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First World Issues

By Name Withheld on October 30, 2013 in Other

Photo: Osama Bin Laden

Photo: Osama Bin Laden

Hi guys, I wasn’t sure where to adequately reply to the ‘First World Issues’ article so hope this is okay?

I have deployed five times on military operations; three were to Afghanistan. Every time I return and get a glimpse of the Opera House I have tears of gratitude. To walk on the beach in just board shorts and bare feet is one of the best things I can ever do.

Whether people earn millions and have all the resources at their fingertips or have very little material, food and water, all find suffering proportional to their individual experiences. When I return form an area like Afghan, a blown tyre or traffic jam is funny, but to others it is heartache.

When I whinge because I am sleeping in a shipping container with three stinky men in Afghan then I see the devastation in the towns, my comfy secure hide-out seems nice. The point I am briefly trying to make is: it doesn’t matter if you’re a First World or Third World person; what matters is your state of mind.

I met some locals in Afghan who taught me much about happiness. Some even felt sorry for us! The West on its high horse thinks giving material, food and water (because of our egoic identity and guilt) will make ‘me’ feel better. Giving like this is nice, but how can anything in your life be okay if you are lost in thinking about yourself? It can’t.

Paradoxically, the more one becomes aware of their internal monologue (looking in) the more time and space there is for others.

We all seek happiness. The continual search for the one, or the house, or the car that will make me happy is illusory. Yes, it makes a difference if you eat well and earn enough, but we are looking for love, joy and happiness, not recognising it is in us already. No one, no other person can make it but you; not the perfect lover, not the big house, only you. When you’re happy and feeling great, it is your mind that cultivates it, nothing else. Most humans are lost in the thought, both First and Third Worlds. You drive your car form A to B not even remembering the journey because you were off in thought somewhere. Some people go from birth to death not seeing the journey; what a shame.

Next time you brush your teeth, see if you are there or are you off in a wonderland of thoughts comprising of wants and needs. Next time you are in conversation with a loved one, see if your ears hear or if you are preparing a response before they have even finished speaking! That is why a sunset is so nice, or the birth of a child, or the waves you surf, because in the moment it is happening, there is little thought about you and your story – hey presto, blissful moment! And this is where First World issues arise. Preservation of me and my story (like I am writing now). In health and fitness you can acquire all the knowledge until you are blue in the face but it is not until you practice it that you realise and see. The same is true for the mind.

So spread the love. See if you speak the same to a stranger as you would the king of a country. Say g’day to the bus driver and don’t worry if your voice is too loud and what others think. Open the door for others. Men, it’s okay to smile at a child when they are happy playing and laughing; you are not perverse. Still your mind and give the gift of listening when a person is speaking. Perform an act that does not require thanks or receipt. Don’t throw the word love around so cheaply. Smile and be more silly. You are life so bloody enjoy it. It can be taken so quickly. Get over yourselves.

Personally, I have much to learn and every day is a practice. I have many flaws but am practicing.