It’s All In My Head

Who reads dystopian novels when politics and social norms are going off the rails?  When deadly hurricanes, monsoons, fires and earthquakes consume the planet?  That would be me.  Just finished Margaret Atwood’s hellish trilogy: Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAdam.  Her imagination is extraordinary, and in today’s environment sadly believable.

Between my fixation on the political hullabaloo, reading apocalyptic books and Yuval Harari’s Sapiens, History of Humankind, I’ve indulged a serious look at the worst case scenario.

Curiously, I’m more aware than ever that “worst” – “best” – “bad” – “good” are just words.  World events may seem scary, dangerous; even infuriating.  For some they’re deadly.  How I internalize them, how I meet them, is peculiar to my personal beliefs.  This perspective determines whether I’m miserable or content.

A character in MaddAdam was weeding a garden and thought:

“… Weed is simply our name for a plant that annoys us by getting in the way of our Human plans.”

It struck me how easy it is to label things, even people and events as weed-like when they annoy me and intrude on my plans.  They aren’t – that’s all in my head.

As I digest all this the Serenity Prayer comes to mind:

The “wisdom” part – that’s what I need.  Knowing when to chill and when to act is hard AF.


“I have invented the world I see . . .   I have invented this situation as I see it.” ― A Course In Miracles (Lesson 32)


No Expectations

Wouldn’t it be awesome to be “struck wise?”

Been spending lots of time meditating on and contemplating living with no expectations, surrender; complete acceptance of what is.  The acceptance of things I can’t change.

Maybe the time for reflection on wisdom and courage has arrived.

Lowkey Letters #91017


Not My Monkey

“Not my circus . . . not my monkey”

My new mantra.

Spent hours searching within – making sure the crap flying around isn’t mine.  Conclusion?  It isn’t.  Not my circus, not my monkey.  Can’t “fix” it.  All I can do is have compassion and empathy . . . and step out of the way.

Lowkey Letters #9416


Carry On

From Paulo Coelho – Warrior of the Light  (p103)

“Jesus said: “Let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay.”  When the Warrior takes on a commitment, he keeps his word. 

Those who make promises they do not keep lose their self-respect and feel ashamed of their actions.  These people spend their lives in constant flight; they expend far more energy on coming up with a series of excuses to take back what they said than the Warrior of the Light does in honoring his commitments.

Sometimes he too takes on a foolish commitment which will in some way harm him.  He does not repeat this mistake, but he nevertheless keeps his word and pays the price for his own impulsiveness.”

I said I’d do it; so now I carry on.

When there’s no physical danger, no emotional threat; and the pledge remains intact . . . this is my best choice.  How many times do we “take on a foolish commitment” – only to regret it moments, a week, a month – years later?  I grew up in a throw-away society . . . where commitments seem easy to discard.  The damage this does to our psyche may be more than we realize.  Maybe repeating mistakes is connected somehow to our honor and our commitments.

“No” – a perfectly acceptable; sometimes preferable response.

“The river adapts itself to whatever route proves possible…” ― Paulo Coelho


Is it Reality . . . Is it Delusion – Part 3

It’s shockingly difficult to peel away from our cultural and familial upbringing.  Some trauma might cause questions and probing … but candidly, how many of us enjoy thoughtful self-reflection?  Too many people live and die in their prescribed swim lanes.

Yuval Noah Harari outlined a bright spot for me with “The Law of Nature” and Buddhism in his chapters on Religion.  Among other natural-law religions, Buddhism maintains “that the superhuman order governing the world is the product of natural laws rather than of divine wills and whims.”

“.. suffering is not caused by ill fortune, by social injustice, or by divine whims.  Rather, suffering is caused by the behavior patterns of one’s own mind.”

There is a way out of the “vicious cycles.”  When we understand “things as they are, then there is no suffering.  If you experience sadness without craving that the sadness go away, you continue to feel sadness but you do not suffer from it.”

“But how do you get the mind to accept things as they are, without craving?  To accept sadness as sadness, joy as joy, pain as pain?”  

“. . . train the mind to focus all its attention on the question, ‘What am I experiencing now?’ rather than on ‘What would I rather be experiencing?’”

Suffering is optional.

Easy to say … difficult to achieve.

We don’t just – poof – overcome the programming of a lifetime.  We live in the community of common delusion.  Your traffic jam is my traffic jam.

The world is constantly changing.  The Industrial Revolution brought questions and science, a “mentality of conquest”, capitalism – “greed is good” slogans; and some say the collapse of family and community.  Are we better off?  Are we happier?

Harari says maybe not.

“So our medieval ancestors were happy because they found meaning to life in collective delusions about the afterlife?  Yes.  As long as nobody punctured their fantasies, why shouldn’t they?  As far as we can tell, from a purely scientific viewpoint, human life has absolutely no meaning. … Hence any meaning that people ascribe to their lives is just a delusion.”

“This is quite a depressing conclusion.  Does happiness really depend on self-delusion?”

Is it all in my head?  Does it matter?

Harari brings me back to the Buddhist philosophy; “the key to happiness is to know the truth about yourself – to understand who, or what, you really are.”

And here I am again!  What is real?
Physical – objective facts … things I can see, touch, hear, smell & taste?
Or the imagined – the gods, nations, culture, economics?
Reality will change when I tell a different story.

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” ― Albert Einstein

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.  Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow.  Let reality be reality.  Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ― Lao Tzu