The Mindf*ckery of External Detail
Details. Infinite, complex, relentless details. Oh, how we love to torture ourselves with them. Ughhhh. I mean really, why do we do it?! For so many of us, we get caught up in all of the external happenings in our lives and, since we have little control over our external reality, we can become trapped in a net of overwhelming disappointment, maybe even depression. “Yayyyy! Let’s sit around and overanalyze everything that occurs to death!” said no one ever. Well, I don’t know about you, but for me this game of mindf*ckery is played out. But getting from this point to somewhere better means surrendering to an alternative way of seeing and thinking.
Whether we want to believe it or not, we silly humans have this neurotic desire to constantly “manage” our lives. I get it. We feel like we’re creating a sense of stability… but it’s a farce. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we don’t have some level of control over certain things that we put effort into during our days, we absolutely do. Things like going to work, planning an adventure, playing an instrument, doing daily chores, paying bills, exercising, reading a book and making time for the people that we love. But what do all of these things have in common? They are all decisions. And that’s just it. We are the decision makers in our own lives and the only thing that we have control over in this life are our choices. Where we go wrong is when we expect external life to respond in alignment with the choices we’ve made. Many times, we are fortunate enough to experience this universal alignment – and that’s a beautiful, affirming feeling. However, when life has other plans we tend to take it personally. No matter how much we try to manage our lives, the “stabilizers” that we’ve invested in mentally, emotionally and physically – like our home, job, relationship, car, bank accounts, friendships, financial investments, pets – are never guaranteed to continue or simplify our experience when the storm’s hit.
One of the most crucial moments of my life to date was when I finally began understanding the correlation between the details of external happenings and my interpretation of their meaning. Most of my life, whether I was aware of it then or not, I was taking everything that happened to me personally. When something went perceivably wrong, I’d ask myself “Why is this happening to me?” And no I didn’t say it out loud, smarty pants; I’m not completely off my rocker (hehe I had to lighten the mood, it’s what I do when things get too serious. I may need to work on that). Anywho, it’s a question that we all ask ourselves, isn’t it? What’s interesting is that one of the strongest links between the external and the internal exists in this very question, but only if you alter the last two words from “to me” to “for me.” So let’s look at the question now: “Why is this happening for me?” Whoa. See what happened there?! We just went from personal to meaningful in about ten seconds flat. Instead of the external occurrence being perceived as something personal, the external now has the power of revelation to our individual journeys. What is this experience meant to show me? Is it a pattern that needs breaking? A laugh that needs releasing? A heart that needs healing? Trust issues that need attention? Desires that need admitting? Or something much more mundane as a room needing to be cleaned or a deadline approaching? When we begin to look at external happenings as doors opening up to teach us rather than punish us we are liberated from the tight grip that “life management” has on us because we realize that it ain’t never gon’ be stable on the outside; we only have control over how we choose to participate with and react to the external. It means that we realize that we’re here on this planet to keep learning and experiencing, which means that revelations and expansion are all that’s guaranteed. It means that we surrender to a greater power and trust that there is something to discover in every experience.
Believe me, I know that it seems kind of scary at first but I’m telling you that once you stop taking the external so dang personally, this particular game of mindf*ck is going to be one you’ll play less and less. And just think about how much you’ll be able to enjoy with all of the time you used to spend overanalyzing the crap out of the external detail! Like bike rides. And friends. And PIZZA with FRIENDS. Mmm… I can smell the cheese now.