Hi Boldy .
You wrote asking for my advice on the best approach and attitude in the face of climates and daily reveries in order to advance in peace of mind. And since you ask, I will of course respond as best I can. With the hope that in that exchange we would both find things of interest and maybe utility. I spent a long time crafting a detailed response. But the result didn’t sit well with me. Then I thought about what kind of advice I would give myself based on summarizing my experience dealing with climates and reveries in my own search for peace of mind.
So, here’s a summary of 12 reminders I made for myself. I’m happy to share it with you. It’s actually a shorter list than it seems at first, since 4 of the reminders are the same.
- No Internal Enemies!
Enjoy the game. The goal of the game is to move toward internal unity and away from contradiction. Live to play. If you keep the game in mind you cannot lose. The reveries that distract, the internal movies, the endless chatter, none of that is your enemy. Did you notice that you are lost in the things or inside your head, troubled by emotions you don’t like, etc. Then thank yourself deeply if you hadn’t noticed you wouldn’t be able to play.
These are mechanisms of the psychism that sometimes appear inopportunely or out of context. Each time you become aware of them you are back kin the game. You play by reminding yourself of your goal and what the present moment is about, i.e. going for a walk, talking with a friend, solving a problem, and then trying (with no strain, tension, or bullshit, to simply bring yourself back to that activity. You refocus and embrace that situation.
Climates arise, reveries intrude. Great, you get a point for noticing that you are not in your centre (so often we don’t or only do much later). Play again. Why? Because your goal is to be balanced and coherent (or to have Peace, Force and Joy) or however you remember the direction you’ve chosen.
- Noise is a matter of context.
The anger that floods you, the anxiety that gnaws at you, the intruding thoughts, the long trains of images that suck you into yourself. All of these have their place. There are real dangers and being nervous or afraid can be a lifesaving alarm in the face of these. Those images and mechanisms intruding from sleep are essential to your wellbeing when you are asleep.
It’s just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time: Reliving an old argument is noise if it intrudes while you’re trying to add up a list of numbers. It isn’t noise if you are taking some time to try and understand why you had that disagreement. Thinking about mathematics at that moment would be noise. Be in theme! Do what you are doing! Live till you die! You will be distracted. That’s great. If you hadn’t noticed that you aren’t in your centre you wouldn’t have had a chance to play.
- In summary: unity and not contradiction.
Everything is noise or not depending on what we are trying to do. If you treat everything as an opportunity to play the game that leads to internal agreement and away from internal conflict then every situation is a chance to play again. Being at war with yourself, angry or frustrated because you aren’t advancing fast enough, aren’t attentive enough, aren’t sufficiently at peace… these don’t seem the most coherent way to start on the path toward coherence.
- So remember: No Internal Enemies!
- Develop internal flexibility and equilibrium. Lower the noise. Pay attention. Be in theme. Live intensely, with Force and engagement.
This is one point because those things are the same.
- Everything as an end in itself.
If you are in theme every activity is an end in itself. If each step you’re taking is the goal than you cannot lose, and you cannot lose your centre. Of course, we fail over and over, and that’s fine. Or better than fine! Noticing that you’ve failed and that you’re not in your centre, gives you a new opportunity to play! But we increasingly are developing or reinforcing a very particular mental direction. As principle 12 (the principle of accumulating action) tells us you repeat your acts of internal unity and “you will be like a force of nature when it finds no resistance in its path”.
- Valid actions are the most important acts of internal unity.
Valid actions are unifying actions that end in others. The Path says: “If you are indifferent to the pain and suffering of others, none of the help that you ask for will find justification.” It also tells us: “If you are not indifferent to the pain and suffering of others, in order to help them you must bring your thoughts, feelings, and actions into agreement”.
- The key to valid action is to focus on the Principle of Solidarity. It says: “When You Treat Others As You Would Have Them Treat You, You Liberate Yourself”.We need to take the focus a little bit off ourselves. Try to really see the others around you. Just like you everyone else thinks they are the protagonist in the story and the others are at best co-stars. But perhaps its not like that. Perhaps, as we are reminded in the strange story of the Day of the Winged Lion, “… I exist because you exist, and vice versa. That’s the reality, and it’s everything else that’s silly.”
But don’t forget internal coherence is not found in getting others to treat you a certain way. The point is how you treat them (an end itself not a form of manipulating them to be the way you want them).
- Did I mention: No Internal Enemies!
- Make the Principle of Solidarity an active position.
You don’t need to wait for a crisis to apply it. In almost every moment of life you can create an opportunity and way to do that. First ask yourself how I want to be treated? How do I want my kids to treat me? My couple? My friends? My boss? You don’t know? Then ask yourself what pisses you off. What do they do that makes you angry, sad or out of sorts? Then make an effort to change your behaviour and treat them the way you want to be treated. For example: I want to be treated with kindness, respect, etc. I want others to listen to me and appreciate my input. I want… So today make an effort to treat others with kindness, respect, etc. Do you want people to listen to you? Learn to listen to them. Do you think you already do that? Great. Can you do it a little better, a little more, with a little more care?
But remember you are doing all that to, as the principle says “liberate yourself” not to change someone else. If you want to claim the reward of changing their behaviour you may be disappointed when they don’t act accordingly, but successful or not you have chosen that reward rather than liberation.
- No Internal Enemies!
Being at war with yourself seems like a mistake. Remember how you want others to treat you? Perhaps treat yourself the same way.
- In this game there can be no pretense, no bullshit, no internal dishonesty, no forcing, or manipulating, nothing artificial or false.
Good friends aren’t blind to each others’ weaknesses, or errors. They see all that clearly and love the other despite that. Be a good friend to others and to yourself.