Chapter 69 Actively Gauge Your Moods

              Throughout the day, actively gauge your moods.  If you find yourself
in a foul mood, see if the reason is due to someone close to you.  If the
relationship is toxic, leave the situation immediately.  The closer you become
with toxic individuals, the higher likelihood that you will become depressed
yourself.  The reason is that negative energy will be emitted and you will
experience this unconsciously or consciously.  Know this, it is completely
futile to try to change others.  Everyone is unique, so the other person cannot
possibly see anything or any situation in the way you personally see it.  Trying to change somebody is another exercise in suffering. 

   Again, I cannot stress this point enough.  You cannot change
others, the other person cannot see anything the way you see things.  You can spend the rest of your life trying to prove that your version of life is right.  The separate realities of life are a fact of life and is really in itself a beautiful thing.  But you must take note of this so that you are not a victim to its differences.  Trying to change another person’s point of view is just impossible.  The more you try to change another person’s opinion of things, the more they will resist, and the more that you will suffer.


            If you feel frustration, you have definitely imposed such a belief system onto yourself, and such thought systems do not like to be tampered with.  No matter how certain you are of your position, someone else close to you will see it differently and will be equally certain of their conclusion.  Why fight them?  It is completely pointless and will only turn them against yourself.  And by this type of fighting, you are actually just fighting a fight with yourself. 


            There are many such systems of thought, and you must be aware of them and maneuver around them to get through most days—all which contain a certain degree of difficulty.  When you start to feel discontented, you need to reset your brain into neutral however you can.  If you are in a low depressed mood, understand this law that you will REACT to negative stimuli or a negative situation with more negativity 100% of the time.  If you are in a foul mood, due to say having an argument with your significant other, you will react to any following moments (which can be neutral) with the same amount of discontent and anger. 


            Healthy functioning happens when you are thinking in an uncluttered way.  Simple thinking, like a child.  A quote by Albert Einstein says, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”  And Henry David Thoreau concurred that “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail.”


            If you fill your mind with clutter, the higher the likelihood that a negative experience will enter your mind.  A nice analogy is in tennis, where you always return to the center in between shots on the courts.  If you stay at one corner of the court, you are doomed because then your opponent can hit the ball to where you are not because you didn’t stay centered. 


            This is not to say you will not be saddened by events.  They are inevitable.  Even the Buddha was saddened when he saw his country under attack by foreigners.  However, if you stay centered, your understanding of the events will change, allowing yourself to experience the event from a detached and more neutral viewpoint.  Happy feelings come from a quiet mind, and unhappy feelings come from an unquiet mind, so be busy to empty your negative thoughts.  Consider how hard it is to be angry when you first awaken in the morning. 


When you first awaken, you are never in any rage or envious mood, have vengeful thoughts, or regretful moods because your mind has not been consciously focused on negative thoughts during your sleep.  Of course, in a moment if you are not centered you may begin to feel anxious at facing the morning traffic and such, but at the moment of your awakening from sleep, it is really hard to be unsettled.  It is your mind’s traveling back and forth in time that unsteadies your mind, like a boat that was silently floating on a lake that is suddenly swayed by a passing wave.  Your brain has rested, and the superhighway of thoughts has not consumed you yet. 


About youngkim3000

I grew up in Virginia and went to a top tier high school, being so ambitious and wanting fame and fortune like the next kid. I received good grades and then I went off to the University of Chicago where I majored in Psychology and Economics. After a brief but successful "Wall Street" career, I realized that I was not happy and left thinking that a career in the medical field would satisfy me. Then, I did some post Bac work at Northwestern and UIC, and then ended up at UIC Medical School. The problem was I was not happy there either. The structure, the repetition, and lack of being able to be free and spontaneously creative really knocked me down. Having to be subject to constant subjective evaluations sucked my soul dry. As I sought another chapter in my life, then came the financial collapse of 2008-9 which destroyed the "nest egg" and saving that I had worked so hard to build after college--which I so "identified with". I was so depressed at the loss of career and the loss of money that I fell into self pity and a deep seated depression. For weeks on end, I could not even get out of bed. I went to many doctors who could not really help me. I took so much anti-depressant medication and also self medicated with alcohol to dull my mind. One day though, I went to the public library in Niles, IL, and picked up some books on "Self-Help". I figured what do I have to lose? I was already so depressed I could barely get through a day. I picked up books by Wayne Dyer (Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life), Deepak Chopra, Louis Hay, Ram Dass, Osho, and Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth), The Dalai Lama, and revisited my faith in Catholicism. I devoured so many books to unearth just why I was suffering so much. I learned so much about myself and realized that my deep suffering was actually a gift for me to discover myself. Simply put, those words in those books saved my life. I was taking so many drugs and my physical health was in serious jeopardy. I realized that I could not live with myself any longer, and I needed to be free. I realized...that it was my own thoughts that were making me so depressed, as was my own "life story" that I replayed over and over. I realized that my mind was busy creating negative thoughts. Thoughts are "things" and expand. I understood that you do not "normally" choose your thoughts. Just like the digestion of a meal, the mind automatically creates all kinds of thoughts whether you like it or not. Just like you do not "choose" to breathe with your lungs or "choose" to make urine from your kidneys, you "normally" do not "choose" your own thoughts. They just happen, just like digestion. And if you had a bad experience, your mind recreates the negative thoughts without your conscious consent but you are forced to relive them endless times per day. It is only through CONSCIOUS INTERVENTION that you can make your mind change course from recycling negative thoughts. This is just like your breathing. You breathe automatically, but you CAN choose to influence your breathing, you can hold your breath if you are going to dive deep in the water, or you can consciously "slow down" your breath if you are relaxing in meditation and prayer. Once I realized I did in fact have an ability to control my thoughts, I consciously redirected the thoughts to positive uplifting notions. I noted that I had built such a large ego that the collapse of it dragged me down in catastrophic fashion. A big ego is different from self esteem. Both were destroyed, but I learned to regain self esteem through positive affirmations and knowing that the negative thoughts are not reality. I was choosing definitively to live in the past via my repetitive thoughts. I was also choosing to live in an uncertain future that I painted with dreadful possibilities. I realized that if I live in the "now", the present moment, I really did not have any reason to be depressed at all. I discovered I really only live in the "now". The past and future are fictions. It is akin to a motorboat on the water on a lake. The "wake" that the boat produces is the past, my vision of the future is what I can see in front of me, but I really only exist ON the boat in the present moment. I was living my life only on the "wake" created many meters before. Soon, my self-pity slowly subsided as I learned to accept "what is" and not grasp for anything and everything that is valued by Society. I concurred that it was my own "expectations" not realized that were causing such waves of discontent. Once I dropped my self imposed sad "life story", my yesterdays, I came to my senses that there was no need to feel upset at all. That realization hit me like "a ton of bricks" and quickly lifted me out of the well, like a rope thrown down the dark walls of the deep well. I would like to share that it was only that single moment of enlightenment, a "satori" event that forever changed my life, but that was not so. It was a gradual climb out of the abyss (over about a year). I realized that my mind was like a superhighway of blazing thoughts that went through my mind over and over based on the recent past. While my "life story" was going great, I believed in those thoughts, and my ego grew such that I became arrogant and sometimes unkind. Then when my "life story" changed for the worse, I similarly believed in those new negative thoughts with the same passion (which hurt me so deeply throughout my waking hours). I noted to myself that this was why I craved so many "tranquilizers" and medicines that would halt my thoughts. I realized that I was drowning in my negative thoughts and that I was CHOOSING to believe in them. But I learned through focusing on positive affirmations, meditation and prayer, I did not need any more drugs to "halt" my mind from stabbing me to death. Through the filter of society's measure I had evaluated my own life, unable to fully realize that it was all a fiction that my mind had created. I was completely unable to live in the present before this profound awakening. My life had turned into a constant "replay" of the past, the anxiety of the uncertain future...and my destroyed ego. Because of my belief that my thoughts were the ultimate truth, I suffered so deeply... but needlessly. Once I changed the direction of my thoughts, everything changed. The way I looked at my own life changed. I realized that LIFE is not a long emergency where the one with the most toys at the end wins. I realized LIFE is something to be lived fully, and joyfully...not some series of problems to be solved. Once I realized these insights, I realized that I was the creation of my own depression. Although a devout Catholic, I am also deeply moved by the ideals of Buddhism. About Karma and "Dependent Arising"...both of which are also in the Bible (Galations 6, Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked, a person always reaps what they sow). And I was...for the better part of my life, a runaway train into disaster that I was blind to...that I had planted the seeds onto. Putting money, fame, accolades, trophies, and so forth as the ultimate end to my goals sowed the seeds of psychological calamity when the inevitable tides of change occurs in every life. A person who extols those superficial qualities dooms himself/herself to disaster. The only variable is "time". Would it take a long time to find yourself in a train wreck or a short time? It doesn't matter. What matters is how soon can you realize the truth of existence and your place in it...and rise above what Society tries to focus you to believe. Society always makes you compare yourself to others, Society never leaves you alone to just be yourself. You have to exert effort and unlearn what Society has poisoned you with. I am now doing various "work" (not holding down any soul sucking corporate job), teaching, making money through various income sources like buying items at rummage sales and reselling them through Craigslist, asking neighbors and doing work they need, trading stock options when my financial tools indicate that there is a good trade. I am not focused on any "ladder to climb" or any "prestigious career"...and I am so much happier and at peace. I'd rather be "waterboarded" that go back to Corporate America. I have also a solid equanimity, and i am OK with whatever happens, and thus accept what God and the Universe wish for me. I wish to share my newly found wisdom and hope that my story and my interpretation of my newly found contentment can benefit others and I also wish to hear similar stories of awakening. God Bless, thanks for reading my "profile" and leave me your stories of awakening. Outside somewhere is a field where all of us are the same, I cannot wait to see you there...Namaste...
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