Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sense of Foreboding

I'm not sure when it happened but recently I realized that I often view some of the things I have to do as "something I just have to get through." I'll look at my schedule for the coming weeks and think something like this: "Oh, that event/party/parade/vacation or whatever…I just have to make it through that and then I'll be fine." 

I'm wondering if this is what it's like to get older.

I'm more likely to have a sense of dread about events that have a big facet of the unknown to them. Like I'm going to an unfamiliar place, or where there will be a lot of people I don't know. The thought is: "what the heck am I going to have to deal with?" And this sense of uncertainity triggers the sense that somehow I'm going to have a hard time getting through it.

The good news is that the more I force myself into situations I'm uncomfortable with, the better I'm able to face life and its unknowns with a sense of purpose and courage.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Value Judgments and Social Media

Recently I posted something to the effect that making judgments causes us misery. With this notion in mind, I examined my use of social media. While on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc, I am compelled to make dozens of decisions per minute about whether or not I "like" something or have an comment-worthy (or share-worthy or reblog-worthy or retweet-worthy) opinion about it. Not only am I using my own judging sense, I'm being subjected to other peoples' opinions about what's worthy of my time and attention. All this agreeing, disagreeing, liking, disliking, etc makes my brain buzz with value judgments, hundreds if not thousands of them a day. And I can tell you from experience I'm a lot happier when I can brush off opinions and just rest in what is.

In a nutshell, social media compells me to put a value filter on everything. And that often makes me rather grumpy. So my summer goal is Less Social Media.

I have a beautiful backyard with a hammock. Come visit me sometime.

And just in case you did want my opinion:

It's my belief that reducing thoughts that mentally make us separate from others is the key to contentment. (I'm aware that's just my opinion and you may disagree). All the same, we naturally fall into the habit of judging, and there's no need to beat ourselves up about it. That's just how it is, and one can strive to be more mindful of one's judging, or not. I'd argue that being mindful of when you are putting a value filter on things can lead to a happier, more peaceful state of mind, even if you can't eliminate the judging itself.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Spot the Pattern

I need to read the same thing from multiple sources before it finally occurs to me to put it all together and internalize the message. So in a marvelous coming together of resources, nearly every book I’ve read recently is saying the same basic thing in different ways.

See if you can detect the pattern:

“All we need to do is pay attention. We don’t have to decide if something is good or bad, right or wrong.  We don’t need to have judgments about what kind of person we are because we have certain kinds of thoughts of thoughts or feelings or reactions. That is the road to suffering. Our job is quite different: Just notice. What is happening right now? We notice this, then this, then that, then that… We pay attention to all of it. Where is the suffering?”
Suffering is Optional, by Cheri Huber

“The Indian philosopher J. Krishnamurti once remarked that observing without evaluating is the highest form of human intelligence. When I first read this statement, the thought, “What nonsense!” shot through my mind before I realized that I had just made an evaluation. For most of us, it is difficult to make observations, especially of people and their behavior, that are free of judgment, criticism, or other forms of analysis.”
Nonviolent Communication, by Marshall Rosenberg

“In a Zen kitchen, you do not compare or judge one apple as better than another. Every piece of food is unique unto itself, and every item of food is to be cherished without comparison.” – The Mystic Cookbook, by Denise Linn and Meadow Linn

“The Great Way is not difficult;
It only avoids picking and choosing.
When love and hate are both absent,
Everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest distinction, however,
And heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
If you wish to see the truth,
Then hold no opinions for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike
Is a disease of the mind.
When the deep meaning of things is not understood,
The mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail.
The Way is perfect like vast space,
Where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess
Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject
That we do not see the true nature of things.
Live neither in the entanglements of outer things
Nor in inner feelings of emptiness.
Be serene in the oneness of things
And such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.
To deny the reality of things
Is to miss their reality;
To assert the emptiness of things
Is to miss their reality.
The more you talk and think about it,
The further astray you wander from the truth.
Stop talking and thinking
And there is nothing that you will not be able to know.

So continuing in this theme, I will neither comment nor judge the preceding quotes. I simply present them to you, to make of what you will.