Adrift

It is ironic that only one month ago, I was working in a Government unit that monitored and approved funding for Centrelink. Last week, I registered as a Centrelink job seeker. One month ago, I was netting over $1000 per week and now I have no income. Centrelink, New Start allowance is not available for 6-8 weeks. I had to transfer funds from my credit account to my savings account.

Last week, I went to the Spearwood Centrelink Office several times before I was interviewed. They are very busy with many clients and not enough staff. The Office exterior is very bleak. Some clients could be heard shouting abuse as they left the building. Once I found someone had smashed rotten eggs over the front door. I admire the Centrelink Office staff for their patience and good will. It may be possible for them to find less stressful work. I suppose they do these jobs because they want to help the community.

Good news from the Canberra Real Estate agent who said someone will take over the lease at 18 Gillespie Street on Friday, 17 September. I hope to get some of the rental bond back the following week.

I have a job interview next week. I’ve applied for many temporary full-time jobs but this is the only interview so far. I am confident I will get a job soon. I have good qualifications and experience.

Since finding I didn’t have as much money as I thought and being away from my recent home and habits, I find myself slightly adrift. I’ve stayed on track by focusing on the intermediate goal traveling to meditate. To achieve that goal I will find temporary work and save money. This entails living simply and not gathering a lot of new furniture and other gear. In fact, I could even give away or throw out some of the remaining stuff.

I’ve been a bit distracted in mind lately. Although preparing job applications and helping around the house doing cooking and cleaning for Mum, I am not so focussed on Dhamma as I was when living in Canberra. Or at least that is how it seems to me now. May be there is little difference except the location.

At random times throughout the day such as walking to the shops, driving Mum’s car or in the back yard, I note the breathing and get a sense that I’m drinking pleasure and happiness. It is a nice feeling though not one that I try to recreate or become attached to.

A few months ago, I read Ven. Ledi Sayadaw excellent book “Requisites for Enlightenment” who wrote about a traveling down the river metaphor adrift in a small boat. You can read this online if you search for it with Google Book Search.

I’ve paraphrased it differently to the book. A person is traveling down the river in a small boat at night looking for safe places to stop. As the boat drifts on currents the person can not see any places of safety. It is dark and quite scary. Then the light of a town appears and the person may or may not find a way to dock the boat and find safety. Through multiple rebirths, we drift through samsara finding danger and scary places without real safety. The lighted town is the Dhamma – teaching of the Lord Buddha that guides the person in the boat to safety.

Advertisements

Debt free

My plan now is to find employment as soon as possible and live cheaply while saving money to continue my journey.

I’ve been looking at job vacancies in the WA state government, universities and state branches of Commonwealth government departments. There seem to be quite a few positions that may suit my experience and background.

I will have a better idea for how long it will take to save travel money once I get a job and settle into a routine. I am not yet sure of expenses. It should be cheap to live here with my Mum and with my siblings nearby. I will not buy any furniture or other major items. I am glad I brought my suits and shirts over on this trip.

In the meantime, I shall continue reading my Tipitaka books and practicing meditation in spare moments. I have little inclination to go to movies or attend any other entertainments. I may attend family gatherings. My siblings and Mum often meet for dinner during the week and lunch on weekends.

Many kind friends have offered to loan money. I prefer to avoid debts. I feel very uncomfortable to owe money to family or friends. I want to clear my personal loan debt and hope other debts will be less or zero soon. Lord Buddha rightly said that being debt free is bliss.

Anana Sutta, AN 4.62

“And what is the bliss of debtlessness? There is the case where the son of a good family owes no debt, great or small, to anyone at all. When he thinks, ‘I owe no debt, great or small, to anyone at all,’ he experiences bliss, he experiences joy. This is called the bliss of debtlessness.”

I believe this debtlessness will be a cause for happiness and peace of mind. Happiness and peace of mind will be a cause for stronger concentration. Stronger concentration will be a cause for discernment to arise that will remove the cause for suffering. Thus working to be free from debt is Dhamma practice.

Yogis who practice in this way with right view will benefit in the present and the future. Non-Buddhists who may work to be free from debt will benefit a little. A sincere Buddhist with right view will benefit far more. A person who has this kind of right view – believing in intentional action and results (kamma) is building the perfections for the Eightfold Noble Path.

I should have at least $2000 saved in Australia for emergency use and also have travel insurance for 12 months which may be renewed if I stay in Asia longer as a lay man.

Delay

I am feeling better physically. I have slept well since finishing the moving and packing. My family have welcomed me very warmly here.

My plans are delayed because I don’t have enough money.

I have about $2300 in savings. Zero debt on credit cards. $2500 in personal loan debt. I have $1680 bond but this may totally disappear soon because I broke the lease 2 months early on my 18 Gillespie Street rental and need to pay rent until it is occupied by another tenant. The agent also wants me to pay for scratches to the wooden parquet floor and some extra cleaning to the kitchen.

In hindsight, I should have read the fine print for the rules for superannuation and long service pro rata. I previously estimated about $30,000 from super and about $14,000 from long service leave and annual leave. I was unable to get either. I found out about my super maybe two weeks ago and the long service leave on Thursday.

I had already resigned my job, ended my rental lease, told all Canberra friends and family of my plans to leave and bought my flight to Perth. So on Thursday, despite feeling a bit foolish and sad, I decided to continue to fly to Perth. I can stay with my Perth family.

Now my plan is to live cheaply with Mum in her 3 bedroom house, get a job and save money quickly to pay my personal loan debt and put aside $5-10,000 for my trip OS.

I shall go to Centrelink this morning to register unemployed and make contact with many employment agencies specialising in office work. I can try with the local universities for administration work as well as with the WA state government and branches of federal government departments here in Perth.

I would pay some board and for some incidental transport costs but otherwise, I should be able to save most of my income. I can’t predict exactly when I can save enough money. It depends on what work I can get. I may not be able to travel until sometime early next year.

There are always obstacles while we are unenlightened. I am determined to go on this journey.