“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare from Hamlet
Things happen to us or around us all the time, and the experience itself isn’t either good or bad. It is your conscious thought process that interprets the event and declares that it is either good or bad.
Here is a good example that I get a real kick out of. Grass grows in front of your house. Is that good or bad? Neither really. If it happens to be in your front yard then you will interpret it as a good thing. If it is in the flowerbed in front of your house you will call the grass a weed and declare it bad. Likewise, if you plant flowers in the flowerbed and they grow then you call it good. Once they spread out of the flowerbed and into the yard they are now a weed and are bad. It is all in how you look at it.
You park your car along the street in front of your house and it gets totaled by a garbage truck. Sounds bad, right? But what if you were wanting to get rid of the car to buy a new one and now your insurance will buy it for you? Pretty cool, right?
In most cases we automatically classify an event as good or bad without really thinking about it. It’s almost a reflex. If we stop for a moment and really consider both sides of the event and find the good in it, then we can lead much happier lives. We will also have much more control of our lives, and that is a very good thing.
I’ve been studying Robert Scheinfeld’s Phase 3 teachings. In his interpretation he stresses that we need to separate what he calls the raw experience, the actual event itself, from the story that we create around it. In one of the early exercises to demonstrate this, he had us watch a section of a movie twice. We were supposed to watch the segment with the sound off the first time, then with the sound on the second time.
I chose Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (if you’ve been here before then you probably already know that I really like this movie) and watched the part where Alice first meets the residents of Wonderland and is taken to Absolom, the caterpillar. With the sound off, all you see is a girl talking to a rabbit, a mouse, and two boys. Then they lead her through the woods to a caterpillar who blows smoke in her face. Then they unroll a scroll with pictures on it. Nothing much to get excited about and not really anything that you could call “good” or “bad”.
The second time through the segment with the sound on catches our emotions as the whole piece is about whether she is the “right” Alice or not. It is a completely different experience. There is not a lot riding on her being the right Alice to wield the Vorpal sword to slay the Jabberwocky.
The bottom line for me is, whatever you experience, just enjoy it!
That is Enjoy It sung by Maurice Chevalier and Hayley Mills in Disney’s In Search of the Castaways