Complaining about life is a habit some of us (ok most of us) participate in outwardly or inwardly much of the day. It is a habit from the conditioned mind that lives in eternal dissatisfaction with something about our lives: our homes, our partners, our being alone, the weather, our money, our looks, our age, the stock market, our health, our- fill in the blank. This subtle or not so subtle complaining has one common denominator—the conditioned mind’s dissatisfaction with the self.
The core thinking of the conditioned mind is, “I’m not enough.” The same mind then extends this belief out and invariably believes that, “This thing in my life is not enough and I have to fix it to be enough.” When it doesn’t work the conditioned mind plays out this scenario over and over, living in continual dissatisfaction. Because it is looking at the wrong place, outside ourselves, it never reaches a solution.
The conditioned mind is formed from the inevitable shortcomings of our family and culture. It’s essential approach to life is to negate it, or say “No” to it. From the conditioned mind’s perspective life is continually judged and denied as coming up short. This perception can be so deep that we rarely get any real relief from the anxiety or low-level depression it generates.
Even when we do get relief it tends to be short lived. Perhaps we get the partner, the money, the house, the success in whatever form. For a short time we may have felt that we arrived. However, before long the conditioned mind will kick back in and start looking for the next limitation or shortcoming that makes life unsatisfying, the next thing that needs fixing.
Many people have a fascination with watching toddlers. Once, when my mother called her friend and asked what the family was doing, the friend said, “Watching the kids.” In watching toddlers we observe the unconditioned mind in all it’s natural openhearted embracing of life.
Toddlers have yet to learn that anything they do is wrong or that there is anything “wrong” with them. In the philosopher Nietzsche’s words, “a child is like a wheel rolling out of its own center.” A child’s natural, unconditioned mind is essentially one of full acceptance of themselves and their experience. In essence, the child is saying “Yes” to itself and to life.
The same unconditioned mind is seen to some extent in domestic animals—and is largely responsible for people’s obsession with their pets. Dogs will go into joy at the slightest invitation. “Do you want to go for a walk?”—can elicit mad tail wagging and jumping.
We have a couple videos in today's blog.
First, in Mindful awareness we learn that the secret of the universe is to say yes to our lives in all aspects. In a sense we even say yes to the conditioned mind and all it’s complaining. We are then able to accept our lives from a place of new awareness and compassion. Mindfulness can liberate us from the conditioned mind back into a mature, self-aware relationship with the unconditioned mind. We can regain a joyful awareness from a mind that is “…rolling out of its own center.”
See the two previous posts Mindfulness and the Two Wolves, and Mindfulness 101 for more on how to practice Mindful awareness.
Eckhart Tolle is one of the pre-eminent teachers of Mindful awareness. Here he goes more in depth into The Secret of The Universe:
Next, in the wonderful comedy Yes Man, with Jim Carrey, the character of Carl is living a life of quiet desperation. His conditioned mind is defending against life, saying “No” to new experiences and trying to remain safe. He works in a dead end job, doesn’t date, avoids socializing, lives in depression, and watches a lot of TV. He is challenged in a hilarious way to say “Yes” to everything in his life. In taking up the challenge he finds a whole world of adventure, love, and excitement in the process. Ironically Jim Carrey is an ardent student of Eckhart Tolle.
Check it out: