Thursday, June 23, 2011

What is it that you ultimately want in life?

Nobel blogged awhile ago about about his idea of an ideal life, which is to be a yoga bum, ie. get paid big bucks to practice yoga every day and to blog about his yoga practice. Now, Nobel, do you want some third party to pay you to live life however you want, or do you wish you were born into a rich family so you can be a yoga bum, or do you wish you married someone with a massive bank account, or win the lottery, or obtain a large sum of money by some other means (eg. find a bag on the street containing $10 million)? I kind of assumed that you were wishing for the first option, ie. somehow someone out there would consider your yoga practice as beneficial to the world and pay you money for doing it. Hmm.. I don't know about $100,000/year, but for countries with universal health care, I think governments should encourage people to choose a healthy living, which would minimize the overall cost of medical care budget, by providing incentives such as bonus cash for those who do eat healthily and do yoga (and other forms of exercises in general). Yah I know, wishful thinking (but not completely impossible).

I joked that my dream life is to play dress up every day, party lots, and occasionally do charity work, you know, the Princess Di, Duchess Katherine, or Paris Hilton life (Paris actually does get paid to show up at various clubs to party). Nobel pointed out that my concept of a "bum" life is "interesting". I got a bit confused there, and then I looked up the definition of a bum: person who avoids work and sponges on others; loafer;idler. Hmm, I guess I am too chicken to be a bum forever, because I'm paranoid that the world would progress and I would fall behind. I've been an obsessive compulsive knowledge / skills acquisition freak all of my life. I'll read almost anything that's in print. Every time I try a recreational activity I dream about becoming extremely proficient at it. I practice yoga as if the teacher's going to beat me with a cane if I don't try my hardest. I feel like if I don't push myself to my limits, I'm not living up to my life's full potential, and somebody will be disappointed in me.

So now you know my greedy desire for wanting to acquire all possible skills that humans can do and all knowledge of human beings (like in the movie trilogy "The Matrix" where I can upload all of Google's databases and all encyclopedias ever written into my head). Does this make me weird? I think the typical dreams of people are to become billionaires, own multiple servants and a giant mansion, luxury cars, fancy yacht, and travel the world on their personal cruise ship while being served with gourmet French cuisine, or something along that line. My biggest desire is to acquire skills? I gotta step back and do some self-psychoanalysis here.. does this suggest that I'm deeply insecure about my intellectual worth?

I guess we're generally seeking to live a long and healthy life, feel safe and secure, satisfy our senses, feel a sense of control (of ourselves and of the environment around us), connect with other beings (but at the same we like to be better than other people, Darwin's theory at work on Earth), and of course to satisfy our endless miscellaneous arbitrary desires. An ideal life would be to become better than everyone else, have everybody adore and admire you, and have all your endless desires satisfied one after another. Sorry I'm not very poetic about it. I started writing a list of things I wanted: travel, a sexy, smart,  understanding and loving life partner, charity projects I want to do, pet science projects I want to do, and then I realized the list could go on and on forever, because of my insatiable greediness :P  The bottom line is, being a bum forever is not an ideal life for me. Maybe my dream life is to become Superwoman, but without having the responsibility to solve every problem in the world. I would only work on the problems I'm interested in. Hmm.. so a selfish Superwoman then :D

I think my ideal life is to have endless possibilities in what I can do, and to have the freedom to choose to do a subset of them, with minimal troubles and obstacles. I think I've got the first 2 parts down, which makes me a very lucky person. The skill acquisition part I guess is my attempt to be able to deal with these troubles and obstacles. I should also add that I am working towards feeling comfortable about occasionally being a bum. The practice of yoga aids with achieving equanimity, which means I better keep doing it then!

What about you? What is your dream life? Can you narrow it down to a few specific things that you absolutely must have, or are you like me, greedily wanting to keep all possibilities open but have the freedom to choose what you want? Or would you want to be a bum (in a fancy palace of course)? :)


  1. Hello Yyogini,
    Gee, I must be a real yoga bum if I can actually read and comment on your post within 20 minutes of its publication :-)

    First, I should get one thing straight: When I said that your concept of a "bum" life is interesting, I did not mean bum in the sense of a "loafer/idler who avoids work and sponges on others." Well, maybe "bum" wasn't such a good choice of word in the first place: By "bum", I meant something like "somebody who does not have to work (in the conventional capitalistic sense), but still gets all his needs and wants taken care of."

    Maybe I should write a follow-up post to clarify all this :-) As for the question to me which you started your post with, yes, my answer is the first option, ie. somehow someone out there would consider my yoga practice as beneficial to the world and pay me money for doing it. Wishful thinking? Maybe... but seriously, what's so wrong with thinking this? After all, if the United States government can shell out billions of dollars everyday to send young people halfway across the world to kill and be killed (i.e. the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), what can be so wrong with paying one person just one hundred grand to live in peace with his fellow human beings? And I may also add that when many senior teachers today started teaching yoga decades ago, many people also saw them as wishful thinkers. But look where they are now...

    Okay, I need to stop here. This is becoming a big, big rant.

  2. Hi Nobel, I apologize for picking an overly-negative definition for the word bum from the online dictionary. However, by your definition, are all rich housewives and students "bums" as well? OK OK I admit, I'm a bum right now. I guess I am delusional in thinking that if people will pay me money for whatever is it I do, it'll make that activity seem more worthy of my time... untrue and this world is messed up :p

    I know what you mean.. you want to be like Tibetan monks who are paid just to be monks. Professional athletes get paid a ton of money to kick or throw a ball around. I think Lululemon also pays people to perform yoga in their store display windows. If you can start a new style of yoga that people find entertaining (or instantaneously enlightening), maybe you can get paid to perform it without having to teach it too :D

  3. The "upload" scene from the Matrix ruined my life.
    I want to reload a better version of french, then load piano, and the entire bible -so I can out quote self righteous right wingers. Don't get me started with asana loading...

  4. I think the notion of what constitutes a 'dream life' changes over time, depending on what stage of life you're in. The dream life of a 21 year old girl may be to marry a rich husband and have 4 kids one day; the dream life of a 35 year old woman with 4 kids and a rich husband may be that of a travelling yogini, etc. By all accounts, I am living my dream life now, according to the person I was when I was 25. But to my current self? Not so much. I guess what I'm trying to say is that we're always unsatisfied, striving towards some 'future end state' that's more ideal and more perfect in our mind than our current reality, when really, the reality is all we've got.

  5. @Sereneflavor: if that technology really exists, I might spend most of my life just sitting in a chair uploading skills.... which would kind of equivalent to being permanently stoned or a couch potato.

    @Savanaaddict: I totally agree with you. When I was 20 years old I would have listed exactly what I wanted: a job with x features, a husband with y features, hobbies z during leisure time. Now I realize whatever it is I want now might change, so I don't want to be stuck with any set life style. The key is to make the most out of the present way of living.