These days when I get frustrated, when I feel like throwing everything away, when I am pointing fingers to anybody around, there is always one cause involved. I couldn’t do something as smoothly as I imagined. Such as:
* Spent an entire day to translate a one-page English letter into Mandarin Chinese, and 20% was completed. I didn’t even know what went wrong and what went right. In the MS-Word document, the red wavy line (error) and the green (warning) were the only key. It is frustrating when you cannot delete even a single of that red and evil line after spending one hour.
* Went to a party and after two hours I felt much lonely 😉
After spending a good 30 years of frequent frustration, I now started to question the whole situation. Isn’t it that I am trapped in some hole, while digging it by myself? Do I feel angry and resentful for the right reason? Am I doing something meanless, or even doing something self-destroying?
Maybe yes, and here in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (thanks Josh, for choosing this wonderful book) it gives me exactly what I need to know:
When you try to climb a mountain to prove how big you are, you almost never make it. And even if you do it’s a hollow victory. In order to sustain the victory you have to prove yourself again and again in some other way, and again and again and again, driven forever to fill a false image, haunted by the fear that the image is not true and someone fill find it out. That’s never the way.
To the untrained eye ego-climbing and selfless climbing may appear identical. Both kind of climbers place one foot in front of the other. Both breathe in and out at the same rate. But what a difference! The ego-climber is like an instrument that’s out of adjustment. He’s likely to miss a beautiful passage of sunlight through the trees. He goes on when the sloppiness of his step shows he’s tired. He rests at odd times. He looks up the trail trying to see what’s ahead even when he knows what’s ahead because he just looked a second before. He goes too fast or too slow for the conditions and when he talks his talk is forever about somewhere else, something else. He’s here but he’s not here. He rejects the here, is unhappy with it, wants to be farther up the trail but when he gets there will be just as unhappy because then it will be “here”. What he’s looking for, what he wants, is all around him. Every step’s an effort, both physically and spiritually, because he imagines his goal to be external and distant.
For the whole life, regarding myself as a victim was the primal response to a difficult situation. But the truth is, I must admit, that I was doing something out of my ego and the reality smashed it. Which were always good for me.