Posts Tagged ‘comparing’

The Ongoing Adventures of GrayBall-the-Brain ~ This episode: The Worried ‘Psychic’

Monday, February 13th, 2012

“I no longer question whether or not the future can be changed. I question whether or not the future exists as future. I think not.” (jc)

I’ve never met anyone who didn’t want happiness and peace of mind. All living creatures want to be okay.

I think it’s built into the Big-Bang Blueprint.

Even people obsessed with acquiring objects are really trying to get something they believe is vital to their well-being. They just go about it very poorly because they think that having things is the secret to having peace.

It isn’t.

Of the many peculiar behaviors of GrayBall-the-Brain (the principal in our story, henceforth known as GrayBall for short, or Brain for shorter) the one I want to discuss is its tendency to compare, and to look for negative, scary things. It’s probably a survival mechanism. Had it been unable to distinguish between what’s helpful or harmful, none of us would be here.

But, when basic survival skills for GrayBall become obsessions of the mind, unhappiness becomes a lifestyle; a way of being.

That’s what happens when Brain compares what it desires to what it actually has. And thinking that it needs the object of its desire to be happy, GrayBall feels unhappy NOW, begins to worry, and becomes anxious about its future.

You know anyone like that?

I do. I have a friend who says she worries about everything.

Everything is a lot to be worried about,” I said.

I asked her to make a list.

She did. It really was everything.


And the last item was ‘worried about being worried.’ Kind of a tough spot she’s in, wouldn’t you say?

Strictly speaking, no one can be worried about everything because no one knows what everything is. So, we got to work and narrowed it down to specifics.

All the items on her revised list were of possible-scary-future events. And fear and worry are future dependent.

Nobody’s worried about what might happen in their past. The past is over.

And no one is worried about an event that occurred in their past–unless they’re thinking about how it might effect their future. See?

My friend, like many people, was focusing on the scary things that might happen; that could happen.

But what might happen–also might not happen. Almost anything could happen–but it also could not happen. And most things that could’ve happened–never did happen. (Think about that one.)

Anyway, I’m very worried about her. (ahem)

If you’re worried about future events–something that may or may not happen–you’re worried about something that isn’t real. 

Because the future doesn’t exist as a fact. It’s all made up.

And if it’s all made up, then there’s nothing to worry about.

Instead of planning for the best and being watchful for the unexpected, my young friend was absolutely certain of disaster. And that’s what she was afraid of.

But nothing on her list was real. GrayBall-the-Brain was playing psychic.

I said, “If you really can predict the future, you should become a professional psychic. You’d be rich, and worry number two would be gone.”

She asked me what she should do.

“About what? None of your problems are real.”

“You’re not helping, Jim!”

“There’s no answer to your question, because it’s not a real problem. You’re making it up.”

Her eyes went all squinty. “I’m not making it up! You’re not making any sense!”

“Then show me the facts as you know them for certain. Show me the evidence. Can you take a picture of your scary future? Can you hold it in your hands? If not, it isn’t real. It’s in your mind.”

“I’m going on the evidence of my past. A bad past means I’m going to have a bad future. That’s how I know.” (Read that bit again and see if you can spot the error in her thinking.)

“But the past is gone. It’s only a memory. Take a picture of how your past means your future. Show it to me. You can’t–because the meaning isn’t there! What you’re worried about isn’t real. It doesn’t exist because your future hasn’t happened yet. GrayBall is making up scary stories–and you believe them. That’s your real problem.”

“So what do I do?”

“Make up a better story with a happier future. Make up a possible future you’d like to have instead. Then plan and work toward that.”

“How do I do that?”

“Don’t worry. I’ll tell you how in Part II. In the meanwhile, I want you to consider something.”

“What, more PICTURES-OF-EVIDENCE?” She had taken a tone.

I went all zen-ish on her. “Anything that hasn’t happened yet can change,” I said. “But nothing can be changed before it has happened.” 

“What’s that supposed to mean? It’s like I’m talking to Yoda!”

“Yeah, well, think about it. It’ll mess with your mind.”

“Thanks, dweeb.”


Stay tuned for  “The Practical Approach to a Worry-Free Brain” coming next installment.

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