What would you do if you found yourself in this situation: You are on a horse, galloping at a constant speed. On your right side is a sharp drop off, and on your left side is an elephant traveling at the same speed as you. Directly in front of you is a galloping kangaroo and your horse is unable to overtake it. Behind you is a lion running at the same speed as you and the kangaroo. How do you extricate yourself from this dangerous situation?
The answer is: Get off the merry-go-round!
Do you sense another deep life lesson is about to be drawn from this seemingly silly drinking joke? If so, you’re getting to know me too well…
It’s time to make New Year’s resolutions and many of us are resolving to outrun the ‘elephant’ in our life, or catch the galloping ‘kangaroo’, or escape the ‘lion’, when what we really need to do to improve our situation is change our perceptions of the ride we call ‘life’ and get off the merry-go-round. There are plenty of other rides to choose from.
In other words, at this or any other time of year, many people seem to focus on trying to make life better by losing weight, getting a better job, finding a better partner, or ______ (fill in the blank). What if we try imagining a new perspective instead?
For example, we all know people who constantly talk about how ‘unfair’ life is because of their socio-economic status, race, gender or whatever. Of course, they are living proof that their world view is correct and, indeed, they are continually oppressed — perpetually depressed and depressing. In every case I can point to others of similar circumstances who believe they can be happy and successful in life without interference from negative outside forces and they constantly prove their belief system to be true, also. I’m not here to tell you who’s right or wrong in this debate, but I can tell you whose experience I would prefer to have. It comes down to the old adage, “Would you rather be right or happy?”
Another example most people will recognize is the abundance of women who incessantly criticize men (and vise versa, of course). “There are no good men in the world!” is their constant complaint. Guess what? They’re right! But, what they don’t acknowledge is that their ‘truth’ is limited to their own personal experience and interpretation! They continually attract and spend time with men who treat them badly. It’s unfortunate, but, hey, they have the consolation of proving again they are right. I wonder if happiness is even an option for them?
This brings to mind one of my favorite excerpts from one of my favorite books As A Man Thinketh by James Allen:
“It is pleasing to human vanity to believe that one suffers because of one’s virtue; but not until a man has extirpated every sickly, bitter, and impure thought from his mind, and washed every sinful stain from his soul, can he be in a position to know and declare that his sufferings are the result of his good, and not of his bad qualities; and on the way to, yet long before he has reached, that supreme perfection, he will have found, working in his mind and life, the Great Law which is absolutely just, and which cannot, therefore, give good for evil, evil for good. Possessed of such knowledge, he will then know, looking back upon his past ignorance and blindness, that his life is, and always was, justly ordered, and that all his past experiences, good and bad, were the equitable outworking of his evolving, yet unevolved self….
“…Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction. It is an indication that the individual is out of harmony with himself, with the Law of his being.”
This New Year I resolve, as I do every year, to open my mind even further to understanding how I create my reality with my own perceptions. Where do I still hold a little inkling that the words ‘starving’ and ‘artist’ go together, thus perpetuating anything less than complete financial freedom? Where do I feel unsure of myself and create situations where I need to ‘defend’ my point of view against an oppressive & judgmental ‘other’? Where do I hold even miniscule prejudices about age, health and beauty which undermine my total freedom to express in a body that has unlimited potential?
How about you? Will you resolve to deal with the elephant, the kangaroo, and the lion this year? Or will you change your mind completely and get off the merry-go-round?