work. In fact, I think if we are only taking home enough to pay for all these, with a small savings, I think we are doing a really dumb work. I have nothing against working, just that I felt sometimes the employees are being taken advantage of.

You work like a dog, sometimes until late. The company performance improves. The company makes more money every year. Your bosses keep on upgrading his cars. You see luxurius cars in the car park that probably you will need three generations to finish paying and you are still driving that crap that you still have a hard time paying the monthly instalment. But of course the bosses has higher liabities and risk. If anything bad happens to the company, they might be left with nothing. Well, it’s give and take I guess.

Anyway, I wouldn’t want to stay in the rat race for too long though.

*Outreach is a bi-monthly newsletter of the Buddhist Gem Fellowship.