We’re all big whiners. Like Goldilocks from Goldilocks and the Three Bears, we’re constantly unsatisfied. We don’t want a soft bed or hard bed, we want everything just right.
When we’re a kid we want the freedom our older siblings and friends have, but then later we complain about the responsibilities that are a part of the freedom. As adults we want jobs that aren’t too hard, but ones that challenge us and make us grow. We leave this lover for that person, but now we’re disappointed in them too. Are we starting to sense a pattern Goldilocks? 😉
It is important to our health that we full appreciate the fact that there is no such thing as ‘successful’ or ‘not-successful.’ There is only ‘wanting’ and ‘appreciating.’ That’s the only two things we actually do, although we tell ourselves all sorts of complex narratives about those two feelings.
We say we’re ‘angry,’ but what we mean is that we really want a different outcome than whatever has happened or we sense will happen. We can say we’re ‘in love,’ but in reality we’re simply engaged in the act of unconditionally appreciating another person’s qualities rather than wanting them to be different.
Similarly, we’ll say we’re ‘guilty,’ but what we really mean is that we want a different past, where we didn’t do whatever we did. Or we’ll say we’re ‘lucky’ when really we’re simply appreciating the general good-fortune that goes with our own basic existence.
We don’t improve our lives by improving out there. We improve our experience of living by focusing on what we’re doing within our own consciousness. The universe is a banquet.
Yes there are dishes it serves that repulse us, and there are others we cherish. But it was never our jobs to clear the table of all of the dishes. We can do our best to avoid what we do not like, but we cannot wish it entirely away from us. What we see as undesirable flavours of life can represent the joys of others, just as our joys may represent unpleasant experiences for others
To be healthy is not difficult in practice, we merely need to stop wanting things to be different than they are. As genuinely inviting as the concept of happiness seems, we often don’t need anything to be different to be happy. We simply need to understand that happiness is not derived by getting what we want, but rather from our appreciation for what we already have.
Many of us have heard these ideas so many times that we’re to the point where we’re largely just reading the words without thinking about the idea’s behind them, but these principles are alive in all of our lives and that is worth slowing down for and meditating on.
Hearing isn’t listening, reading isn’t considering. By focusing our attention we can listen to everyone as though we deeply know that the information they are sharing is critical, and that we profoundly respect its source. We are still free to have a negative reaction but, regardless, this way we enact our spiritual desire to experience people or places or ideas with our full attention.
If we’re searching for more peace, and if we come here to read or write this blog, then why not actually turn its suggestions into action? Why not make them verbs? Why not stop right now and review our life for all of our unnoticed good fortune?
Maybe our body works perfectly when many people’s don’t. Maybe we have a job that we worked hard to get. Maybe we have a family that doesn’t give us the support we hoped for, but they do give support in their own unique ways. Maybe our spouse doesn’t show their affection they way we want them to, but are we looking for how they do show it to us?
The secret of a good life isn’t to obtain everything we want, the secret is to understand that if our consciousness is open and active, then we increasingly realize that our life is filled with generosity.
Our existence is a verb. We are collectors of experiences. But our job is not to collect strictly positive experiences, nor are we failing when we experience negative ones. All lives are made of the movement between the various types of experiences.
That being the case, let’s all forget about our attachment to fostering good ones and stopping bad ones, and instead, as much as possible, let’s all chase happiness less strenuously. Instead, let’s collect experiences that we find rewarding enough that we’re willing to pay a price for them.
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.