On having agendas

Lets face it-we all have them. In a way, they are an integral part of the path of self discovery. I have an agenda, more than one for sure. As we all do. Lifestyle, relationship, work, my life revolves around one kind of agenda or another. Enlightenment even. It is only by admitting them, observing them and resisting the temptation to nurture them as ego fruition that we can learn from them.
Retrospect is a fantastic teacher. I realized quite recently that for many years, my agendas basically prevented me from a more fulfilling life, and greater satisfaction and fruition as a practitioner. Today, as I write this observation down, I ask myself this question; where the hell was I? Often in the midst of some dharma teaching, or visit to some exotic asian dharma location, I was so busy with plans and speculation, so caught up in the internal workings of my mind, that I basically removed myself from the present experience. In doing so I watered down many of the effects of these incredibly rich dharmic experiences. I mean, I was there, but yet I was not there. It is an interesting paradox and one which I am just coming to terms with. And lets not even talk about regret, because that has no real place here.
Based on my own experiences, I can say this: Agendas prevent us from intimacy. Intimacy with ourselves, in our relationships with others, with our experiences and the fulfillment that comes from them. They can be extremely subtle, encased in spiritual jargon and trappings. They can exist anywhere, as much in a yogi’s cave as in your living room.
Awareness regarding these incredible agendas is key. The fact that our egos build them so quietly, so skillfully that we get caught up in them so easily.
How do we start dealing with agendas? By acknowledging them, owning them, observing them without participating or starting the endless cycle of judgement /attraction/ rejection.
Sit for a moment this very day and ask yourself: what are my agendas? By doing so, you may make it a little bit easier to become aware of them.
Do I have agendas? Sure do. Writing this blog is one of them. 🙂

8 responses to “On having agendas

    • Hi Laurie, I think the nature of our agendas often changes according to the environment. There are many kinds, sometimes so subtle that we hardly realize that they are happening and we can wake up to them years later, others the instantaneous kind that arise on a whim. The key element is awareness, generating bodhicitta and practice consistency- with that, you will just keep on peeling off layers of the ego “onion”.

  1. I think we all have agendas, and I agree that what’s important is living life mindfully so we can we awake to see what we need to see. I’m learning the practice of staying on the edge when I find myself there, and just leaning into whatever is present.
    Thank you for your wise words on agendas.

  2. Thank you for this very skillfully written piece. I especially appreciate your recognition that having an agenda prevents intimacy. That’s a big one.
    Thanks for finding my blog so I could find yours. Be well, Stefan

    • Cheers Stefan,
      Agendas can both help and hinder our development as human beings. The main trick I have found is, maintain awareness! They can be very subtle, or almost screaming-to-the-mountains obvious. In retrospect, I often ask myself: how did I not notice?

  3. Pingback: Of Split Rocks, Stone Walls and Clothes with No Emperor | Joyful Dharma of the Source

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