Thoughts are not truth
Facing myself in paradise
I am desperately trying to escape my prison here in Lido. I feel like I have an allergy to something, and it is making me cough. I cannot open the windows because of the construction and feel suffocated. I am not enjoying paradise. At all. But somehow I feel I must stay. I must face this horrible fate. Should I tell myself to fuck off and go home or somewhere else. Anywhere else. Or should I stay here and suffer through it for some noble purpose.
Lido is in Sarasota Florida, where we have a condo right on the beach. We are so lucky to have this property, a very old property going through extensive concrete restoration which is noisy and causes lots of dust. That is why I cannot open my windows, they have taped them all shut. And they put up scaffolding in front of my windows that view out to the ocean, but I can still see it mostly. But through bars that make up the scaffolding.
If you aren’t repulsed by all this whining and thinking what a baby and mentally unfit person I am, then you must be crazy. Or you can empathize.
My writing is mostly about how our minds and thoughts and feelings can take any situation and make it bad or good, happy or depressing, depending on how we frame or interpret things. Many people do not have this tendency to worry or overthink every, single, detail. But I do. My contribution is to write about it over and over and hope that helps others like me. More importantly, to show that we can decide what we want to think and feel.
So if I am so enlightened why do I still struggle and suffer over things like this? This is an excellent question.
There is a fantasy that many of us have about becoming wise or enlightened, and that is the notion we will never struggle or have any ill feeling. If this state is possible I have no awareness or proof about it, nor have I witnessed any human being living in that state. Oh, I have seen gurus that proclaim such things, and perhaps it is true, but long ago I decided I do not want to live that way. I believe the struggles and challenges of life are exactly the beauty of life. And I like life.
The benefit of my greater awareness today is that I understand what my mind is doing and can often control my thoughts and feelings. This was not true when I was younger and had not done all the work of these past forty years. When I was a young man I believed some of my thoughts. This can be a very big problem because some of my thoughts made me feel inadequate, not worthy of any of the things I now have in my life. Many of my thoughts made me feel I was going to die, very soon. Maybe in a horrible way. That I would never find anyone that loved me, never find love. That I would never have money, and would live in a cardboard box under a bridge. Some people do. There was a lot of proof to support my thoughts, if I believed them.
But now I know that most of my thoughts are just part of a never ending stream of consciousness coming from my overly active thought processing system. And I do not need to believe or act on any of them. I have now learned, after all these years, that thoughts are not truth. Thoughts are a bit like possible chess moves, there are an infinite number of them but none have happened yet. This is a big deal and makes my life much better than when I was young and believed every thought was true. This is called awareness and it offers me the salvation of choice. I can choose which thoughts to act upon and believe. Beware! The mind is tricky, and if you have a default toward worst case the mind and its thoughts will tell you that picking happy thoughts is a fools errand and not truly what is going to happen in the future. So you have to fight. You have to fight relentlessly and heroically. With your own mind.
And that is what I am here doing in Lido. At a much higher level than when I was in my twenties. Does it matter what I do? Not in the least. My outcome, whether I stay here and suffer, stay here and thrive, take a road trip, go home, or nearly anything else will result in about the same outcome. This is because none of the really detrimental choices would interest me, I would not believe the harmful thoughts that would make me drink lots of alcohol, take drugs, find prostitutes, or do any other of a number of things that would result in lowering my quality of life. This is a big deal even though I feel nearly the same as I did in my twenties. But not really. I am a baby though. That part is true.