Sunday, 5 May 2013

Week 19: Reality is reality, no matter what I think.

I've already mentioned I'm a sensitive sort. One of the ways this plays out for me is when I see an ambulance/police car/fire truck/police helicopter/someone crying/people fighting/etc etc. Immediately, my stomach churns, I get a cold chill and my mind kicks into a frenzied panic trying first to work out what may have happened (the sticky-beak syndrome) and then to explain it away (the everything-is-surely-ok syndrome). Ultimately, it makes me feel ill to think that the world isn't always a happy, shiny place. There is sadness, fear, sickness, death ... It's inevitable.

Sorry for the doom and gloom, but I promise the lightness in this post is coming (well, relative lightness, anyway). 

The other day I looked out the window to see a police car parked on our street. My heart dropped. Dis-ease, right on my doorstep. My illusion of a happy world shattered once more. Then I stopped and gave myself a good talking to: "Come on, Erica. You know that what you think of this situation doesn't actually change what is really happening. And you have no idea what is happening. It would be the same whether you saw the car or not. The only difference is that now you're spending precious time thinking about something you have no control over". Right. Good thing my sensible side was there to slap some sense into me.

Let me explain a little more ...

When I was training to become a yoga teacher, I had one of those 'aha moments'. After studying the Yoga Sutra's of Pantanjali for months on end, it was starting to make some sense. One day, while on the train on my way to work, I saw some teenagers out the window who were "up to no good" (I didn't really know this, it just looked suspicious!). Of course, my body and mind immediately reacted and as the train pulled out of the station I couldn't let it go. In my mind I was trying to explain what I'd seen; then I tried to make it all ok - I needed to patch up this bruise I'd seen to make my vision of the world more ideal. Then it struck me - my mental gymnastics over what I'd seen changed nothing. Absolutely nothing. All it did was make me upset. It was like a light had switched on in my head and I could see clearly the futility of my thoughts. 

Since that day, I've been better at noticing this tendency of mine, but it's still there, ready to play havoc when I hear or see something 'bad'. So this week I'm going to give it a little more attention: reminding myself that what I think about something doesn't in itself change reality. Reality is what it is, no matter what I think*

*This isn't to suggest I want to become complacent or uncaring. It's simply a recognition that what I think doesn't change a thing. I could, of course, act when something is a-foot, should it be appropriate.

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