Friday, October 3, 2008

Bathroom Reading and Attitude

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. - William Shakespeare

I don't intend to start off each blog entry with a quote but for the past couple days I've been looking through a book called Think Positive Thoughts Every Day. Its one of those "bathroom books" with quotes and poems that are supposed to help you live a happier life. I came across it while at Borders, shortly after S's husband was fired from his job and admitted to rehab; it seemed like a perfect thing to send her to help her get through a very difficult time. It was on the bargain table, only $4 or so, so I figured I'd get one for myself as well so we could read it together. Much of it is so sickly-sweet, sunshine-up-your-butt, smarmy that its all I can do not to gag- but there are some quotes I like as evidenced by the past couple blogs I've written.

A big part of the way we react to situations depends upon our outlook at the moment. A bad mood can make the driver that cuts you off in traffic seem inherently evil, when in fact the person is just trying to change lanes and the spot in front of you happened to be the place he chose to do it. Nothing personal. But its easy when you are seeing things in a negative light to take it personally and feel like he did it just to spite you and get ahead of you. The bastard!

When you're in a more peaceful mood or having a better day its so much easier to let it slide off your back. Maybe there's a great song on the radio, or you're looking forward to something later in the day- hey, so someone cuts you off... no biggie! Its amazing how the way we are feeling can color a situation.

I guess that brings me back to the original Shakespeare quote: nothing in life is really good or bad, but its our outlook, attitude and views on it that makes it seem that way to us. Its all in our perception!

Sure, there are some events in which its nearly impossible to find any good- hurricane Katrina or the Tsunami in Indonesia come to mind. Natural disasters of huge proportions. Nature is indifferent, weather happens and its part of the natural order of things in the universe. Its so difficult to look at it from the human perspective and not see it as negative... the suffering, lives, homes, businesses lost...but in reality its just part of the way things work. Nothing personal.

There is a story, for the life of me I can't remember where I read it......... there was a wise man in a Chinese village who refused to judge events. Villagers would come to him with situations and ask him what he thought... "maybe its good, maybe its bad, maybe its neither" was his reply.

A farmer was busy with his crops in the field when his only son broke his leg and was unable to help with the harvest. The farmer went to the wise man and bemoaned his fate. The sage gave his usual reply, which frustrated the farmer - until several days later when the army came through the village and took all the able bodied young men to fight in a war. Because of his son's broken leg, he was spared. So out of a "bad" situation came a "good" outcome. Did that make the broken leg a good thing?

There is nothing that is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

1 comment:

Tina said...

Oooo I love that.