What I Think

What I Think (1,124)

April 22nd, 2011

My thinking is colored.

Even though my teachers, parents, relatives, ministers, congressmen and entertainers insisted that they would NOT color my thinking, they ended up doing exactly that. So their tints and hues are painted over every experience—and this is how I was taught to think about things and respond to them. So if I am attacked or inconvenienced, a little red of anger washes over my thinking. If I experience poverty and see someone who prospers without me doing so also, add a little green of envy. And of course, the simple disappointment of even a rainstorm can introduce the blues.

Our thinking is colored. And the palette of shades we draw from has a simple name—a mantra, if you will—that each and every American is instructed to believe. That slogan is: Life is hard.

I don’t know how religions, politics, Madison Avenue and corporations got together and came up with the same by-line, but it runs as a stream of consciousness—a universal heaving sigh amongst the populace. Life is hard.

Some people try to overcome the concept by being optimistic, but in their weaker moments or hours of defeat, they will concede that “life is hard.” It is how religion gets people all worked up over salvation and heaven—by pointing out the difficulties in life. And what politician could get a vote if he extolled how wonderful things were instead of the fact that we are on the verge of utter collapse?

Life is hard. So people spend most of their time talking about one of three subjects, or variations on the theme.

1. The weather. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any people more concerned about the weather than the present generation occupying the earth at this time. Considering that we can’t do much about it, we spend a considerable season worrying, getting frustrated and becoming deeply conflicted about the changing seasons.

2. Pain. I don’t know if you can spend more than ten minutes with anyone without finding out where they hurt. We all love to talk about what we’re coming down with or what we fear we may have contracted, what new virus is in the air demanding that we wash our hands even more frequently. Unfortunately, the most unhealthy position in life is a fear of sickness.

3. And finally, rejection. People are stymied at the prospect that any endeavor could end in failure and ridicule. So they will explain to you in vivid detail why they have decided not to do something that they really desire to pursue.

Here’s the problem—the human brain was never meant to become entangled in the weather. The brain just literally freezes when we cloud it with situations we can’t affect. Secondly, the human brain only increases pain when we think about it. So conversations about discomfort only end up producing more undesirable results. And finally, the brain is not suited for coming up with reasons to ignore possibilities. It was conceived to plan, not to explain why planning was abandoned.

It is no wonder that our society appears to be dull to the point of stupidity, when really, we are constantly shooting our brains with an anesthetic.

Not for me.

The answer, for me, is found the book of Philippians, the fourth chapter, verse eight. Perhaps you know the scripture, but it is one of those verses that is cast into the role of the idyllic instead of the practical.

Let’s go commando on it.

Whatsoever things are true, honest, pure, lovely, of good report, full of virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

The reason that scripture is normally ignored is that we fail to realize that to discover these seven goals, we must free ourselves of an already existing mind-set of despair because we’ve been instructed that life is hard.

For instance, to discover what is true, we must free ourselves of fantasy. Our generation is completely obsessed with fantasy—werewolves, vampire, comic book heroes, magic and super-naturalisms of all sorts have sprinkled people’s minds with hopes of destiny taking over instead of talent being applied.

To find honest, we must free ourselves of agendas. Every agenda, be it political or theological, has a three-step process: (1) there once was some truth to it; (2) it needed to evolve and didn’t; and (3) now it is irrelevant but still given too much focus. Honest is the presence of reality placed within our time.

To find pure you must free yourself of sarcasm. Let us not forget that even Jesus, who did miracles, was viewed by the sarcastic people of his day as a drunkard, a glutton and a friend of sinners. Sarcasm is the enemy of purity because it will not allow for the potential of correct motivation.

How do you find lovely? Can it really be as easy as freeing ourselves of ugliness? It is amazing how beautiful the world can become when we stop taking the magnifying glass out to find all the warts and moles. Yes, I am suggesting that we step back a little bit from life, to make it look more beautiful. I really don’t think we need a twenty-four-hour news cycle to focus on every moment of weakness in those who have gained prominence in our culture.

I do think it’s important that we find a good report. To do this, we have to free our thinking of the darkness caused by believing that life is hard. For after all, it is impossible to enjoy simplicity when you are anticipating complexity. Darkness has fallen upon the face of the earth, and we’re desperate for some people to enlighten us with a good report.

Otherwise, we won’t find any virtue. It won’t even cross our minds because to find virtue, we must free ourselves of despair. Yes, there is a desperation which has entered the consciousness of our fellow-humans, and even ourselves, over whether anything can actually get better, let alone become virtuous.

And finally, “if there be any praise...” I love that statement. It doesn’t say that it’s going to be easy to find things that are praise-worthy; it suggests that we will be going on a quest to “ferret out” from amongst the rats. To do this we must free ourselves from negativity. I often arrive at one of my performances and find that the first four statements that greet me reek of apprehension, manifesting itself through an attitude of pending failure.

Life itself is not making people negative. Circumstances are not causing the human race to say no to really good ideas. We have been infused with negativity by having a computer chip slipped into our heads that says life is hard.

So I will go for that which is true by freeing myself of fantasy.

I will find what is honest by freeing myself of an agenda.

I will discover pure by getting freed up from a sarcastic attitude.

Look what I thought—something lovely—mainly because I freed myself of ugliness.

Freeing myself from the darkness of a coloration, I look over there in the corner—aha!—a good report.

I found a virtue—because I was free of despair.

And after a careful search, I found something worthy of praise, which took my brain off of its lifelong dirge of negativity.

Life is not hard. Jesus said life just has tribulation. How would I characterize tribulation? Things that we can’t do anything about so rather than killing off our brain cells with worry and frustration, we should be of good cheer—because Jesus has overcome the world.

So if you come up to me and talk about weather, pain or rejection, be prepared for me to change the subject. It’s not because I don’t like you. It’s just me … trying to get some oxygen to my brain.

Published in: on April 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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