I met a nice single lady with no kids today who can’t sleep. She is up worrying all night. She focuses on what she cannot control and doesn’t pay mind to what she can as much of what she can isn’t the end point she would like to see or have happen. Although she has yet to have her own children she is like every mom worrying over the life and success of her child, that of which she has no control over. Too much of this Sisyphean stance toward life and one will end up feeling anxious, defeated and depressed as it causes one to feel personally responsible for everything in life that goes wrong or doesn’t succeed. It’s these boulders that one is trying to sleep on every night. We can control many of the small things in our lives like our decisions but we have no control whatsoever on outcomes.
Like my bumper sticker used to say: “Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.”
If we concentrate on the first two we can sleep. If we focus on the latter, boulder city!
There is a sixth sense humans have. It is what I will call ambience sense. Like how a color influences how you feel in a room, or how music can make you happy or apprehensive based on the rhythm and tones, this sense influences how we interpret the meaning of our surroundings. If this sense is focused inwardly and not out in our environment as it is supposed to be to help keep us alive it can make us paranoid or bitter or helpless. Everything will be interpreted via the stunted sense. It is inheritable as well. Not necessarily genetically but via another sense humans have, empathy. We pick up the mood of others and it feels like our mood. If we grow up in an environment where mom or dad are always apprehensive, fearful, angry ect. that will often be our ambience sense as well. We might walk on eggshells in life. Or try not to crack eggshells?
So how can our nice lady learn to focus on what matters, what she actually has any influence on? The most effective way to gain control is letting go of control. Only then you will learn to be flexible. Studies show that happiness is directly tied to flow. Being caught up 100% in the moment. This challenges ones brain to problem solve and improvise which are what the brain’s purpose is in the first place. It is what we are best at naturally but don’t often know it. So we never do it. We spend 90% of our lives fucking up the way our brain works best. This is the practice of what the Buddhists call the doing of non doing or active non doing. It just means getting out of the way. For instance you can’t stop a wave but you can climb on the back of it and ride it. It takes some practice but this works well for panic, apprehension, and or control issues.
It is Ironic that what we are able to do naturally and automatically is not intuitive in our culture. We have learned to micromanage everything especially ourselves.
Our lady, the mom with no kids, is already helicopter parenting. But the most effective parenting for success has been shown to be in letting your kids actually experience disappointment and failure and encouraging them to problem solve.
This same Lady asked me the meaning of life. I had an answer, “BALANCE!” One manifestation of balance is this, like with the wave, learning to climb on the back of life rather than trying to stand up to it and force it to stop for you. There are other manifestations of balance but that is another essay.
Our Nice Lady will one day be a good parent for she really cares but with some active non doing she will also be an effective parent.