You big whiner. You’re like Goldilocks from The Three Bears. You don’t want a soft bed or hard bed, you want everything just right. So when you’re a kid you want the freedom your older siblings and friends have, but then you complain about the responsibilities. You wanted out of school, but then you get out of school and you hate your job. You left this lover for that person, and now you’re disappointed in them too. Are you starting to sense a pattern?
Can you understand that there is no such thing as successful and not-successful? There is only Wanting and Appreciating. That’s the only two things you actually do, although you tell yourself all sorts of complex narratives about those two feelings. So you say you’re angry, but what you mean is that you want something different than whatever happened. You can say you’re in love, but really you’re just appreciating the other person’s qualities rather than wanting them to be different. You’ll say you’re guilty, but what you mean is that you want a different past where you didn’t do what you did. Or you’ll say you’re lucky when really you’re simply appreciating some aspect of the general good-fortune of your own basic existence.
You don’t improve your life by improving out there. You improve your experience of living by focusing on what you’re doing within your own consciousness. The universe is a banquet. Yes there are dishes that repulse you and there are some you like. But you weren’t supposed to clear the table of all of the dishes you personally don’t enjoy because those represent the joys of others. If it worked that way, then if they got the same control you want, there would be nothing left for you. It doesn’t have to be so absolute like that. You can just cherry pick your favourites and ignore the rest, just as they can.
Stop wanting different things than you have. As compelling as it seems, you don’t need anything to be different to be happy. You simply need to understand that happiness is not derived by getting what you want, it is drawn from appreciating what you already have. Now you’ll read right past this and think, “I know I know, I’ve heard it all before.” But hearing isn’t listening. Listening is hearing something as though you’ve never heard it before in your life. Listening is to truly consider another idea. So if you’re searching for more peace, and if you come here to read this blog, then why not actually turn its suggestions into action? Why not make them verbs? Why not stop right now and review your life for all of your good fortune?
Maybe your body works perfectly when many people’s doesn’t. Maybe you have a job you worked hard to get. Maybe you have a family that doesn’t give you the support you sought, but they give you support in their own way. Maybe your spouse doesn’t show their affection they way you want them to, but are you looking for how they do show it to you? The secret isn’t to attract to yourself everything you want. The secret is to understand that you will become aware of what pleases you if you attract to yourself by bringing it into your consciousness. And you can only do that if you’re looking for it.
Your existence is a verb. You are a collector of experiences. As much as possible, collect things you find rewarding. It’s that easy.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.