Whoa Woe

If you blame your woe on something, and that “something” goes away, you’ll be left with woe and nothing to blame it on. In some sense, it’s a worse predicament to be in. So, you’ll find a new source of sorrow. But what if all potential sources of strain dry-up and you’re stuck with only woe?

You’ll have a dilemma: what’s the root-cause of my dissatisfaction? All external scapegoats have failed. As happens in the thrillers: “The call is coming from INSIDE the house!!” Everything on the outside has proven itself incapable of serving as a source of dissatisfaction or satisfaction. Now what!?

Obviously, mental-discipline is the answer – it’s literally the only option. But how does one effectively apply mental discipline? That’s the problem. Awareness, consciousness, presence, nowness – whatever you call it, it’s a necessary component. If your mind is wandering, getting lost in life, you can’t apply mental discipline.

Awareness can be used to monitor and steer “focus”. Focus on unpleasant topics, you’ll feel bad. Focus on pleasant topics, you’ll feel better. Be advised though: finding and devising pleasant topics takes effort – but it must be done. Accepting defaults hasn’t worked, you need to seek and experiment until delightful topics are found.

In a good way, you’ve found the source of dissatisfaction. You’re dissatisfied because you’ve failed to apply mental-discipline. You haven’t invested the effort in remaining awake and aware – and as a result, you’ve lacked proper focus. Without intentional focus, you’ve experienced a mishmash of mayhem.

The world you experience is derived from your focus. If you focus on negativity, you consume negativity. Whereas if you eat cake, you experience cake. From the menu of life, you must seek and select what’s preferable, delightful even. By your careful cultivation, you create a world in which you want to live.

Garbage Disposal

Do you share your poop with the world? Do you even share your poop with yourself? No, of course not. You flush it – oftentimes without giving it a second thought. In other words, your body produces waste-products that were never meant to be shared or honored or held in any regard.

My point is this: fear, anxiousness, anger, frustration, hopelessness, gloominess, regret, shame – all these negative emotions are mere waste-products of an overactive mind. The mind is producing thought after thought – and in the process, detritus develops. You certainly shouldn’t collect it, then parade it around for all to see!

FLUSH IT. Don’t honor it, don’t sweep it under a rug, don’t store it for safe-keeping – just rinse it down and never think of it again. Something happens and your mind makes a big-deal of it, then all these negative emotions fill-up your mental space ready to spill their toxicity at the slightest nudge.

Instead of waiting for an imminent disaster, dispose of this sludge responsibly. Don’t make it anyone else’s problem. Don’t even make it your own problem. Put in the effort and apply the discipline to keep your mind clean and free of debris at all times. As they say: A mind is a terrible place to store waste.

Mental Prep

The conscious mind is under constant attack from the wandering mind. If you don’t prepare by practicing the act of unfocusing, you WILL suffer. You need to be able to remove your attention from any thought at any time without delay or hesitation. You’re dealing with a power that is ready, willing, and able to inflict as much pain as possible through imaginary ideas and visual imagery.

This trickster knows what works and how to attain your attention. Selecting known attack-vectors, this hacker exploits your weaknesses, infiltrates your system, and maxes-out your resources. You’re owned. On the plus side, it’s easy to detect when you’re being hacked: your system will be spinning at full-throttle. If you’re amped-up, anxious, and upset – it’s a hack in-progress.

In other words, if you’re thinking the same emotionally-charged thoughts over and over, you’re being exploited by the wandering mind. It’s not an advanced mechanism, it’ll keep using whatever works. If thinking about an incident from a decade ago makes you upset, then you’ll keep seeing that scene pop-up in your thoughts. But instead of allowing the wandering mind to follow that thought, you need to unfocus from it. See the familiar scene, notice the emotion, and shut it down.

Your enemy, your abuser, your torturer has been tormenting you your entire life and will continue until the day you die. If you’re not angry about this, you’re a moron. If rage doesn’t fill you with the motivation to destroy this usurper, you’re a fool. Take back your mind. Make ready for war – fight!

But here’s the deal: your experience of existence is like sitting in a car in which you floor the accelerator. And unfortunately, you never consider grabbing and controlling the steering wheel. Thus you’re crashing every few feet while the unmanned wheel causes the car to swerve all over. Therefore, the true enemy here is your own negligence. Grab the wheel, dummy!

Suffering is the result of unfettered thoughts within a wandering mind. You need to gain control and train your consciousness to unfocus from thoughts. The less you focus on unpleasant thoughts, the better you’ll feel. And recognize that memories are just reoccurring thoughts, you simply unfocus on those like any other. In short: if you feel dissatisfied and don’t want to, then discipline the mind until it goes away.

Following Along

Do not follow the wandering mind.

Images and ideas pop into awareness like lures on a fishing hook. Take a bite and be whisked away, up through the surface and into an intense adventure. To experience tranquility, ignore the invitation.

But boredom must be avoided! So snap at every temptation! Intensity increases and anxiety accumulates! Eventually the condition becomes uncomfortable. Let go, detach – don’t follow.

The mind paints pictures and presents them into awareness, that’s what it does. Whether focus remains on those pictures, that’s what consciousness decides – that’s free-will at work.

The speed at which this unfocusing takes place is improved through practice. Meditation is one such exercise. Dedicate and apply effort towards unfocusing on thoughts. Lead by focusing on awareness.

Wandering Mind

When I stop to notice what I’m feeling, I often find that my thoughts are causing me distress. Antagonizing and abusive thoughts are constantly bombarding my awareness. What a way to spend the day!

Realizing the absurdity of the situation, I aim to fix it. But how? Well, I see that the source of the problem is my wandering mind. It’s an unruly beast that likes to roll around in muck and mire.

The solution is to leash the beast, to put it under ceaseless surveillance, not allowing it to wander where it wants. I must stop myself from getting lost in its chaotic rambling.

In that sense, negligence is the true cause of my distress. I must stop shirking the duty of monitoring my mind. I must not follow it down dark and dingy pathways. I must maintain awareness and focus on what I prefer.

In short: happiness and satisfaction are the result of a well-disciplined mind.

Thorns of Thought

In a virtual world, like a dream, anything can be anything. This fundamental fact is a prescription for eradicating anxiety. Since everything is malleable, there’s no application for worry. Early warning signs point to a potential, not to an absolute. Follow those signs and you’ll surely find what you’re looking for. But ignore them, and they’ll fade from existence.

Here’s something to consider: what is the interface for a virtual world such as this? There are no obvious buttons, no onscreen keyboard to summon – so how does one input their wishes into the world? There is but one way: focus. Of course, focusing one’s attention is a difficult operation to master. This is the purpose of meditation: it’s a concentrated practice of concentration – a way to make the seemingly-impossible possible.

The point is to stop following every little thought. These thoughts aren’t the problem, they’re like thorns as you walk through a garden. Don’t interact with them, and you remain without pain. Focus on them, wonder what happens when they press against flesh, then their prick provokes distress. Playing with each and every thought as it comes into view is an ever-flowing source of dissatisfaction.

Your focus betrays you. If you allow it to wander, you’ll crash. Whereas if you steer your attention in a delightful direction, your experience vastly improves. But be advised: this is not an effortless task because boredom encourages negligence. Thrilling ways lead to exciting days – and the mind seeks drama. This is the other facet of meditation: to become comfortable sans-spectacle.

Quiet the mind, intentionally guide it: you win. Forgo discipline and allow the mind to wander wherever: you lose. One evokes satisfaction, the other suffering. This concept can be tested and proven, faith is not required. Left to its own devices, the mind becomes a bitter pessimist poisoning your experience. But if you invest the effort, the mind may be molded into a cheerful companion that gladdens your days.

Inner World

Here’s a question you should be asking yourself regularly:

What kind of world am I creating within my thoughts? Is it a world in which I’m worried, annoyed, or frustrated? If so, then that’s a dumb habit you need to break. What’s happening in the mind is typically much worse than what’s happening in your actual external experience. Your thoughts devise tragic and dire consequences, haunting you with the worst outcomes imaginable. It’s not protecting you from future possibilities, your mind is straight-up torturing you right now.

Or rather, you’re tormenting yourself. Why? There’s no valid reason, so stop. Instead of creating a dissatisfying world, try thinking of a world in which you feel anticipation for something delightful, think of an amusing world, a world you appreciate, a world in which you experience an overall sense of satisfaction. It’s just thoughts, you can select which ones to dismiss and which ones to focus on.

If the external world burned around you, it wouldn’t matter. Your thoughts can be your refuge. The inner world you create should be an ally – not an enemy. It shouldn’t be used to pile on the pain, but ease your burden. Your thoughts should be your best friend, forever painting scenes to entertain and enchant. If this isn’t the case, then you’re in need of a major adjustment.

These are YOUR thoughts after all. If at any moment you feel upset, you know you’re focusing on unpleasant thoughts. Cease and desist this low-quality hobby – immediately. Perhaps you’re bored and scaring yourself for the excitement-factor. Find something better, something enjoyable. Focusing on unpleasant thoughts is like choosing the hobby of hitting your head with a hammer – it’s dumb, don’t do it.

Start a new hobby. No more creating a world of woe for yourself. For this new hobby, craft a wondrous world of wow. Stop taunting and start treating yourself to the most satisfying thoughts possible. Imagine an honored and beloved guest is coming to visit a world of your making, how would you design such a place? Now allow yourself to be that honored and beloved guest – allow yourself to live in that world.

Bad Days

I’m pretty sure “bad days” are a real phenomenon. There have been days in which I feel good, like I’ve got things figured out, like everything’s going to be better than okay – like I’m a winner. Then all of a sudden, I’m sucker-punched in the gut, doubled-over and questioning my entire existence and hating everything this wretched-world has to offer.

Then things kinda go back to normal and I follow my usual daily routine. I’m not sure if those bad days typically follow the days in which I feel like a winner – or are they just randomly interspersed. Is it a normalization process in which my ultra-positive attitude is brought back down? Or simply some bit of chaos mixed into an otherwise boring routine?

It’s like having a nightmare. Hm, well if life is a dream, then having some nightmarish days makes sense I suppose. Although I wonder if I encourage them, or do they appear randomly. It’s really easy to get lost in the narrative of a bad day too. I suppose I should try to recognize those days as soon as possible and do something about it. Hm, but what – especially when my energy feels so drained.

Maybe bad days aren’t so bad? Maybe they’re just days filled with potentiality – swirling with chaotic creativity, providing a chance to switch things up, an opportunity to step off of a dull habit-formed path. Hm, maybe. Well, on a bad day I suppose I shouldn’t attempt to follow my typical daily routine – maybe that’s why I lack the energy to do so.

Since everything is harder, it only leads to frustration, so maybe I should try something new? Instead of: “Oh boy, it’s going to be a real struggle to get through today. Nothing I usually do is working, it’s like failure around every corner.” It becomes: “Oh wow, it’s a day of chaotic creativity! I shouldn’t expect my usual approach to work today. Therefore, I should refrain from my typical routine and try something different!”

Floundering Finish

Think of it this way: life isn’t supposed to be a straight line. The screw-ups are part of the path. If you’ve ever sat on the bowl with the sun beaming in, a brownie slithering out while you catch a whiff and retch from the stench – you know life isn’t a serious place. It’s a joke and your mortal frame is the punchline. Making it from point A to B isn’t the point – point B doesn’t matter, it’s simply an excuse for the slapstick in-between.

Think of what Captain Picard said to Data: “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.” In other words, failure is part of the deal. Why? If you’ve ever seen any movie or TV show, you’d see flawed characters stumbling through life, fools attempting tasks beyond their reach. Yet from time to time these goofballs actually achieve something – an absurdity that proves humorous. Off-kilter narratives are the threads with which existence is woven together.

Like those characters on screen, your life is a not-so-serious narrative in which a dummy wanders amongst other dummies, all attempting absurd activities in which nothing of note is accomplished. It’s a joke: laugh. To witness life pass by and never smile is a heinous act. It’d be a setup that goes unappreciated. Silence lingering long after the punchline is delivered, just waiting for your laugh – but you sit stone-faced, unmoved by the attempt.

But that’s not how it should be, you should be grinning and giggling the entire time, ready to roll on the floor in complete appreciation of the ongoing hilarity. Remember: getting from one point to another doesn’t matter – it’s the laughter along the way that counts. Who cares how the movie ends, when it’s over it’s over – you should be focusing on the gags in the current scene, those are the parts that incite delight. In other words: keep your attention on the flick in front of you, stop wandering around the lobby, cease thinking about other things. And keep this in mind: the most entertaining adventures are those in which the protagonist flounders to the finish.

Cake Life

If you add nasty ingredients, you’re going to make a nasty cake – right? Frustration, bitterness, suspicion, disgust, jealousy, fear, rage, pessimism – these types of ingredients would make for a nasty life. A great life requires great ingredients. When mixing up a cake, you don’t throw whatever’s in the pantry into the cake – right? Some oregano, strawberry jelly, and a can of beans? No, you only include the required ingredients for deliciousness, such as flour and sugar.

Ingredients to life are added through focus. For example, if I arrive at a surprise party, I can focus on the fact that my family tricked me and betrayed my trust as they jumped out of the darkness to scare me. How dare they! Or, I can focus on the effort and thoughtfulness that must’ve went into planning the party and maintaining the element of surprise. Wow, what a great family!

Life’s ingredients are added every moment of the day. A pleasant experience is created when we focus on aspects of life that amuse and delight. Whereas a thrilling high-intensity experience is crafted by focusing on aspects that evoke fright. The recipes are pretty simple: for something sweet, find the fun – for something bitter, focus on the most unpleasant facets you can find.

Life is whatever you focus on. Focus on struggle and strain and all the failures you’ve had? Life is hard and you’re a loser! Focus on the great things you’ve done and all you’ll eventually accomplish? The world is full of opportunities and you’re its champion! Your focus determines the world you experience. Focus on filth, then everything’ll be dirty. Focus on ducks, you’re going to see a lot of ducks. So why not focus on the things you enjoy most. (One caveat: don’t focus on the LACK of things you want. Proper focus should always evoke pleasant feelings.)