Are you having any fun

Are you having any fun?

It always amazes me how heavy I can make fun. 
Like fun is the least valuable thing in existence. 
Fun is the afterthought – the bonus.
Fun is the cherry on the cake that you only get to eat if you have done all your chores, been responsible, been an adult, paid your dues, and your taxes – in full and up to date.
Fun is permitted when all else is done, that little bit of time at the very end of the day if you are lucky. 
The quiet moments in bed or bathroom, reading, or scrolling just for the hell of it.
Little morsels of fun before we are too tired to do anything else and collapse into unconsciousness. 
God, what a miserable existence.

What about this…
What about if God created the world just for fun?
Not that the meaning of life is to have fun,
but imagine you are God for a moment
and you create the world just for the hell of it.
A cosmic doodle that you make just because you like to do it.
And then you look down into this little thing you have created and you see all these little humans taking it soo seriously.
And you wonder why?

Maybe you created this little world, this little doodle, while you are waiting to do something very serious yourself, and maybe that is what got infused into your little creation and maybe you are finally realising that the serious thing that you were going to do is actually meaningless and that the real meaning was the fun you had creating the world.
Maybe fun is really important.
Maybe fun is the source of all life.

Photo by Dominik Vanyi on Unsplash


5 responses to “Are you having any fun?”

  1. I adore this. So beautiful and juicy – and deep. Thank you John for contributing to my inner bubbling cauldron of goodness.

    1. Thank you Yasmine, your bubbling cauldron of goodness sounds lovely.

  2. Fun: wherever delight in an aspect of experience can be found.

    That would be great but for one huge problem bang in the middle of that fun. Its inconstant. It fluctuates. It comes and then goes, and you have very little say in the matter.

    Well, you might say well that’s absolutely fine. No problem at all. I will happily let the experience of fun go and just hand around being equanimous about it all until the universe provides another opportunity for fun. Kind of like a surfer waiting for the next wave – there will always be more waves – right?

    This kind of view is essentially a Romantic one: fostering an open receptivity to universal Oneness, accepting joys and sorrows as all part of the sacredness of life.

    The problem with this Romantic view is that there is no conceivable end to the cycle of delighting here and now there. This is literally the Buddha’s definition of ‘samsaric’ existence, there can be no complete transcendence of suffering as we keep waiting to catch the ‘next wave’ of fun.

    The radical differences between Buddhist Romanticism and the Buddha’s Dhamma can best be summarized by stating Buddhist Romantic principles in the framework of the four noble truths: what might be called the four Romantic truths.

    1) Suffering is a feeling of separation: within oneself, between oneself and other people, and between oneself and the universe at large.
    2) This feeling of separation is caused by the mistaken notion that one is a separate entity with a separate identity.
    3) Suffering never totally ends, but relief from suffering can be occasionally glimpsed in a feeling of Oneness that temporarily overcomes that sense of separate identity.
    4) There is no one right path for glimpsing a sense of Oneness, but all effective paths consist of cultivating an attitude of enlarging one’s perspective to embrace all of life, to transcend ideas of right and wrong, and to maintain an attitude of open receptivity to all experience.

    Compare these four Romantic truths with the Buddha’s four noble truths:

    1) Suffering is clinging (delight / fun) to—feeding on—the aggregates of experience: form, feeling, perception, fabrication, and consciousness.
    2) This feeding is caused by the craving that leads to becoming: craving for sensual passions, craving for becoming, and craving for the destruction of becoming.
    3) This craving can be ended once and for all through dispassion for it.
    4) This dispassion can be induced only by following the path of right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

    The four noble truths entail four duties—comprehending stress, abandoning its cause, realizing its cessation, and developing the path—whereas the four Romantic truths entail only one: fostering an open receptivity to universal Oneness, accepting joys and sorrows as all part of the sacredness of life.

    The contrast between these two approaches can be appreciated most graphically by considering the following story. It tells of a high school basketball coach hired to coach a group of specially handicapped children. Realizing after his first session that the children would never be able to play basketball with any recognizable rules—they had trouble even lining up and facing in the same direction—he went with the flow and threw out his coaching plans in favor of a more free-form approach. Instead of focusing on winning, he fostered an atmosphere that allowed the children to express their creativity and have a good time. The scorekeeper pushed the score button whenever he felt like it—in one game, they racked up more than a million points—the game could be interrupted by music and dance at any point, and at the end of each game everyone was rewarded with hotdogs.

    The story is humorous in a gentle, heartwarming way, but the humor distracts attention from the question of whether this was the most helpful approach the coach could have taken in training the children. And the warmth distracts attention from the chilling message the story is being forced to convey: that spiritual life is not about playing well or mastering a skill, and that in the final account, winning or losing at the path doesn’t matter. All that matters is expressing yourself and enjoying yourself in the process.

    If suffering weren’t a real problem, this attitude would be perfectly helpful, as it places no unnecessary demands on anyone. But suffering itself places demands on the heart, and the demands have a squeeze. If you’re sensitive to that squeeze, you want, not an artist who teaches you how to express yourself while embracing the squeeze, but a craftsman who can train you in the skills needed to put an end to that squeeze once and for all. In this context, compassion doesn’t mean throwing out the rules and awarding prizes to everyone. It means giving clear instructions as to what works and what doesn’t—treating people, not as children wanting entertainment, but as adults.

    The Buddha didn’t speak as a creative artist expressing himself by inventing the Dhamma. He spoke as an expert craftsman who had discovered a path to a freedom totally uncreated and who passed that path on to many others who, in turn, have continued passing it on for millennia. The craft of the path is based on the assumption that we are free to make choices, and that our choices can make a difference. As the Buddha saw when he first contemplated his life, there is no proof that these assumptions are true—or that our actions can lead to a transcendent dimension completely free of suffering (nibbana)—until you’ve put them to the test. There are no guarantees prior to at least some level of commitment. But as he also saw, the possibility that actions might make a difference meant that the only honorable way to live was to take the risk of taking on the commitment, and to devote his life to finding out how far human action can go.

    There is no honor in assuming that actions don’t count and that a transcendent happiness is impossible. As long as we’re choosing a path to follow, why not make the honorable choice?

    1. Thank you for your long and considered comment Alex.

      I would love to hear what you think and feel, not what you have studied or read.

      What is your living truth Alex?

      If all that you have written works for you, that is great and I am happy for you.

      1. What was written, is what I think. I am happy and glad that you want to help others. The world could do with more kindness and generosity. My lived experience is described in what was written.

        My lived experience is that there is suffering, stress, pain. Birth is stressful, growing and aging is stressful, illness is stressful, not getting what one’s wants is stressful, losing what is dear is stressful, death is stressful. This is undeniably real.

        The most fundamental part of that lived experience comes from a question: what when I do it will lead to my long term happiness and well-being? It’s a question about what I can do, not what I think I am.

        With aging, illness and death being unavoidable, a certainty I choose to believe that through the power of personal agency, rather than the grace of an outside agency, that it is possible to transcend suffering. That through the development of skill with regard to action one can go beyond the stress and suffering of being and attain a dimension that is totally free from suffering.

        The path to that dimension is a lived experience, based on a path of action: generosity, virtuous behaviour and cultivating a skilfull mind in meditation. This is the Buddha’s Noble Eigthfold Path that when lived as a true experience leads to complete freedom. This my ongoing lived experience.

        May you be well and happy.

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