Buddhist philosophy claims we have complete control over the self. In fact, the basic idea of “self,” commonly thought of as the “soul” does not exist in the philosophy. Being brought up under different beliefs, the claim does come as a clash. The reluctance to entirely accept such principle has at its core two basic beliefs.
I believe in the existence of greater forces. Call it the power of the universe if you will, but once an idea is throw out there, a response usually follows – in some way or another. If anything, the complete denial of the self would signify a direct hit against this conception. In the same manner we credit outside forces for our success, we blame it for our fails. This is not to say Buddhism completely denies the existence of such forces, but it clearly states that individuals, as a combination of all sensorial experiences, are in complete control of cause and consequence. Didn’t get the job? Some choose to remain optimistic and blame it on the ever-culpable fate; others might personally take responsibility for the fail.
For one second, image body and self as separate entities. To do so, is to believe in the existence of a great being – a soul. Now, imagine the physical body as a simple cause and effect generated by the sixth sensorial experience – the brain. What do you get?
Although religion has a significant role in non-profit struggles, I have tried to maintain it separated from the project. I have my own beliefs (just like anyone else), which I rather keep to a personal level. Thus, if this is not about religion, what is the exact connection among the self, Buddhism and the project? Opportunities. With so many contrasts around the world, it does make you wonder about these greater forces. Why do some have it easier than others? Is it just pure luck? Isn’t luck itself an uncontrollable force? But then again, isn’t luck directly related to the very idea of self? Some have it. Some don’t. Luck can also be interpreted as destiny. If it is all meant to be, wouldn’t it be easier to just wait for destiny to approach the self, rather than having the self fighting for its destiny?
We struggle on a daily basis – different types of struggles. Some will never be able to change their fights; a few will tussle with minimum efforts, whereas others will never join the struggle. I expect to achieve several goals, but unfortunately they are distant from my reach and dependent on particular opportunities (or so, I fatefully believe). Meanwhile, I struggle to bring these opportunities closer to my self. The greater forces alone would never be able to achieve personal objectives; hence, the sympathy towards Buddhist philosophy. As far as brain and soul? Choose your own struggles.
The editing has had a heavier toll than the actual travels. Perhaps, an immediate reflection of the desire to put a period to the project, the sight begins to fade away. It has been an intense year, and even though I am not physically traveling, settling down has not yet settled in. Seeds have been planted throughout this entire period; now, it’s time to allow some roots to deepen. Whether I have to nurture the seeds myself, or external forces will contribute to the growth, the work will eventually get done. Hopefully, the desired opportunities will branch out.