I am irritated! Two hours ago, I set out to install a lamp with a motion detector in the firewood shed. Now I’m sitting in the living room. Undone things. Irritated. The plan was actually simple: The firewood shed shares the wooden back wall with my workshop. The power cables run inside the workshop right along this wall. So I just drilled a hole in the thin wooden wall, pulled the cable through, connected it to the power distribution box in the workshop, connected it to the motion detector-lamp-combination in the woodshed, screwed on the spotlight, done! Tadaa! And give my wife a nice surprise tonight when she no longer needs a flashlight while getting wood. Great plan. The only thing that happened was this: It started with the workshop being totally full and I first had to drag out countless boards and boxes and buckets and whatnot so that I could even properly set up the stepladder I needed to drill said hole and get to the junction box located in the top corner. That’s how it started. When I finally stood on the ladder – after I had searched for a long time for a suitable cable in all the chaos – I had to look at how 50 years ago the electrician had left a complete mess of wires stuffed together in the junction box I had finally reached, in which there was hardly any possibility of being able to connect two more wires without major rewiring measures. Wow! Let’s do it! Drilling the hole then went quite well for the time being. On the second try. At the first attempt I had hit a bar on the other side. Somehow I had then, acrobatically hanging on the ladder and surrounded by very excited and discontented, giant house spiders, the cables in the sweat of my face in two of the crowded chandelier clamps murked. This action was supplemented by repeated stumbling over the masses of boards and buckets lying in front of the workshop door, in order to switch the fuse in the remote fuse box on and then off again, test after test. Shimmy down ladder, trip, trip, fuse on, back, up ladder, measure: no power. Everything back again. An unbelievable fidgeting, in which I blamed myself and my mess becoming more and more annoyed and grumpy. Now the cables on the workshop side were eventually connected and I only had to connect the lamp with the motion detector on the other side. I unscrewed the cover of the box behind which the connections of the motion detector were located, expecting to reach my goal very soon. Four rusty and stubborn screws. But no matter! It’s almost done! The last screw is loose. I happily take off the lid – and stare in bewilderment at a collection of six loose wires, which the previous owner of the spotlight had meticulously removed from the luster terminal lying loose in the box. I have no clue how these wires all belong reconnected! – I slump inside. That’s it. I walk into the house exhausted – and irritated. I’m beat. Electricity is not my thing (I know, then you should also call the professional. Yes, yes.) and the whole dragging, stumbling, hanging and choking action was for nothing. Waste of energy.
I am sitting in my armchair and I am in a bad mood. A bad mood is anger. Blaming myself, who can’t keep things in order, fate, the electrician who so overcrowded the junction box, the previous owner who couldn’t just leave the wires on the spotlight where they had been, and life itself.
I ask myself from the outside: Why is my mind still angry now? The matter is no longer acute. You’re sitting here in your armchair now, the fire is blazing comfortably in the stove, and you could make yourself a nice cup of coffee or do something else nice. The „just wire it“ action is already history.
„It’s not!“ it answers inside me, „That’s just it! It isn’t! She’s not history because I had a plan. A future prediction that included that there would be a working motion detector with a lamp present in the woodshed tonight. This will not be so tonight. And tonight we do not have yet. Therefore, the thing is not history, because the separation and the pain that I feel stems from a future event. And so I feel the pain at least until the night comes and the realization that my wish has been so painfully separated from reality!“
After my mind had thus lamented its suffering to me, I realized: This is why it (our mind) never comes to rest. This is what distinguishes us from the animals, who can immediately go back to rest when a separating – painful, frightening – event has occurred and passed again. We plan. We think about „the future.“ Always. That’s why our pain is perpetual, because there is infinite potential pain in the seemingly always and eternal future that we can absorb ahead of time. If the present does not hurt and the past does not hurt, then there is infinite pain in future events that the mind, can forecast, anticipate, calculate and above all evaluate as pain. It always has the future as an enemy in front of its eyes. THEREFORE he can never switch off and go to rest. HOWEVER, he is in his never ending and never pausing battle – against the whole, whole infinite future and all its possible events. A cloud of infinite painful possibilities.
The animals do not have this. They perform the tasks for their year, but how much it is the natural guidance which makes them go their way. It would not occur to any animal to deviate from its natural way and to do once something completely different, because it forecasts some remotely possible negative future, in which even the most improbable of all cases would have to be considered. Because it does not consider anything. Because it does not have this perception of the future.
Then how is that? Are we the only ones who even have such an idea? Such an idea of future? Such an idea that there is something not yet happened, which can develop in infinite variety completely uncontrolled? Is this perhaps the illusion which has made our mind so crazy? Does the imponderable „future“ perhaps not exist at all and all beings and all being except us is aware of it and plans nothing because there is nothing to plan? Because nothing can be planned at all? Because there is no indefinite and so dangerous future at all? Is the future only a mirage that keeps our mind and us in fear and all its facets?
I ask myself this as I wonder why I am so irritable.