“Let us train our minds to desire what the situation demands.”
Scott, I’m afraid I need translation here again. Can’t seem to wrap my brain around this one.
Imagine that I was an angel that watched over your every step. You are absolutely certain that I know every detail about your past and your future. And imagine that I explained to you that you were in for a wonderful life experience. I would explain that the route is crazy and bent and seemingly chaotic, but I would assure you that as lost or nutty as it might seem at times—you truly were on your way to great things. Can you see how you would see things differently?
The difference might seem semantic but there is salvation hiding in that subtle distinction. You could say when you saw the stairs in the photo, “Oh my God I can’t believe the beach is at the bottom of this huge staircase! What was uncle Benny thinking when he told us to come here? I’ll sure give him an earful when I get back.” But because I whispered in your ear and told you that every step of your life was necessary for you to enjoy greatness, you wouldn’t blame anyone. You’d be happy to walk down those stairs.
Sure, you might have a moment, but it makes all the difference in the world if—instead of saying the self-talk from before—you change it to, “Whoa. That’s a long way down there. Well, if this is the path to joy and riches at least it’s on a gorgeous day to a beautiful beach. All in all not a bad way to earn a great life.” That’s it. Just like the kid said in Life of Pi. Just pick whatever story makes you feel best. Because in reality life is not made of staircases, in reality life is made of stories about staircases. An awareness of that distinction is all that is required for your enlightenment.
A while back I wrote a blog where I referenced some magnate from the turn of the century. (Optimism vs Pessimism) He felt the world was always conspiring in his favour, so even when a deal went bad he was happy. In fact, he immediately would shift to what he could only presume was an even better deal. Like an airplane, can you see how his attitude took him higher and higher, to greater perspectives. Other people would have a negative attitude and they’d end up diving at the ground and then they would say they crashed because they’re unlucky, rather they’re unfortunate because they think they’re unlucky.
Trust me, when you’re on your deathbed you’ll think every step of this was worth it. The trick is to do that before then. Way before then. So start really getting conscious about your thinking. And if you can’t quiet it, at least re-direct it toward a nice, better story for you to experience. Because that is by far the biggest factor in determining whether or not you have a good or bad day.
Good luck with it. And thanks for starting us off for the New Year.
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.