Have you noticed, as you get older, that the months have turned into weeks, and the years into months? Time passes relentlessly, and as we look back on all the things that we have done, where is the significance?

I was watching the white tailed deer that frequent our meditation center here in Texas, the bucks, does and fawns come and eat the corn that we put out for them during the dry spells in the heat of summer when there is no grass to eat. And one small deer, a young buck with a broken right front foot, actually eats carrots out of our hands!

It's October, rutting season now, so most of the deer have pretty much disappeared - they have more important things on their minds other than eating corn! They will mate this month, which involves bucks clashing horns over who gets to mate with the does, and in about 200 days, usually two fawns are born to each female. The fawns will be weaned by next October, and the cycle repeats itself. And . . . Is there a significance?

People have families, not too unlike the White Tailed Deer except Does leave their fawns behind after weaning and get on with their lives, whereas we attach to our kids and relatives for a lifetime. Generation after generation of White Tailed deer, fawns, does, bucks - mothers, fathers, kids, relatives. . . . But where is the significance to all of this?

Where is the significance in anything that we do; it all passes so quickly into anonymity. Yet, each and everything that we do seems so important. Is it really? Or is it that we have to justify our existence by our accomplishments, rather than simply living and eating and procreating as the White tailed deer do. What is it that drives us to live these complicated, harried lives when we could as easily lay back and let the world go by?

If we look closely, we will see that there is a discontent present all the time. It's like an itch. Just try coming out to our meditation center here in Texas and spend a few weeks by yourself in an isolated meditation cabin. You'll quickly come face to face with your discontent! Discontent is a restlessness that drives us and has been responsible for all human achievements . . .and all human mischief!

Two weeks in a meditation cabin, by yourself, no cell phone, books etc, just you and your inner thoughts, will change you. Have you ever tried it? This is how writers clear their minds when they get stale and the creative juices stop flowing. Only an empty mind is true creativity, because "you" can never be creative! Creativity just happens. A mind stuffed and jammed with overflowing facts and everyday thoughts - old, tired computer files based on the past - can never come close to being fundamentally creative.

But regardless of what we do and accomplish, or how creative we become, like the White tailed deer that only live about ten years, we are all spiraling toward oblivion.

Perhaps we are looking forward to heaven someday, but we don't know what that is. Our comfort zone is here on earth with our relationships, and no matter what we say, heaven would be very strange place for us in our present consciousness. So, what is the significance of heaven? Eternal life doing what? We are so accustomed to our discontent and constant activity (just look at your life!) how could we suddenly become angelic? That would take a tremendous shift in consciousness.

And it is this shift in consciousness is the true significance.

This shift in consciousness is the beginning of life at a completely different level of existence. But a shift of this magnitude cannot be accomplished by our mundane everyday activities, which are simply avenues of keeping the discontented mind busy and . . . spiraling into oblivion.

Our underlying discontent is always the elephant in the room. Discontent is the karma machine, the generator of repercussions, and never leads to peace. But who wants peace? This is where the next level of consciousness comes in, where peace becomes more desirable than discontent, which means that you can truly watch the world go by without a care while still fulfilling your responsibilities as a human being. And at the same time really be prepared for a heaven or future existence where peace replaces discontent.

And it is this shift in consciousness that signifies the end of our spiraling into oblivion.

Author's Bio: 

     
Anagarika eddie is a meditation teacher at the Dhammabucha Rocksprings Meditation Retreat Sanctuary
www.dhammarocksprings.org and author of A Year to Enlightenment. His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Thervada Buddhist monk. He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah, at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa, and at Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui. He had been a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has also practiced at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco.