I haven't written in a very long time. There are a lot of reasons why, but it all boils down to this: I hate my job. It's hard to admit, but it's true. I have been a teacher for six years and I very truly hate almost everything about it. I don't think it's teaching that I necessarily hate. It's something much deeper.
When I was a teenager and in my 20's I used to spend a lot of time in New York City. Sometimes I would just sit on the steps of Madison Square Garden and watch the pedestrian traffic as it flowed by. I always felt a deep sense of peace watching thousands of people pass by. Although most folks were zombie like, I knew that I wasn't a part of their rat race. I was a pure observer, on the outside looking in. In a strange way it provided me with a deep spiritual peace. I promised myself every single time that I would never become a part of the rat race. I was clever enough to find a way out.
In my younger years that meant breaking the system. If someone couldn't do it well enough or human enough I would break the system and remake it as I saw fit. More compassionate, more human, more connected with the natural environment and focused on building communities of human beings. I now realize that this was a young fools arrogant errand. The system has been around far longer than I have and it will persist long after I am gone.
When I couldn't break the system I just submitted. I became a school teacher with the hope that I could plant the seeds of change inside the system. However, I failed to realize the persistent power of cultural myths. How nearly impossible they are to change. Especially within schools, which seem to be the most powerful transmitters of cultural stories we have here in America.
So there I was, stuck in the rat race. And hell, I guess here I am. I've been working as a teacher for 6 years and it's always the same. The year starts out idealistic and I love it. And within 2 months I only like the kids. And within 3 months I realize that in order to control the kids you have to be an asshole. And I am not a controlling asshole. So after 3 months there's nothing left. Just an empty feeling as I commute like an ant to work 45 soul sucking minutes each way to a soul sucking job that I hate for a measly paycheck. A larger paycheck wouldn't justify this existence either. So it's time for a change.
What I've realized after so many years of trying to break the system is this: It's actually the system in my own mind that must be broken. It is the parts within myself that must be rebuilt. I must choose a different way of life and lead by example. I can't force anyone to follow.
In two weeks I will leave for a month long meditation retreat in Myanmar. It's going to be the longest, most intense retreat I've ever been a part of. I don't know what I expect to find, but I do know that it's my way of finding a different path. It's another adventure, but this time it's focused on self discovery in a structured environment with Buddhist masters who have been studying the mind their entire lives. I hope this is the catalyst for a major shift in my life. I would eventually like to transition to a life where I can have mindful adventures all over the world. I would like people to join me on these adventures. I don't yet know how I'll make money doing it.
After Myanmar I'll be surfing in Sri Lanka for 2 weeks. I would love to blend mindfulness and surfing together. We'll see how it works to transition from intense meditation to a relaxed beach vibe.
After that I will return to the USA to move to a mountain town and start work at a different school. This one is a private school with an amazing set of classes. It will either be the greatest job of my life or the end of the road for my teaching career. Either way it's another step in my spiritual journey. I'll be trying to post more often, so check back soon.