Vow of Happiness
For some, an alternative way of life is better than a conventional way of slavery. Different ways of life fit different needs and circumstances. Often ‘regular’ jobs do not cut it for imaginative free-thinking free-spirits. Sure some people are lazy, and do not want to do anything, not even for themselves. However there are many people that do plenty of work for free, or very little pay; but they are happier than working at something they do not like, or for someone they do not like. The most expensive college is not the answer, nor is the highest paying job; since colleges get you in massive debt most of the time, and you could spend your whole life trying to hunt down the ‘highest paying miracle job’, and never be happy with what you have.
Therefore I welcome others to try to not bully other people ‘to try and get a better job’, ‘go back to school to get a better job’, or not even acknowledge that people have jobs at all; when in fact they often do have jobs. Jobs and careers are not always conventional, and some of us want human rights like a living wage for being who we are warts and all. If you can pay your bills, or have them covered by a benefactor, and you are not hurting anyone, and you are best fitted for doing work that does not pay very much; that is ok. In fact it might even be good, and life fulfilling. If people get high paying jobs, good for them; but if they do not want to do so for various reasons, perhaps they should not; and I say stop pressuring them, and check your own stress.
When looking for happiness, find satisfaction with your achievements; your highest status is your most humble. Zen will reduce complexity to a oneness with singular and collective identity. As the Dalai Lama says in ‘Looking for Happiness’, “I am a simple Buddhist monk; no more, no less”. While he may be exaggerating the simplicity of his ‘being’ in reality, his rationality often focuses on reducing the stress and burden of riches and power, by realizing that most people are happier with less; which tends to lead to advice for giving up responsibility which distracts from spiritual service. Buddhism often encourages us to ‘let go’ of burdens we carry, when they are too heavy.
Dean Hsu-Jen Huang at SCAD told me the tale of the monk and his apprentice who helped a woman across a river. The apprentice felt his master held the woman inappropriately. In response the older wiser monk said “I left the woman at the river. Why do you still carry her?” In other words, “I put my mental baggage down a while ago; why do you still cling to that problem?”
Take a vow of happiness; no matter poverty or wealth.