There is a part of one’s self who wants to chase big dreams, goals, and ambitions. And there’s another part who can get lost in life and wants to find direction. When these two meet, the part who is lost can be persuaded that what he is truly looking for is what the ambitious one has his sights on. But that is a lie. By pursuing ambitions, you can lose your sense of purpose, and thus the guiding light that gives you direction.
When you think about death, what are some of the thoughts that come up? This can be for yourself or others. Perhaps one of the thoughts in there goes something like this: “It isn’t fair, it’s not fair that I should die, that anything should end. I’ll find a way to avoid that kind of finality…”
The force inside you that those thoughts come from responds to death and loss with the desire to become immortal. It wants to become “somebody”, to make its mark on history, or to simply live on through the memories of others. I can come up with all sorts of ways to do this, too. For instance, say you have a hobby you like, such as Badminton. Maybe this part of you thinks about training to be an Olympic level Badminton player, and to win fame and fortune through that. THEN it will be remembered, THEN it will have surpassed death.
“Did you know that with action, and the willingness to fight, you can achieve almost anything?”
“Yeah, but why would I want to? What’s the point? I mean, wouldn’t I just lose it all again anyway? Why try hard with anything?”
“Perhaps. You might lose it all – but you might gain everything and more. Think of how you feel now. Would you really want that again? Think of what you might miss if you never tried at all. The heights of humanity are far from this place.”
“You really think so? You really think I can do it?!”
“Submit to me, and I will bring you to heights you never thought were possible.”
“Fine! I’ll do it!”
“Good. Now pay attention…”
Today, I learned about the past of the part of me who gets tense a lot. A long time ago (I don’t know when), this side of me felt lost and alone. I had lost something precious to me, and somehow, another side of me caught wind and showed up. This other side offered me, in my loneliness and despair, a new path, one that few dare to travel. To find glory, and taste the fruits of those things in life that few men can achieve. It was the promise to win a life full of what I had lost and more. To go beyond what I knew, that is, what was lost, and to grasp for what I could only imagine awaited me.
Not that there’s anything wrong with seeking something out-of-the-ordinary, or to do unique things, but the side of me who seeks glory wants to do it because of what other people will think of him. His name will live on, his accomplishments, his triumphs. Can you see why this doesn’t work?
It’s not because it’s immoral, or egotistic, or selfish – although it might be those things. Following the call of glory, just because I am sad or in a state of loss, doesn’t heal the loss. It leads anyone who follows it chasing after things that will never, ever solve the problem itself.
When you get tense, it’s probably because a part of you is pushing themselves. Maybe they’re saying things like, “Just need to keep calm, keep calm, keep calm…” “Just keep calm… maybe look at some websites, maybe do something to distract me, that’ll fix it…” “I don’t need help, or advice, or consideration or sympathy, I just need to do something…” “I need to do something… something important… crap… why isn’t it working?”
You get the idea. This side of you can get pretty worked up.
But if you question its assumptions – that it needs to do something, that the situation is a desperate one – then it can finally relax and become renewed. When you feel terrible, and tense, trying to keep pushing yourself is like running up a slippery slope while you’re emaciated.
The problems with tension always seem to come up when you seek to relieve it, rather than resolve it. Then you might lean on that harmful habit of yours, run to an unfulfilling relationship, or constantly fight against the tension. But to resolve the tension, it’s important to question it.
For me, the other day, this conversation between a tense part of myself and a nurturing part resolved the tension. Now, keep in mind that for a long time I had put off actually doing Cartoon Processing during a tense moment, but this time I did. Here was the key part of the conversation:
Nurturer: “I know you think you don’t need help, but maybe I have a perspective, that, through no fault of your own, you haven’t thought of yet.”
Tense Guy: “You don’t understand. My life is only about doing things that are important. If I ever don’t do things, try to – no no no taking breaks is fine. To play games, and such. Gets me back on track. But just doing nothing for too long is unacceptable.”
Nurturer: “Is that so…?”
Shortly after that question, the tension went away, and the tense side of me felt better. Ungrateful for the help, but better.
This situation showed me that sometimes certain assumptions about life, assumptions one makes inside their head, actually cause tension and need to be questioned, even assumptions that seem reasonable. Looking at the effect of those assumptions will tell you what you need to know.
I have the feeling I haven’t seen the end of this guy, or gotten to the root of tension yet, so stay tuned.