There are times in life when we’re doing just fine, even spectacularly, but for our confused thinking about how we are doing. Rather than trying to do better, we can drop our story about how we’re doing and discover the natural genius that’s already at work.
Jenny Offill makes this observation about suffering in Tricycle Magazine, “The Buddhists say there are 121 states of consciousness. Of these, only three involve misery or suffering. Most of us spend our time moving back and forth between these three.”
What’s up with that? What if the primary cause of getting stuck in suffering is worrying about suffering?
When we try to impose high-mindedness on our decisions, we may inadvertently find ourselves invested in being right and in getting “good” results. When we make decisions instead from a quiet place, we tend to be less invested in being right. We decide with humility and with open minds and hearts, which leaves us free to learn and evolve as the consequences of our decisions play out.
In the course of our lives we experience all manner of ups and downs. Sometimes strong feelings result, and we have a natural tendency to be compelled by them. The more intense the feeling, the more compelling it seems.
But there is no necessary correlation between the intensity of a feeling and the truth of your thinking. None. Zero. Nada. A person can be 100% mistaken and feel utterly righteous about their point of view at the same time.
And here’s the deal. When we’re in the grip of intense feelings, our ability to see the truth by reflecting on what’s going on is impaired. We’re not likely to find the truth by thinking longer or harder about things, at least not until we’ve settled way down.
Understanding this can save huge amounts of wear and tear on your relationships, including your relationship with your business or career. The thing to do when you’re extremely worked up is to wait. Let your mind get quiet. No matter what the situation, the wisdom and insight you need to make a good decision will come from being settled down, not from letting strong feelings sway you.
There’s no need to deny or argue with how you feel. You don’t actually need to have an opinion about it. Just know enough to defer action until your thoughts are quieter.
It really is that simple.
Have a wonderful, wonder-filled week, and please let me know what’s in your heart by sharing it in the comments.
“Settle down” are two of the most powerful words in the English language. Here’s why.
We have a very different experience of life when we simply feel our feelings as opposed to when we worry about our feelings. The direct experience of sadness, for example, can be a doorway to compassion, whereas worrying about sadness leads to depression.