What could you do to improve yourself?
Well, let’s go one step backward. The first question might be: Why should you even bother improving yourself? And I think the answer to that might be, ‘so you don’t suffer more stupidly than you have to.’
And maybe, so others don’t have to either. You know, like, there is a real ad-junction at the bottom of it. It’s not some casual self-help doctrine, it’s that if you don’t organize yourself properly: you’ll pay for it! And in a big way.
You can say: ‘Well, I don’t care about that!’ but that’s actually its not true, you actually DO care about that. Because if you’re in pain you will care about it. And so you DO care about it even if it’s just that negative way.
It’s very rare that you can find someone who is in extreme pain and would ever say “Well, it would be no better if I was out of this!” This sort of pain is one of those things that brings the idea that it would be better if they didn’t exist along with it.
It’s incontrovertible. So you get your act together so that there isn’t any more stupid pain around you than necessary. So then the question might be: how would you go about getting your act together? And the answer to that – “this is a phenomenological idea, too – it is something like: Look around for something that bothers you and see if you can fix it.”
So nоw уоu imagine уоu gо іntо a rооm, іt’ѕ quite fun tо do іt. Just whеn you’re ѕіttіng іn a rооm – mауbе your bеdrооm – уоu can ѕіt thеrе аnd just ѕоrt оf meditate оn іt аnd think: ‘Okау, if I wаntеd tо ѕреnd ten mіnutеѕ making thіѕ room bеttеr, what wоuld I hаvе tо do?’ And уоu hаvе tо аѕk yourself that. It’s not a соmmаnd, іt’ѕ lіkе a gеnuіnе ԛuеѕtіоn.
And you will start noticing that thеrе’ѕ a stack of рареrѕ over there which is kind оf buggіng уоu аnd thаt may bе lіttlе оrdеr there that wоuld bе a good thіng.
There’s some rubbish behind your computer monitor that you haven’t attended to for like six months. The room would be slightly better if it was a little less dusty and the cables weren’t all tangled up the same way.
If you allow yourself just to consider the expanse in which you exist at that moment. There will be all sorts of things that pop out in it that you could just fix. And you know I might say well if you were coming to see me for psychotherapy the easiest thing for us to do first would just be to get you to organize your room.
You might ask: ‘Well, is that psychotherapy?’ And the answer is: it depends on how you conceive the limits of your being. And I would say start where you can start!
You fix a hundred things like that, your life will be a lot different. Now, I often tell people to fix the things you repeat every day. Because people tend to think of those as minor problems. You get up, you brush your teeth, you have your breakfast… You have the routines that you go through every day.
Those probably constitute fifty percent of your life! And people think: ‘They are mundane, I don’t need to pay attention to them.’ No, that’s exactly wrong. The things you do every day: those are the most important things you do.
Hands down, and start doing the arithmetic. You figured out the right away. So, a hundred adjustments to your broader domain of being and there’s a lot less rubbish around a lot fewer traps for you to step into.
Once you got your mind and your emotions together and once you’re acting that out, then you can extend what you are willing to consider yourself and start fixing up the things that are part of your broader extent.
Now, sometimes you don’t know how to do that. Imagine you are walking down blur street and there is this guy who is alcoholic and schizophrenic and has been on the streets for ten years.
He sort of stumbles towards you and incoherently mutters something. That’s a problem! And it would be good if you could fix it but you haven’t got a clue about how to fix THAT.
You just walk around that and go find something that you could fix because if you muck about in that, not only is it unlikely that you’ll help that person, it’s VERY likely that you’ll get hurt yourself! Just because you’re experiencing things announce themselves as in need of repair, doesn’t mean that it’s YOU that should repair them.
You have to have some humility. You don’t walk up to a helicopter that isn’t working and just starts tinkering away with it. You have to stay within your domain of competence but most of the time, if people look at their lives… You know – it’s a very interesting thing to do.
I like the idea of the room because you can do that at the drop of a hat. Go back to where you live and sit down and think: ‘Okay, I’m gonna make this place better for half an hour – what should I do?’
You just have to ASK and things will just pop up like mad and it’s partly because your mind is a very strange thing. And as soon as you give it an aim – a genuine aim – it’ll reconfigure the world in keeping with that aim.
That’s actually how you see, to begin with. So if you set it a task… You have to be genuine about it which is why you have to bring your thoughts and emotions together and then you have to get them in your body so you’re acting consistently.
You have to be genuine about the aim but once you aim the world will reconfigure itself around that aim, which is very strange. It’s technically true!
The best example of that – you have all seen this video where you watch the basketballs being tossed back and forth between members of the white team versus the black team. And while you are doing that a gorilla walks up into the middle of the video, and you don’t see it.
If you thought about that experiment for about five years, that would be about the right amount of time to spend thinking about it. Because what it shows you is that you see what you aim at. And that – man! – if you can get one thing through your head as a consequence of even being in university THAT would be a good one: You see what you aim at.
And so, because one conclusion you might draw from that is: Be careful what you aim at!
Right? What you aim at determines the way the world manifests itself to you So if the world is manifesting itself in a very negative way one thing to ask is: Are you aiming at the right thing? You know I’m not trying to reduce everybody’s problems to an improper aim. People get cut off at the knees for all sorts of reasons.
They get sick, they have accidents. There’s a random element to being, that’s for sure, but – You don’t want to take anything, even that particular phrase, too far You want to bind it with the fact that random things do happen to people. But it’s still a great thing to ask.