I hate doing laundry. I absolutely hate it. Today is laundry day and remaining true to my ritual, I procrastinated as much I could until I finally humped my hamper into the laundry room and threw everything in the washer. Moments later, here I am thinking about why I continue to torture myself in this way.
I sat down and thought about this for a while and I realized that I'm the one that's actually making this a lot more difficult than it needs to be. Because while it's true that the thought of doing laundry… well sucks(I'm gonna go ahead and assume such sentiments is universal) , the act itself really isn't all that bad. I mean it's not fun and it requires energy but what I realized is that it's really not as bad as my mind makes it out to be. I implore you stay present your next laundry day and see for yourself that it's really quite simple and easy.)
And I wonder if I didn't stumble upon a much bigger truth here that can be applied to numerous other facets beyond procrastinating doing laundry and even procrastination itself. I think this insight – that things are often much worse in our minds(as thoughts) than how they are in reality – can be extended to thinking itself. And how many times does this happen in our lives? We do it all the time. We think ourselves into bad situations. We psyche ourselves out by imagining the worse case scenario of things. We think ourselves out of opportunities. And of course, we think that menial tasks like doing laundry is going to suck a lot more than it actually does.
It appears there is a hint of doubt in our a lot of our thinking. I'm not thinking about the thoughts that you get when you see sunset or your kids graduate(although these are probably closer to feelings anyway.) The constant stream of thoughts(let's call it the commentary) in our minds, if you pay close attention to them, it often is not very hopeful and positive in nature. Quite the contrary, it is actually neutral but closer to doubtful and negative in their manifestations and you will see that they are quick to shift into fear based thinking at the presence of a negative stimuli(ie pain). The more you think about something, what is it that happens? Thinking only produces more thinking due to what philosophers call the infinite regress of thinking/questioning.
But back to the subject.
“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it's a feather bed.”
Terrence not only put it quite beautifully but he is pointing out one of the greatest insights in the path of liberation or one's search for Truth. He is telling us that the abyss that one fears, the cave that holds the treasure, is a featherbed. Yes. I think that most of us have felt this to some degree, the act of hurling ourselves into the abyss and living to tell the story. But such challenges and demands to take the plunge seem to be a repeat as there are perhaps similar tests at different levels. But what I realize today, is that it is our thinking that is keeping us anchored and unable to ascend. And not due to the negatively biased nature of our thought patterns, but because of our acceptance of them as truth.
In other words, just because our thought patterns are full of doubts, fears, and sometimes even borders on paranoia, it doesn't mean that we are somehow bound to the narrative that is being suggested. Thoughts are exactly that, suggestions by a worried mind, not the truth itself; perception of a reality that may or may not be accurate. And think for a moment, why wouldn't the mind be worried? We have had to defend against big hungry cats hiding in obscure places for a greater portion of our evolutionary histories. This is called the negativity bias in psychology. So just as it is fruitless to curse the negative nature of our minds, it now becomes foolish to continue to take them at face value if we realize thought's modus operandi.
Through our awareness of the negative nature of our minds and thereby our thinking, we are now able to perceive from a higher ground. Now there is a distance between "you" and your thoughts and this allows for Metacognition, or thoughts about our thoughts. Further, this distance created between you and your thoughts also creates a Space of ourself, the eye/I or the witness. From this vantage point, thoughts have the effect of being projected onto a screen, rather than as enmeshing hallucinations. When we entertain thoughts and see them as suggestions rather than perceptions of reality, we are then – through metacognition – granted the illuminated intelligence that allows us the kind of clairvoyance required in order to graciously navigate through life.
tl;dr: Laundry is now a featherbed.
Edit: Thank you for the Silver, kind stranger. I'm going to make grills out them and wear them to the office. 🕶
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