Cruise to Nowhere
Cruise to Nowhere
"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there."
-Through The Looking-Glass: And What Alice Found There (Lewis Carroll)
[Sequel to "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"]
"What does a fish know about the water in which he swims all his life?"
Cruise to Nowhere:
A voyage with no definite shore destination,
a meandering on the sea in loops and circles,
while trying to derive pleasure,
only finally to return to where one started.
An analogy for samsaric existence.
I used to stare at ants in both puzzlement and amazement, as I try to discern some pattern or purpose in the frenziness of their seemingly random motion. Almost reminds me of quarks and what-nots ricocheting around at the sub-particle level. There is some logic to their movement of course- at least as far as their instinctual reasoning and sense of purpose works. Maybe it's a lot like looking at human movement from a more macro point of view, say from an alien spacecraft orbiting Earth. Are we not seemingly ant-like in our activities? Do we not often scurry here and there, but not really getting anywhere? Is your life a cruise to nowhere in particular? In a cruise to nowhere, you are already there the moment you set sail- nowhere! What's next then? What's next now that we are born into this life, with the wisdom to contemplate these very questions? Where do we go from nowhere?... I mean... from here?
Sometimes we forget the big picture. Do you get so caught up in the nitty-gritty details of life that you forget what the nitty-gritties are supposed to lead to at the end of the day? What do you want at the end of the day? Are you on schedule? When is the end of the day coming anyway? All the ants on Earth want, and all the fish in the water want, is True Happiness- even if they are not conscious of it. The same applies to us.On the actual cruises to nowhere, we go on the high seas, trying our best to soak in the sun and wind, to derive as much happiness as it is possible, to make things last, while they last. But that's the catch isn't it? The happiness from the best cruise can only last that long, before we embark on our next "proverbial" cruise to somewhere else to look for that ever so "elusive" True Happiness. The cartoon analogy of a donkey motivated by a carrot on a string dangling before us from a stick is a good one. Happiness seems to be just before us, so close yet so far. Do we have to cruise somewhere to seek happiness? Maybe the donkey in us should stop here and now, and swing the carrot inwards, to catch the prize of True Happiness with our teeth.
Many of us have been searching in all the wrong places- searching high and low, missing the searcher himself. The quest for True Happiness has to be an inward quest- for what haven or refuge can we find in the fickle external world of constant change? Of course, when we first get down to it and meditate, we will realise our minds to be just as fickle, shape-shifting, flickering in every instant like a candle flame. But this silencing, this watching gradually calms the mind down, as we learn to know, see and make peace with the three universal characteristics of transiency, dissatisfaction and insubstantiality of everything, including our mind and body. It is with this process of making peace with reality that True Happiness starts appearing. In searching for a steady shore in our voyage of life, we have to first realise that everywhere in the sea of samsara (this world of repetitive life and death) is but choppy uncertain waters. We have to stop lying to ourselves that mere beacons are real solid refuges- when they too bop up and down uncertainly. What are some of these beacons? Wealth, health, family, love, fame... Not that they are of no significance, but we should only use them skillfully as guideposts to shore, not to mistaken them as the shore itself. We have to realise this clearly by seeing the truth of the three characteristics here and now in this sea of life and death. Only through deep realisation of the unsatisfactoriness of the dangerous seas will we gladly relinquish them and aspire to sail for shore. Let's all cruise to somewhere then, not to nowhere- to the other shore of Nirvana... just another name for True Happiness.