The title of this post is a line from All About Eve’s Freeze, which I quoted in a post a few days ago. Watch and listen here, if you like.
I’ve had the phrase* in my mind for days, knowing it means something to my state of mind but not being able to pin it down. That’s the thing right now: loads of ideas, none of which I can settle on. But that’s a good thing.
* ‘Phrase’ is nearly ‘Phased’… another amazing All About Eve song (watch and listen here) with relevant words for this post, such as… ‘The time arrives to coincide with all the chaos’.
I’ve been thinking a lot about converting negative thinking into positive. But I haven’t really been convinced about that as a long-term strategy. Sure, positive thinking feels a whole lot better than negative thinking, but it’s still judgemental; it’s still prejudiced thinking. I think positive thinking is like taking anti-depressants as a temporary measure and temporary relief while you gather yourself for the hard work of transforming your state of mind.
I prefer the open-mindedness of not making definitive conclusions about things, but it’s not easy. Our minds have been conditioned to think in particular ways. Repetition creates habit. Thinking creates behaviour. So, habitual thinking creates habitual behaviour. We replay ourselves. Over and over. We’re our own feedback loop.
Some of this thinking/behaviour works fine and dandy in some situations and some creates mystifying disasters, eg we might be perfectly civilized most of the time then we come up against a ‘personality clash’ and we find ourselves behaving like a banshee. And it seems very much like we can’t control it (anyone who says we can has probably never experienced it).
The thing is, the easy stuff doesn’t challenge us. The difficult stuff does. People talk about adversity being opportunistic. I can see what they mean. The adversity of thought and behaviours that you observe aren’t working for you is an opportunity to reassess and – if you can manage it (it’s SO difficult) – make changes.
This is a good point to quote one my favourite Blondie lyrics: ‘Rearrange my mind in turquoise’.
Ooh, just re-aquainted myself with the rest of the song (Union City Blues)… very relevant… ‘Tunnel to the other side… it becomes daylight’, which reminds me of The Doors: ‘Break on through to the other side… the night becomes daylight… tried to run… tried to hide’… (but now ‘The time arrives to coincide with all the chaos’… cerebral feedback loop!).
Often our conclusions are self-deprecating (eg, ‘I’m ill because of my bad diet’ or ‘So-and-so has rejected me because I’m unlovable’, etc). We’re overwhelmed with emotion (fear in the aforementioned examples) and blame ourselves for our situation. On the one hand, our conclusions may be true; on the other, they may not be.
The logical reality is: we can never know for sure. We can never have all the information available to us: eg, in the first example, a.n.other illness may be a genetic time bomb inherent in our DNA that bears no relevance to our lifestyle; in the second, we do not have access to the contents of others’ minds to understand their behaviour toward us – it may not be the case that we are unwanted, but that the personal psychodrama that is manifesting for them compels them to shun us, incomprehensible though it may seem to us.
People do all sorts of things that seem incomprehensible, making choices that lead to unhappiness instead of making the choices that will bring happiness. But perhaps these seemingly incomprehensible things make sense in some other thought realm. Perhaps we are looking in the wrong place for our answers.
The possible ‘reasons’ for our current situations may be different from what we have been conditioned into reasoning. I put ‘reasons’ in inverted commas because – actually – there may not be any reasons. Just because we’ve been educated into believing in cause-and-effect doesn’t mean any such thing exists outside the realm of human consciousness. (Like ‘time’; and, does time arrive or do we arrive at it?) (See what I mean: jumping thoughts) (like fleas… you can never grab hold of the blighters, can you?)
It is therefore illogical to assume self-blame for our misfortunes – at best, it’s just one possibility among infinite possibilities.
Likewise, when things are going well – we’ve got a new job or met a new lover – we attribute our success to our own efforts – we feel confident of our abilities or our attractiveness. But if our misfortunes aren’t our ‘fault’, neither are our achievements.
Being open-minded is very difficult. Thoughts seem automatic. Lately, when uncomfortable thoughts come to mind, I’m managing to dispel them pretty quickly. Sometimes I deliberately use positive thinking, but mostly I’m trying my hardest to be neutral.
I’m trying to have a quantum attitude to my thinking: that is, trying to remember that infinite possibilities exist until you settle on one. By drawing conclusions we crystalize infinity and freeze it (see Free me from the Freeze post) into an immutable belief that may not serve you well – it may cause you suffering. Sometimes, if I remember, when I close my eyes I imagine the room around me as a swirl of indeterminate molecules that only become the room I know (imagine) it as when I open my eyes. I keep hoping it will look different but so far it always looks the same!
Good time to quote more All About Eve lyrics (from Phased): ‘We’ve been alchemized…melted, liquified and dried; and left to crystallize’.
That’s what our education has done to us. Crystallized and frozen our thoughts. Sometimes they are icicles we use as instruments of self-torture.
And, in our culture, self-deprecation (dressed up as ‘modesty’) is a virtue! Oh, what a mess.
Is there a way out of the labyrinth? Not sure. I’m trying. But it’s SO difficult to change what seems automatic.
Yesterday I watched this film, which is one of my favourites. What the Bleep Do We Know? links quantum theory with consciousness and the experience of reality. Watch it here (you need to be patient with the terrible acting).
I love one of the lines in it (paraphrased): ‘Instead of being in the know, be in the mystery’ (about 6 mins in).
I’m finding it a whole lot easier to accept the way certain things are as a mystery instead of trying to figure it out without all the facts to hand. The former brings me some peace, whereas the latter stresses me out and sometimes even gives me a headache.
With quantum thinking you can watch your head come undone and rearrange it in any colour you like.
The undoing must come first, though, and that’s the bit we find the hardest – we have been conditioned to feel comfortable in certainty.