This blog is essentially about the memes floating around that people see but rarely stop to think about deeply. This means people often misunderstand the meme, or they find it is nebulous and ephemeral when in practice its application is ordinary and practical.
In this case, the meme clearly reminds us that ‘positivity’ is not ‘happiness.’ Positivity is a choice about where to locate our consciousness. We can be at the wedding of a friend and be miserable if our thoughts are about a bad time at work that week. Likewise, we can be doing very hard work, but if it feels worth it to us we can feel very positive.
External circumstances do not dictate the quality or direction of our thinking. Do not follow these trains of thought as though they are separate from you. Get present instead. That is when those thoughts are created. They are always happening the Now.
Today, when you run into things that feel maddening, or frightening, or scary, just remember that those are just a few of the billions of experiences we’ll have in our lives. What we’re thinking about now is often only important now. Think of past periods of tension and fear. You survived. You will be okay.
No single action guarantees a lifetime of happiness or suffering. Nelson Mandela went to jail and was abused. Yet it turned out that negative experience was a necessary step in him becoming President, and a world leader. He even ended up missing the prison and all the time he had to just ‘be.’
Accepting hard times is the act of choosing to stay conscious of the fact that no problem is permanent, and that despite whatever is happening, we will go on to have many more positive and negative experiences. We want to grow comfortable with that ebb and flow.
If all we do today is remember that one thing about life then we will have been more conscious. And that’s important as practice. Because over time, nothing will generate more good feelings in our lives than being more conscious about what we choose to think about and how we choose to think about it.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.