Monday, 23 March 2009

Do You Control Your Thoughts? Enjoying the Spirit of Inquiry

Editor's Note: This post contains affiliate links. Linda Clement only ever shares links to books she has read and believes are of value. No authors have been harmed in the sharing of these recommendations...

I've been reading Byron Katie lately... I read her personal story of coming to her method probably nearly 20 years ago, but never thought to see if she'd written anything at the time....

Nevertheless: I'm currently reading I Need Your Love... is that true? 

and I just finished Who Would You Be Without Your Story? both of which I found fascinating and hard to put down. They reinforce things I've known for a long time, but don't really live and often forget entirely. 

Hilariously, I had just finished a book recommended by my coach (The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Ben Zander), which reinforces exactly the same things. Then, about two days after I finished the last of them, I found an article in an Oprah magazine about why goal setting often doesn't work... which repeats the theme.

I love synchronicity!

What I Know
  • people (me included) are wrapped up in their thinking far more than they are engaged in what is really happening at any given moment
  • everything I believe about the world is a result of two things: my perception and my beliefs (thoughts) about my perceptions

  • there is no way to find out if another person experiences their world in the same way I do -- no way to find out if when I say 'that's yellow' and they agree if they see the same colour I do... everyone's brains construct 'reality' alone, and while we can agree on the labels there is no way to know if our brains share the perceptions

  • people's motives are always for the best -- no one gets up in the morning intending to mess up anyone's life, including their own, even if that is what happens throughout the day

Friday, 20 March 2009

Baby Tyrant: do infants manipulate and plot to annoy?
I found myself once again in the midst of a surreal conversation...

"There is a difference between needs and wants, and she just wants to nurse, she doesn't need to," says a mom of a 5 month old baby.

"She's 5 months old," says I.

"It's just a habit."
Now, I didn't say, "I find eating a bit of a habit, too. I've gotten quite used to that statement over the years..." but I wanted to.
There are two things wrong with 'it's just a habit' and 'she just wants to nurse.' 

The first thing wrong with those statements is that they are predicated on a philosophy of humanity that I just can't agree with: people are, at their foundations, devious, bratty, bad and undeserving of kindness, love, and generosity.
This is the really big one that hurts my heart when I think of how stingy some people feel compelled to be toward their loved ones. This compulsion to hold all the goodness of life away from others seems to be to avoid the future: so they won't get spoiled or come to think that they're worthy of love or generosity or anything else completely unreasonable like that. 

That dark view of humanity is quite painful to watch, and I just never know what to say to someone holding that opinion, I don't know how to bridge the gap -- but I want to.

The second thing wrong with those two statements is that they rely on an adult-level understanding of devious behaviour, maliciously aimed at 'getting something' undeserved or unwarranted. 

Now, I will skip over the fact that I don't think adults get up in the morning thinking 'now, how can I screw them out of happiness, love, and good things so they'll be miserable?' While I'm not an optimist, exactly, I am a pragmatist and I know that no one gets up in the morning thinking of anyone more than they are thinking of themselves. They may be thinking about what they get can 'from them' but it is universally 'for me' not to do damage to anyone else.

A friend has the best-ever response to the implication that an infant is capable of such advanced thinking:
Honey, I know that you're little one is exceptionally brilliant and superior to all other human babies born to date and advanced well beyond her age, but at 5 months, there is simply no way she can plot to overthrow her parents.
Babies certainly learn quickly, and every generation is significantly smarter than the last... but, seriously!! child can't even open a drawer yet! 

Let the baby be a baby without polluting her motives with anything other than the instincts she has for survival, one of which is the need to keep the big people who are fully capable of throwing her off a 21st floor balcony from doing so.

Babies are fragile, incapable of keeping themselves safe, unable to care for their most basic needs, from cleanliness to nurishment. What would be in it for a baby to antagonize the people who keep him alive? This is such an important question, I think I'll put it in bold...
What would be 'in it' for a baby to antagonize the people 
who keep him alive?
If the baby gets to nurse in the middle of the night -- for any reason -- what is going to be bad about that? Breastmilk is the best possible thing any baby can eat, and direct from mom it comes in a warm and loving embrace, a sense of being cherished, affirmation of the child being worthy of nurturing, and both physical and psychological comfort.