Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sunday, May 14: Ch. 14: Who's Doing This

Now, life can get interesting. If we are happy, cool, be happy. If we aren’t happy, where is this coming from? As you may have guessed, if you gotten this far, happiness does not descend from outer space, or the surroundings. It is something we do. Now, this is only my experience. Don’t you believe that until you’ve figured out whether or not that is true for yourself.

Every time you are unhappy, look for the pieces: the constriction of breathing and movement and ease in our bodies, a bunch of thoughts, and a possible racket, or at least a set of actions we get engaged in, or predisposed to. These actions might be going to the corner and sitting in it and bending up in a little bummed out ball, but that’s an action. It takes a certain amount of doing to pull ourselves away from the world and keep ourselves all curled up. The curling up, of course, will relate to restricted breathing and constricted movement.

Looking at the thoughts that accompany our unhappiness is the genius of the Byron Katie work, which I might as well get around to soon, though it might be time for a little more moving next chapter, but before her method even, just to notice that the feeling of our feeling is one thing, and the thoughts, are another. One way to know the thoughts aren’t so useful to our life is to note how they go over and over and over, like a stuck record, and how, if we are the chatty type, we try to get other people to hear them over and over and agree. Agree how wronged we were. Agree how bad someone else is. Agree what a tough break we’ve had. This gets close to racket land, but it’s at the heart of most unhappiness, the insistence on being Right.

And, if we are slaves to the usual world of other people’s perceptions, we can only be Right, if other people agree with us.

So watching the thoughts go on and on, and maybe even getting a little bit sick of spending our lives that way can be a nice lead up to the Byron Katie work.

And what of feelings that just “sneak up” on us, and don’t have any thoughts attached. We just feel “out of sorts,” or “down.”

Well, I’d say, without the thoughts, they are pretty easy: just sense what you feel, let the breathing be free, do some free and interesting movement, and they’ll take care of themselves. If “just” feeling, say, “out of sorts” leads us to begin to judge or complain about others, then we have a batch of thoughts we can work with, and then we can work with that.

And if we don’t want to work with our thoughts, and we want to obsess and we want to be right, hell, let’s just admit it: we want to be unhappy. And then, we can be unhappy about our wish to be unhappy. Or we can be curious about that. What gives if we want to be unhappy?


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