January 6, 2020 at 10:04 am #14301Bailey VincentKeymaster
QUESTION: Do you struggle with realistic thinking when it comes to your health?
I had an amazing New Years, thankfully, but struggled a lot with my mental health. Mostly, my patience. Due to the holidays, most medical appointments, tests and procedures go on “hold”, and it’s hard to reach the majority of our doctors.
Since I have some uncomfortable health stuff going on (but nothing that I felt warranted a trip to the ER- which is pretty much how I always feel about the ER), I felt trapped in a holding pattern of hurry up and wait. I felt stranded… alone… stuck; knowing that something isn’t right but that there was no fast-track to figuring it out either.
Some of my impatience as a patient is the knowing that 2020 is about to kick off fully, with busy schedules, deadlines and demands… but I’m not ready for it.
I naively wanted to “take care of everything” beforehand, so that I could jump back into life without the constant cloud of hospitalization or complication.
Does anyone else struggle with this way of thinking… or is it just me?
January 6, 2020 at 3:09 pm #14302Paul met DebbieParticipant
No it’s not just you, it is how the mind works for 99% of humanity. The mind is not realistic. It’s not per se because of your health, by the way (although that adds a challenge – but nothing you can’t handle with a little experience and wisdom). Most healthy people have exactly the same problems.
Your mind has a different agenda than your body, that’s all. And it’s in the driver’s seat. It always thinks it can squeeze more into your life (it thinks it is his life) and has a reason for everything (it’s fun, it’s expected, it’s good for you, why not, it will work out somehow, it is already announced, you got to meet your expectations, you did it last year, you are a lazy bum if you don’t do this, etc. etc.). Now it is your job to outsmart your mind. Mostly this boils down to plain ignoring the suggestions of the mind and listening to your body and heart in stead. Intuitively you are much smarter than your mind. Think of your mind as the little (wo)man on the elephant (your vast and wise intuition) who thinks (s)he is doing the loud stamping. Now, start being and believing the elephant, ignore the little (wo)man, (s)he’s a fool.
The problem is not, that the mind does not come up with an answer to your daily problems, the problem is the opposite. If only the mind would say: “I don’t know, there is no way solving this, something has to give”, but the mind never does (or only when it is too late). You give it a problem (or it finds a problem even mostly where no problem exists), and it will come up with an answer. The answers of the mind are generally speaking not of spectacular quality, because the mind can only juggle a few variables at a time and life is much more complex than that; and under pressure, the quality of the answers will really go down the drain rapidly and turn into sheer nonsense. The mind of course will present even this rubbish to you with pride and the confidence of a Nobel prize winner. Truth is, it can’t even predict tomorrow’s weather for sure.
So, the answer is: less pressure, less mind, more body, more intuition. Let life fill in itself a bit (or a lot, if needed) more. In Daoism this is called Wu Wei. Don’t push against the grain. For that to happen, you have to leave s p a c e in everything you do and plan. Remember, your body is 99.999999% space also. Where do you think it gets most of its wisdom from? I listen to a lot of pianists, and the best ones are those who “play” the best spaces between the notes, not those who play the best or the most or fastest notes. Space is exiting! Anything could happen in space (even nothing!). So don’t fill up every minute back to back with the next, that’s unnatural and leads to a predictable, boring and stressful life. Be realistic about your abilities and circumstances and plan for even a lot less. Say “no” on a regular basis. Learn to enjoy doing nothing and be curious about what might unfold in that situation. Some people find it really hard to do nothing for more than 5 minutes. Blaise Pascal said (400 years ago, why don’t we learn the lesson?): “All of humanity’s problems stem from mans inability to sit quietly in a room alone”. For those I suggest: learn to meditate.
Be honest to yourself about your true capabilities (the level of energy you can hold up on a sustainable basis with a big smile) and be happy about what is sustainable. Don’t plan for the max, plan for the spontaneous.
So, in short: Less is More. Really. Life is about quality, not quantity. It is immeasurable by any means or accomplishments. It’s not a race or competition, it’s not a journey, it is more like a dance. Like Alan Watts said: if a symphony would be about reaching the end of the composition, the best conductor would be the one that could make the orchestra play the fastest. But it is not about that. Likewise, a dance is not about reaching a certain place on the dancefloor at a certain moment. It is the dancing that counts, the process. To enjoy the process and make it beautiful and harmonious, you have to be relaxed and in your body, not stressed out, exhausted and in your mind – and there has to be space to improvise and let go and to make beautiful, exiting, breath-taking breaks.
Of course, you know all this intuitively already. So, let intuition drive your life and throw the mind in the back-seat. Un-think your life.
Happy spacious dancing!
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