For quite a while a couple of pieces of paper have been sitting by my computer, emblazoned with what I'm sure is very wise advice that I scribbled down.
Only problem is, it's been so long since I penned those scribbles, the inspiration that I wanted to convey through them has faded.
But I still grasp the gist of my pithy platitudes. So here they are. (Now I can throw those pieces of paper away... finally!)
Reality is neutral. Pretty straightforward. I'm speaking here of the reality that exists outside of human minds. Which, given the vastness of the universe, is virtually all of reality -- minus the tiny bit that lives inside our brain cavities.
I like this thought because it puts things in perspective. Often we think something like, "The universe really has it in for me today," or "I think the universe is trying to teach me a lesson."
No, and no. Neither is true. Reality doesn't care about anything, including us. Reality is what is. It is we humans who construct positive and negative meanings out of the neutral materials of reality.
Shakespeare said this in Hamlet:
Why, then, 'tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.
Our stories should be believable. The inspiration for these words probably came from my wife.
She has a habit, which can be annoying at times, of blurting out while I'm engrossed in a movie or show we're watching on our TV, "That's not realistic."
(See my blog post, Why my wife's "That's not realistic" drives movie-watching-me crazy.)
Laurel will even do this with animated films. She has a strong desire for things to make sense in a movie or television show. Me, I'm more comfortable with absurdity.
But when it comes to real life, the stories we tell both about ourselves and the outside world, those stories should be believable. Certainly to ourselves. Ideally to others as well.
Otherwise we end up inhabiting a thinly populated reality, which isn't a sociable way to live.
I am how the world wants me to be. Sometimes I say this to myself when my day isn't going so well, and I'm blaming myself for screwing something up.
That's usually an unbelievable story I've crafted (see above).
Why? Because who we are and what happens to us is a massively complex web of interrelationships, causes and effects that extend far beyond the boundary of any particular person.
So I find comfort in the idea that how I am at any given moment is how the world wants me to be. Not in the sense of a conscious wanting, because that isn't how the universe operates.
Just in the sense of my current state of being reflecting much more than whatever I did a little while ago. That whatever blossomed from seeds planted in a myriad of places.
Genetic. Familial. Environmental. Experiential. All extending from a time prior to my birth and continuing well past my death. There's no way any of us are masters of our own life.
We're minute cogs in a much larger machinery that's far beyond our comprehension.