Friend: Hey bro. How do you find contentment?
Me: I think about people who don’t have anything or watch videos of horrific events. This makes it easy for me to be grateful of my own position in life.
Friend: Good point.
…. 10 minutes later
Friend: I’m discontent.
Me: Wanting more is written into our brains. Sometimes it’s healthy, sometimes it’s not. When it seems to be making your life worse, ask yourself, “Why am I discontent and not happy with what I have?”
Me: It isn’t real. Often it’s just chemicals in your brain that are out of whack.
Me: Your discontent is fake. Being truly discontented is having no food to eat or no shelter over your head.
Friend: Yeah…that would suck.
Why is it so easy to get sad and discontent these days even though we have so much (and sometimes even after we do gratefulness exercises)?
For a large part of it, I think it is because we listen to what we tell ourselves. We listen to our cravings, our impulses, and our sad/jealous/anger/whatever thoughts that enter our head.
The problem arises when we accept these thoughts as truth. We think, “These are my thoughts. My thoughts are me. And they are right because they are me.”
So our mind tell us, “I am hungry. Go get DQ” and we do what it says (because it’s right, right?) or it says, “I’m sad. Don’t smile and think only of negative things” and once again, we give in to the dictator.
But here’s the thing: We are not our mind. And we don’t consciously create what it puts out.
We are only the observers; We sit on the outside.
When we are able to think about our thinking, that is the “I”. When we are on auto-pilot driving to work, that is the mind.
One is conscious, the other unconscious.
While both are produced by the brain, the mind has a mind of itself so to speak.
Ran by neurotransmitters, it has objectives. When dopamine is high, it wants more, more, more… When serotonin is high, it just wants to be lazy. When both are low, we don’t care… about anything. Throw in the standard hormones and we got a freaky-deeky mind on our hands.
These chemicals are why we cannot trust the mind and why we must be critical of it.
When our mind says, “I’m depressed”, we must question it.
If anybody else said it, we would. We would probably ask “Why?” and “What can you do to get out of it?”.
For other people, we are therapists. For ourselves, however, we are whatever the mind says we are.
So next time we are feeling sorry for ourselves or craving a new purchase at the mall or thinking we need this or that to be happy, let’s challenge our mind.
Why am I thinking this way?
Where did this belief/thought/impulse come from?
How can I view this differently?
What will happen if I accept or reject these thoughts?
This thing saying all this crazy shit — it isn’t us. We are the thinker. We own the right to accept or reject these thoughts.