Thursday, October 07, 2010

More on Procrastination, Planning, and Dukkha

I have a few more minutes now to expound a bit more on the post I made yesterday.

When we plan, we often think we are creating an expectation about how certain things will be done within the context of certain events we expect to happen.   But as any good project manager or field commander knows,  all plans go awry at some point, and there are still expectations of things that need to be done and events that will happen, as well as the realization that certain unexpected things had to be done or weren't done, and unforeseen events happen. 
Murphy's Law is real, and it is a hindrance, really, only when dukkha is reigning over the planning and execution of the plan.   The "plan" must be carried out moment to moment anyway, even though in the very near term we might value surfing the net over coming through on our deliverables.

So when we regret procrastination - or other "unforseen" events, we are really regretting a realization of a world that never existed, where all plans and expectations were fulfilled.  
Such a world doesn't exist as far as I know, but it is possible to be dependable despite Murphy's Law.

 The trick is neither to be come too attached to the plan or too attached to departing from the plan,  or even, oddly enough the execution of the plan.

The practice of breath-counting in meditation is one of humanity's greatest inventions: not only does it "build up concentration" or, if you like, help you develop 情理気 (I presume I got the Kanji right on that one - it's joriki!) or concentration energy, but it also helps develop nonattachment. Your "plan" of course is trivially simple: count from 1 to 10 in synch with your breath.  But if you lose count, go back to the beginning.  The trick of course is not to see "10" as some kind of success, and not to see losing count as some kind of failure.  Either attachment will of course result in an inability actually carry out the exercise!

Executing all the other plans of life are similar cases, in my experience.

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