Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Two questions

Mental clutter is just as bad if not worse than physical clutter. Unresolved issues from the past haunt us day and night; anxieties about the future do the same. We worry about how we have acted, how others act towards us and how we will act or how we will be remembered. So how do we deal with this? How do we stop clear the clutter?

Two questions are all we really need: Can I affect this? Should I affect this?

If we cannot change what has happened, is happening or will happening then we need to stop dwelling on it. Any time we ask "Can I affect this?" and we get the answer "No" we should take that as a sign to move our thoughts to other matters. But before we do we still need to ask the second question "Should I affect this?" does not mean just is right for me to change the situation I am dwelling on but also should I be able to change it.

More simply put it can be easy to dwell on something we know we should be dealing with but do not want to because dealing with it is hard. In this case it is easy to give a false positive to the first question in the hopes that we can forget about the problem. However if we should be dealing with a situation and it seems impossible we need to change our point of view, look at how others might view the problem, look at the impacts of our actions and try to find a way to act. Allowing our minds to continue to run in the same unproductive grooves over and over again gets us know where. We must either be able to dismiss the problem as beyond us or change how we think about it.

And if we can and should have an effect on the situation once we have we need to stop thinking about it. There is more to living than worrying about what is already done.


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