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Every day I look forward to the day when there will be a holiday. Holiday brings a sense of relief to me. However I know this is a false sense of relief as after every holiday there will be a working day. I am attached to holidays. If there is a work on holidays I feel greatly stressed. If there is a holiday on a working day I feel greatly relieved. (Some people experience Monday blues which is a specific case of my generic experience. )

My question is: How can I escape the mental affliction I bring upon myself by getting attached to holidays ?

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You are not attached to holidays, you just hate your job.

As you said, you feel greatly stressed if you have to work when its holiday, shows that you don't enjoy your work.

You should learn to enjoy the work you are doing.

Now how to do that?

Become mindfully aware. Watch every action you are doing. Don't be judgemental towards your work. Basically apply everything they teach about mindfully washing the dishes.

Also I recommend you read Dogen book on cooking.

Then everyday will be a holiday. No attachments left.

  • I love my job when I have no choice of holiday. For example if I am told that I will have to work everyday then I will be glad to do that. But for some reason holiday comes along and I miss my routine but soon I realise that holidays are there to celebrate as they are stress busters. There is nothing to do on holidays. Thus I become attached to holidays. I do not hate my job. It is like having two wives. I love one more than the other. – Dheeraj Verma Jul 16 '18 at 17:48
  • Can you please tell me the name of the Dogen’s book ? – Dheeraj Verma Jul 17 '18 at 7:38
  • @DheerajVerma its called tenzo kyokun. – user13135 Jul 17 '18 at 9:51
  • I read the book. It is called instruction for the zen cook. Dogen was a cook for the Sangha. He was serving Buddha,Dhamma and Sangha therefore he had faith which gave him the confidence. Who am I serving ? I am serving nobody. From where I can generate the same confidence as Dogen. Either I will have to change religion or I will have to find faith in humanity...which I am loosing lately. – Dheeraj Verma Jul 25 '18 at 8:27
  • You missed the point of the book. I recommended you to read it to learn about how to cook mindfully, meaning to do your job with such degree of mindfulness that the very act of doing job brings deep relaxation and you wont need a holiday. It is not the question of serving anyone. Whatever job you are doing do it in a way Dogen instructed the cook. It will bring peace. No need to change religion. And if you have lost faith in humanity then excuse me I can't be of much help...I am part of humanity. – user13135 Jul 25 '18 at 8:55
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As Japanese Zen Master Dogen said in Genjō Kōan:

We get nostalgic when the blossoms wither but hate it when the weeds blossom.

This is a typical example of The First Noble Truth. We look at the beautiful cherry blossoms and morn their transience. We get attached to the experience of beauty and want it to go on forever. But because we know it won't last long we get nostalgic even before they wither. And once they actually dry up and fall, we feel the sadness. This is an example of attachment-based-dukkha.

At the same time, when the weeds grow high in our yard, when they thrive and bloom - we do not feel the joy of beauty. On the contrary, we feel joy when the weeds wither and die. We'd rather kill the weeds with a lawnmower or a herbicide chemical than see them flower. When the weeds thrive despite our efforts to kill them, we feel frustration. This is an example of aversion-based-dukkha.

In both cases, a plant grows flowers which bloom and then eventually wither and fall. But we think that the cherry blossoms are good because they are beautiful and the weeds blossoms are bad because they are ugly. It is our attitude (aka "attachment") that determines whether we experience dukkha or not. But what is the nature of this attachment and how can it be removed?

If you look at your mind directly, you will see that you have this fixed preconception - "holiday is good and work is bad, because _______". Just like with flowers and weeds. You need to look at your mind directly and see the formula that you are stuck on, e.g.: "work is stressful, because at work I'm continuously bombarded by endless requests and don't have time to even use the toilet" - or something like that.

These type of formulas often come from some implied social stereotypes that we subconsciously absorb from the social interactions. For example, if most people around you assume that hard work is for dummies and that the "smart/successful" people do not work much, you may internalize this attitude as "hard work is for losers" - which may lead to the kind of aversion to workdays and attachment to holidays you're talking about. The exact formula will be different for everyone, but there is always some kind of formula involved, you just need to see what it is.

Once you see your formula directly, you can get rid of attachment/aversion by simply letting go of the formula. If your vipashyana is not strong enough yet to do it directly, you can use a counter-fabrication like seeing peace in effort and stress in rest - or as Buddha have said, "see doing in not-doing and not-doing in doing". In other words, you can analyze the two situations (holiday-time and work-time) upclose, find the elements that go contrary to the attachment, and upadana those element-signs - to fuel the counter-fabrication by going over the signs again and again.

An internalized preconception - what I called "the formula" - is an example of reification at play. We generalize some description ("There is a hard line dividing weak and successful people => The weak people are forced to work a lot => The successful people are smart enough to avoid hard work => Overtime work is for dummies => If I work overtime, I'm a loser => Attachment to holidays, feeling stressed when there is work on weekends => Dukkha") and then we reify this description into a wordless formula that contains all of that description in a highly condensed form. Every time we think about working overtime, we feel stressed, with the entire description quickly replaying in our heads.

The technique that Buddha taught -- "seeing the non-pleasant in pleasant and seeing the pleasant in non-pleasant" and "finding the not-doing in doing and finding the doing in not-doing" -- works by breaking the generalizations we make about the components of the formula. We can attack the formula that "Overtime work is for dummies" by finding factual evidence that makes the formula false, for example: "Successful people actually work a lot, they work crazy hours - in fact, that's how they become successful!" -- Here, we have found an example that goes contrary to the generalization we have internalized (that "Successful people do not work hard"). By thinking about this counter-fabrication over and over again we can weaken the original reification and destroy the formula that leads to suffering.

Or, in the other example, one where "I" felt that "work is stressful, because I'm continuously bombarded by endless requests" - we could approach it like this: "Why do I think that being bombarded by requests leaves no time for anything else? Indeed, it is up to me to control my work pace. Why don't I slow down a little to make it more comfortable?" In this case the unquestioned generalization was the formula that "being bombarded by requests leaves no time for myself". We have internalized an assumption that we must handle every request as soon as possible, with no regard to our own comfort level. Identifying and deconstructing that assumption allows us to change our behavior and our perception of the situation - eliminating the source of aversion that leads to suffering.

Holiday is holiday and work is work - but you don't have to love one and hate the other. You can learn to be at peace in the suchness of here-now, whether it's work or holiday. You just need to understand how dukkha comes from reification and how reification can be dispelled by challenging one of it's underlying assumptions.

  • Wisdom says both flowers and the weed give dukkha. – Dheeraj Verma Jul 18 '18 at 4:12
  • Both work and rest are source of dukkha. Eight fold path is the solution to dukkha nirodha. – Dheeraj Verma Jul 18 '18 at 4:59
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Don’t get too attached to cutting off your craving for holidays, I consider it a hindrance that is counterproductive - it is the source of aversion and suffering.

If you find happiness in each moment being free with liberation and bliss - you will have lesser degree of attachment to temporary conditional sources of happiness and sensory pleasures.

Maybe mindful life doesn’t make you feel happier and suffer less? Maybe you try too hard or need to focus on Perfections on the path also. It is important to set boundaries in your practice that don’t make you fall into low mood so you seek for temporary pleasures that much. Then increase these boundaries slowly overtime when the tolerance is greater.

While you’re on holidays enjoy your time, but bear in mind the recollection that this sort of happiness is unsustainable, and so even on holidays try to find peace in mindful sightseeing, so it is more than enough to make you feel free of attachments, and even attachments to holiday attractions. These will eventually become just high pitch noise - it’s fine if this sort of sensory pleasure is there, so we enjoy while it lasts, but also fine when it isn’t.

When practising joyful and gentle mindfulness one should get enough bliss and glimpses of unconditional happiness after fetters and some causes of suffering are gradually combated.

That is in my opinion the solution, based on my personal practice experience. But don’t be harsh on yourself! It is not making you a happier person.

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If you alwayd chase for holidays you probably don't like your job (as Friedrick mentioned). You can conciously choose positive aspects in it and try to focus on them more, or if people are involved you can use this to cultivate metta.

If there are people that are bothering you you obviously have to tell them quite assertively your concerns, or alternatively l2eave your job for a more fullfiling one.

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    I am sharing a very subtle change in my feelings which I experience due change in circumstances. – Dheeraj Verma Jul 16 '18 at 22:04
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Since Effacement doesn't seem to be working (i.e., you love your work), consider applying Satipatthāna and its progression, which proceeds from craving, through aversion, thence to delusion:

Here, monks, a monk knows a craving mind state as a ‘craving mind state;' a craving-free mind state as a ‘craving-free mind state,’ an aversive mind state as an ‘aversive mind state,’ an aversive-free mind state as an ‘aversive-free mind state,’ a delusive mind state as a ‘delusive mind state,’ a delusive-free mind state as a ‘delusive-free mind state,’ (etc.)

...I look forward...

Specifically, take special care to avoid the automatic expression of "I" as posed in the question and simply acknowledge the craving as "There is a craving mind state (for holidays)."

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