Upon a suggestion, we decided to update the website recently. With a dithering finger, due to my vast (!) knowledge regarding technology, I pressed the ‘update,’ button and was greeted unexpectedly with a warning. It stated that access was not possible due to maintenance and that I should try again later. So what did I do? I tried to reach the site immediately and believed that due to that warning, which only told me to wait, I had brought on the site’s total downfall.
Assumption is perhaps the greatest enemy to our inner peace. Just like Mark Twain stated, “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened,” we become upset over a lot of things that aren’t real.
The tiniest swelling becomes a relentless brain disease (I’m one of the oldest members of that club) or, like in the above scenario, we don’t accept what’s stated but chase after the subtexts. If only we were a bit patient, what we call reality would disentangle the issue without us getting lost in assumptions. (Those issues that aren’t resolved will be the subject of another post).
But how can we free ourselves of the vicious cycle of assumption, when what we believe affects us more deeply than what is real?
Play the ‘take things at face value,’ game. Tomorrow when you wake up promise yourself that you will accept everything at face value the entire day. No more and no less. When someone tells you they don’t have time, settle with this information rather than deducing that there is an issue in the relationship.
Become active. Instead of spending time thinking of various possibilities, take a step toward reality. For example, if there is a physical symptom that’s making you upset, don’t torture yourself by going online to research the worst possible outcomes, but make an appointment with your doctor. After you do that, continue with the points below.
Remember you’re the sole owner of your imagination. When there’s uncertainty, we decide whether we use our imagination to conjure the most positive outcome or to bury it in nightmarish scenarios. If we’re free to imagine anything until the subject of our worry is brought to light, then why do we insist on entering a dark tunnel of woes?
Live in “day-tight compartments”. Make use of the definition by Sir William Osler, which I am quite fond of. Learn to live until bedtime, don’t burden yourself with the tiring possibilities of the future.
Write down your worries. Seeing things in writing sometimes helps us to understand the irrelevancy of our thoughts. If you don’t feel this way, then make it mandatory to write down a positive outcome next to the negative.
Be still. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. The more you can make this into a habit, the more you’ll notice your past and future internal struggles decreasing. (Of course what I’m recommending is meditation, but no need to alienate readers who don’t feel close to the term).
Just like Buddha said, your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.