When extracting myself from old, ingrained ways of thinking, it is often easy to find a new way of thinking very beguiling. I am trying stay wary of the danger of re-indoctrination.
Recently I found myself in a discussion with a person who believed that “things have never been so good”. The prescribed response for me was to be shocked and surprised, and to argue animatedly with him – and I duly complied.
I tried to undermine his viewpoint for 30 minutes. It left me feeling utterly empty.
I began to suspect that having conquered the old fictions I used to adhere to, I might just be switching to using new fictions, and they are just as sticky. If my aim is to explore, then this must involve not sticking to any stance. Re-indoctrinating myself will suck all the meaning away, and spoil the adventure.
No problem or disagreement can ever be solved if everyone insists on being right. And the well-meaning urge to replace worrying thoughts with hopeful thoughts is still just about making up thoughts. Even though I do it all the time, I can’t see any good coming from concocting an idea of what “should be”.
It is surely more healthy, and certainly more respectful, to accept things as they really are (including what other people think), and move forward from there. Everyone is trying to find their way, in their own way, and it’s really not for me to judge.
I found it so easy to let go of having a plan to control future outcomes, or worrying about outcomes much at all. But often what I forget, or perhaps just find very difficult, is to stop trying to influence the present reality. If I could stop struggling to make the world fit my fiction, and just drop fiction altogether, I think I’d be doing myself a real service, as well as all those other people out there who are just doing their thing.
Because I’m beginning to understand the importance of just quietly doing your thing, as authentically and peacefully as possible. This, to me, is living. Happiness resides here – not elsewhere, or once the other thing has happened, or once 1,000 people know about it. It doesn’t matter what ‘your thing’ happens to be, because anything else is fiction and will inevitably be contrived and hostile. To manage to do this is probably the most powerful way to give to the world. It may not be loud, but it is about as active and influential as it gets.