When you were a kid, did you ever have a wheel come off of your Schwinn?
Have you ever been on a pumpkin patch ride, with a couple of Belgian Draft horses pulling the wagon, and one of the tongue bolts falls out, allowing half of the pumpkin cart to start swerving off in the wrong direction?
Did you have any fun as a kid?
When they are near misses… you can laugh. When someone gets hurt, it’s called an accident… and it’s not funny.
When was the last time “life” slipped in and allowed one of “your” life pins to fall out? Causing your “life trailer” to skid to a sudden stop?
Everything was going along just fine… then either a “bump in the road”, a “kerfuffle”, or an out an out “bottom dropped out”, happened to you?
I’ve had a strange two weeks.
A virus, NOT COVID way laid me for a week, then as I returned to work I blew a muscle out in my back, a rib muscle, no what happens when something messes with your ribs?
You can’t breathe right. Not good.
Laid up a couple more days.
Then on top of that, some bad news, and on top of that some news that might be bad or might be nothing… we won’t know for a little while yet.
Guess what topic I had started studying prior to all of these “life happens” instances?
Based off of a comment made by Jordan B. Peterson, “Life IS suffering.”
So I blended that study question with the questions on religion I’ve been studying.
Here’s my two cents so far.
“Life is suffering.” No argument here.
“Religion is mans attempt to alleviate suffering.” Maybe.
Zen and Stoicism, which are philosophies, ways of life, and are NOT religions… point to the fact that we are the cause of most, if not all, of our own personal suffering. [excluding any and all types of abuse perpetrated on you as a child]
Starting small I understand if I pick up a pebble in my shoe and it hurts to walk on it… I’ve learned to stop, acknowledge the pebble, remove the pebble, remove the suffering… and continue on my journey.
Moving up to my heart I’ve learned there are some things I have to work through that cause suffering, like unrequited love of a young girl, and having a heavy heart at fifteen is different than at forty.
Then as we enter the “mind” we learn, as I have this week, that our very thoughts, and our inadvertent overload of attention that we give them… is the main cause of our personal suffering.
We do not understand, nor were we taught, that we ARE NOT our thoughts!
This goes against every Positivity book, Success book, and personal growth book you will ever read… and if it takes you by surprise, like it did me… you will get a nice pretzel like condition going on in your mind as you work to understand this new perspective.
No science based journal, no psychology today article, nor any doctor or dentist can tell us where “thoughts” come from.
They all agree they “pop up from somewhere within us” but disagree, or have different view points as to “why”.
I’ll try to explain my mental pretzel conundrum.
The image was given to me through various readings I did this last couple of weeks as such… “If you are looking at, and pondering those thoughts that pop up, how can those thoughts BE YOU? Why do you believe them when you didn’t think them up, you don’t know where they came from, and 9 out of 9 times they are of a negative nature? How can YOU be in two places at once, even if it is just in your own head?”
That made so much sense to me… but then, the pretzel set in.
I asked myself, “Yeah, how can that be? Why do you believe “them” but not “yourself”, and you don’t trust anything, so why do you trust this thought machine, or whatever it is, when it calls you a “loser”?????
At first I was going to just chalk it up to the fever I had going on for a week. But after the fever broke… the pretzel remained.
Setting a goal, or clarifying a thought we have in wanting to become something, oh say, I don’t know… an author… are not the type of thoughts that have me in a pretzel jam.
My take on trying to attain a goal is this… “those require intentional thoughts coupled with deliberate actions in order to make those thoughts come to life.”
The thoughts that “just pop up” that we fixate on… are something else.
The art of Zen deals directly with these thoughts by… not dealing with them… “they are but clouds, let them float harmlessly by”, our problem is we send up some kind of personal suffering net, capture the cloud, and harass it into raining on us so that we have even more to complain and worry about!
Thereby CAUSING and CONTINUING our own personal suffering… when in FACT there is nothing to be suffered, it literally, is all in our own mind!
As we mature, if we look hard enough, or have a good teacher, we find out about SELF AWARENESS. I used to think that was a mumbo-jumbo term… turns out… it’s real.
Since getting healthy in 2016, I’ve learned my body well enough to know I was getting sick, before I got sick last week, and when I blew my back out, right as I was lifting, before the muscle gave way, I said to myself, “Something doesn’t feel right”, and my mind… I’m getting to know that crazy SOB everyday, because everyday, it’s something else.
I left off my studies at the point where you try to step back in your mind and just watch your thoughts.
Some articles recommended writing the thoughts down just as they occur, not dwelling on them, just describe it as it floats past.
With a “DO NOT ENGAGE!” light flashing. Just see them for what they are.
Turns out any human being with a brain, goes through similar thought patterns.
Some are better at understanding what it is that’s going on… and they don’t give those thoughts any kind of authority over their day.
My first step was understanding that the SELF-AWARENESS part… is actually a thing, and now trying to learn how to NOT ENGAGE, but how to IDENTIFY those thoughts that are negative in nature, are they Cirrus, Cumulonimbus, or just smoke from a burnt pretzel?
Whatever they are I need to learn… to just let them float on by.