51 On the Futility of Conditions

Beloved Mike,

Experiences lead to more experiences, doing to more doing.
These are neither positive nor negative things, they are natural.
There is no way to prevent experiences or to prevent doing, unless you are dead.

However, if you are lead by conditions you have put upon life, by desires of how you imagine life should be like for you, it will only lead to suffering.
Desire only leads to more desire, and desires are nothing but you trying to impose your will on life.

There is a story:
Alexander the great was conquering the known world.
He was a man of action, based on a desire: he wished to rule the world.
Most people have relatively smaller ambitions than that, but the root is the same whether you wish to conquer the world or only "conquer" a new job, a new car, a love affair, a degree, etc.
One day he came across a mystic, sitting naked at the shore of a river, totally relaxed, just meditating.
Alexander had been asked by his old teacher, Aristotle, to bring back such a yogi from India, because he had heard of these teachers and wished to study them.
So Alexander told the mystic that if the mystic came back to Greece he would be given great riches.
The mystic laughed, and said he already had everything he needed.
Then Alexander became angry, and said that if the mystic did not return with him, he would kill the mystic then and there.
The mystic told him that it was alright, Alexander could kill him if he wished, but he would not go back.
Alexander felt humiliated by this man; he was the greatest warrior the earth had ever known, the mightiest king, but he had no power over this single naked old man.
He realized then that if you are free of conditions in life, you are also free of fear, free of any restrictions.

His attitude changed, and then he said to the mystic, "someday, I wish to be like you, sir".

The mystic replied: "Why someday? You can do it right now! Take off your armour, and stay here with me!"

Alexander became sad then, he said: "I cannot do that yet. First, I must reach my goal."

"What is your goal?" the mystic asked him.

"I must conquer the earth... then I will rest."

Then the mystic laughed, "You young fool! Even if you should conquer the earth, it will never be enough. It will make no difference; you cannot escape death, and nothing you conquer will ever be enough to make you feel fulfilled, so you will never be able to rest in this lifetime!"

And the old man was right; a few years later, when Alexander died, he ordered that his body be sent back to Greece with his empty hands hanging out of his coffin... he wished to show the world that for all he had done, he died with nothing, that all his accomplishments didn't mean a thing.
Whereas by making no conditions on life, the old mystic had conquered himself, and thus the whole universe.