While I would love to open this piece up with something awe inspiring, witty, and/or reflective of the worth of this topic to me and my awareness, I'm a little at a loss. Maybe that means I can't do it justice. Maybe that means that I'm not in much of a creative flow right now. But trying decide which of those issues are applicable would defeat the entire purpose of this musing: that I am trying to stop asking "why."
At first glance this should be quite easy for someone such as myself. I am, as I recently just realized, an extremely results oriented person. (Anyone who knows me would roll their eyes at me for just coming to this realization, but that just proves the extent of my disconnect with my inner self.) I've always known I am competitive, prone to envy due to said competitiveness, and someone who will beat themselves up for years if I feel like I let anyone down - including myself. But it has been a lot of self reflection leading to a conversation with an Ayurvedic doctor that I put the pieces to the puzzle together. I'm not a "why" person, I'm a "just fucking get it done" person. As with most things in life, this can be good and it can be bad. Either way, it's really got the wheels in my head turning.
I think the best place to start would be with objectivity. Whether it be book on Stocism, an intro to a meditation, or an athlete on a podcast, I have been hit over the head with this idea numerous times in the last month. When I ask the Universe every morning to guide me, and then something keeps popping it's head around the corner at every turn, I really don't have a choice but to listen.
I'm sure I won't put it nearly as eloquently as those who delivered the message to me in the fist place, but the basic premise is this: Detach yourself from the events that happen in your life. I know it sounds un-romantic, and almost like I am saying it's a good thing to walk around numb, but it's really more of breaking free. Allow me to explain.
I'm coming off a two week span where I didn't have a car. Some ass hole decided to steal it. (I said I'm working towards objectivity - I never said I was there yet.) Anyways, the situation forced me to come face to face with objectivity. I could very easily say "Someone stole my car, violated my trust, and made my future transportation an unsteady field to navigate." OR I can detach myself from the situation - take "it happened to me' out of it. That would look more like "A car was stolen out of the parking lot. It's simply not there anymore and available for me to use. Now that that's established, what are my options?"
I'll tell you what my options were: only what I could do in that moment. Call the police. Wait for the police. Call insurance. Wait for apartment complex to open up so I can get into my place. Sometimes I could call and get a gameplan together. Sometimes all I could do was wait. But taking myself out of it and looking at it as just a big piece of metal that someone else had access to now, meant I was no longer the victim. Look out the window and that parking spot is empty. It didn't happen TO ME, it just happened.
Building on this even further, I heard someone talking about how in this society everyone has to know "why." While this is a different conversation initially than objectivity, I feel as though the end result is the same.
"Why is my father an alcoholic?"
"Why doesn't he like me?"
"Why can she afford that and I can't?"
"Why do I feel sad right now?"
Well, why do we need to know? Step back and take a look at yourself. Label your feelings, admit they are there, do not hide from anything. But in that process, do not attach martyrdom to it either.
You feel hurt? Sad? Betrayed? Let that emotion float through you. Do not label it bad, good, helpful, or harmful. You are feeling it. It is there. This did not happen TO YOU - it's just happening. Do not fight it, or worse, put some sort of reason behind it to validate it. This (as stated before) works both ways.
You feel extatic? In love? Content? Don't attach anything to it, it's not happening TO YOU as a reward, it's just happening. Fully enjoy it, don't ask why, just embrace it and recognize it, giving it your full attention. Quite the opposite of numb indeed.
Now I realize I might be losing some of you here. In all honesty I'm struggling with this part as well. But I feel like that's a natural knee jerk reaction to a reward based society that we live in. On the surface I do think it makes sense. Study hard and you'll get that A, put in the hours at practice and you'll make the team, work hard and you'll land that job, be a good outstanding citizen and you will be rewarded.
But what about that natural athlete? That child born into wealth? That student in class who doesn't have to study and aces all the exams? While rewards are certainly something that can come with hard work, it's not an absolute and so we set ourselves up for martyrdom or self abuse if we don't measure up, or run the risk of an ego trip and judgement on others and their "lack of effort" if we do.
What if instead of measuring the events that happen to us as either good or bad using a karmic ruler, we just used objectivity? I know that deep down I feel like people enjoy life and are therefor put in more enjoyable situations when they are true to themselves versus following a reward system that might or might not work.
Having said that, wouldn't it be freeing if when something happened to us we didn't as "why me," but instead asked "how can I use this?" I mean, the shit already happened. You could run circles in your mind about what you could have done or should have done, or what lead to it being done in the first place. But are we really that much closer to the answer after our self analysis? I have yet to feel that way, and I overthink with the best of them.
So now that our life events aren't dependent on results based on a "good or bad" metric, what will we do? I bet it has something to do with things that actually get you going. Leave that job you hate? Spend more time with your children? Spend more time with yourself? Hole up in a coffee shop because you just remembered you like to write even though you might not ever share this with anyone? (Raises hand awkwardly in coffee shop.)
I've known for a while I am bad at asking why. Ask my boss - I've consistently told him I know I need to dig in deeper, understand why I am doing what I do. Why this process works better so I can explain it to other new employees. But to be honest that's just not me. It's also why I can meet incomprehensible deadlines and then not be able to tell you how I did it. I'll black out the process because I am just focused on getting that shit done and on time with a happy client. Not great for training, but decent for other career aspects.
I guess my outlook is this: I don't need to know why I am drawn to meditation, or why a book and tea makes me happier than going out these days, or why my car got stolen, or why my family was poor growing up, or why some people have natural talents that out perform my own. It just is. So I'll take the body I DO have, the career I DO have, the mind and interests and passions I DO have that make me feel alive, and try to string as many of those happy, present moments together as possible with what I have RIGHT NOW. Because in my experience, the more I try to pin down that elusive reward only animal of a system and make the Universe play by MY rules, the more frustrated I get. Because to be honest, I don't know shit. And I'm sorry, but you probably don't either. None of us do - and I think that's beautiful. (My type A self is rolling over in her grave right now...)
In fact, I could read this back in two years and realize i was just using this philosophy to make myself feel better about getting my car jacked. Or maybe not. I don't know because i refuse to ask. I'm writing, it feels good, and no one is getting hurt. It's just happening. And now I think I'm done.