Rejecting Fear by Choosing to Play the Game you Want
In life, we are often taught little expressions which frame our perception of the world. Sayings such as:
- Life is not fair
- You can’t have your cake and eat it
- The darkest hour of the night is before dawn
- You can’t have the sweet without the sour
- Pride comes before a fall
Some of these expressions offer hope and give us strength, while others suggest the possibility of potential hard times to come.
Our egoic minds are designed to keep us safe, so love to grab hold of any expression which can help us foresee impending gloom and doom. It is a form of hardwired hazard fixation built in to the human brain which back in our hunter gather days (when there was a genuine risk of being eaten) would keep us safe.
Modern times are a bit different though, and while society and our living environments have evolved, our brains have not yet caught up.
Knowing that our minds have a tendency to find problems where potentially none exist is the first step to accepting that this is just what humans do. You can try and train your brain to only ever think positively, but it is simply not designed to do that.
The more you resist any possible negative forecast by drowning it out with positive thinking, the more you will in fact be adding strength to the argument.
Thinking in terms of a game table at a casino: the act of adding more chips to the losing table does not help you win the game. When you lose it turn out all you have done is give more chips to the banker to deal the next hand. Instead, you simply need to find a new game to play and place your chips elsewhere.
All Change Please
Earlier this year I experienced a significant amount of self-initiated change in my life. Becoming a father and moving in to a new house jointly owned by my wife and I (I was her tenant before!).
Around two years ago when I moved in with my wife, I started to build a vision of the future in my own mind… how I would feel energetically; how I would spend my time reading, reflecting, learning and meditating; growing our family and having a child; changing jobs; getting a new house; getting a dog…
Well, all of it has already or is in the process of coming true! (we decided a dog and new born was not a good idea!)
A funny thing started happening during this experience… I began to worry about what would happen if things went wrong.
The experience of the medial system throughout pregnancy was one of arse covering and statistical probabilities. Medical professionals quoting probabilities and facts rather than making evidence-based decisions – it was tough to keep the conversations objective and make the right choices for us.
We did it though!
Moving house was not a smooth ride either. Buyers dropping out, solicitors dragging their feet, what could have taken six weeks (in a perfect world), took seven months.
As everything else was falling in to place, the house move was still taking its time….
Due to mismanaging our own expectations around when we would move house, we started to create plans for what we wanted to do before baby arrived. As the mouse move did not manifest, we adjusted our plans and started to push things back in our mind, this led to us feeling like we were almost putting our lives on hold and psychologically living in the future.
While all this was happening, we were experiencing the final stages of pregnancy…
A recurring thought popping in to my mind… what if the house move falls though?… how will we feel?… what will we do?
After attempting some positive thinking and discovering that my mind had counter arguments for everything, I then realised there was only one choice.
Be grateful for the opportunities I have been afforded and accept all outcomes equally.
Become non-attached to the house.
I reminded myself that every experience in life affords us the opportunity to learn and grow. Regardless of if we get the house or not, everything happens for a reason. If life is giving me setbacks, it means I need to practice strengthening my resolve.
After firmly concluding that my wife, our family, and I would be happy and safe either way, I felt a sense of relief… no more dread and doom.
I simply decided to play a different game.
Life is simply nothing but a game. Events in our life only have the significance we choose to attach to them.
We have all the power and hold all the cards
It is our choice as to what and who that power is bestowed.
Non attachment is truly the key to contentment and satisfaction.
Learning how to apply this principle while keeping yourself motivated and committed is what life is really all about… but that is a subject for another day.
Enjoy, for now.