The Misunderstanding of Understanding


Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Psychology, Spiritual Teachings, Spirituality, Thought | Posted on 12-13-2017

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[Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version. There’s also a corresponding video you can watch.]

The Misunderstanding of UnderstandingWe humans are a crazy bunch!  I mean that literally. Major league, out of our minds, mentally mad and utterly unstable.

Which feels crappy.

So we spend every minute of the day trying to be a little less crazy.

We do this in a variety of ever-changing ways

We eat. We drink. We run. We meditate. We dance. We gossip. We Facebook. We shop. We love. We sing. We write. We put ourselves above others. We play. We cry.

And we feel a little better.

For about 5 minutes. Then we’re back to feeling crazy again. Eventually, we start to recognize that outside stimuli can only relieve our feelings of craziness temporarily.

So we begin to look within.

We believe that when we get to know our spiritual nature, it’ll cure our craziness.

On the surface, it sounds like a good idea.

We’ve heard of all these “spiritual people” who appear to have it all together. And there are tons of books (including mine) that provide us with hope that once we find our “True Self” our worldly problems will dissolve.

But that’s not how it works.

The moment we try to use a spiritual understanding to feel better, we are off course. Understanding that we always and only experience life via thoughts, is certainly good to know. And sometimes knowing it may spark an insight into why we do the crazy things we do. Which in turn may even dissolve a problem or two.

Yet often it doesn’t. So we assume we’re not doing it right, or in many cases, are just too bad off.

But here’s the thing…no matter how much we learn and how spiritual we think we are, as long as we’re living on this planet, we’re still human beings.

And all human beings are crazy.

All of us. Even the most seemingly “enlightened.”

As humans, we get stressed, anxious, depressed and angry. We also feel happy, joyful, grateful, and more. We seek love, lose love, do dumb things because of love, and generally act like idiots most of the time.

So when we get interested in spirituality in order to fix something and/or feel better, we’re starting from the wrong place.

We don’t need to try and fix what’s happening.

In fact, we can’t. No matter how much we think we can, nor how hard we try.

What’s happening, is happening. End of story.

While this may sound depressing or fatalistic, it’s actually good news!

You see, most of what we think and do is an attempt to control what’s happening around us. We are constantly trying to figure out what may or may not happen, so that we’ll be ready for it–just in case. Yet there are infinite permutations and outcomes for any situation we’re faced with. We can’t possibly come up with all of them. Still, we keep on trying.

Which is why we unwittingly walk around as wackos all…day…long!

However, when we realize what we’re doing is futile, then we’re free.

When we recognize that our attempts to figure out “all of the things” is impossible, there’s nothing left to do but to give up. It’s in that surrender, when everything changes.

What looked like a problem before, is just what’s happening.

When we’re anxious, we’re anxious. It’s just what’s happening.

When we’re angry, we’re angry. It’s just what’s happening.

When we’re sad, we’re sad. It’s just what’s happening.

Therefore, the apparent solution to all of life’s seeming problems, is to simply be okay with what’s happening.

Look…it’s going to happen anyway. Whether we are okay with it or not.

So we can have $hitty stuff happen and suffer from it. Or we can have $hitty stuff happen and be okay with it.

Don’t get me wrong. Being okay with the $hitty stuff doesn’t mean we like it. Nor does it mean we won’t feel bad/sad/mad/scared about it. We can feel all of those things and still be okay with it, because we have no choice in the matter.

Our only choice (and it’s not really a choice either) is between being okay or not being okay with what is.

We can see this (sometimes) when it comes to things that obviously cannot be changed. For instance, let’s say we broke our leg skiing. It hurts, and it sucks. Especially at first when it’s all brand new. We have to figure out how to use crutches, and we may not be able to do all the things we had planned to do in the immediate future. We certainly won’t be skiing again for awhile.

It’s human to be upset by this turn of events.

However, after a certain amount of complaining and feeling bad for ourselves, there comes a point where it no longer makes sense. We have a broken leg. It is what it is, and our restrictions because of it, are what they are. We could spend a significant amount of brain power rehashing how we broke it, and what we could/should have done differently, but what would be the point?

To be clear, we can’t stop those “bad” thoughts from happening. Whatever thoughts occur, will occur. When we accept that we can live with whatever thoughts and the feelings they generate, our broken leg, is just a broken leg.

It’s no different with anything that we think is a problem.

Can you be okay with what is? Can you be okay being anxious, depressed, lonely or heart-broken?

Can you feel it all without the need for it to be different?

If you can, you just may be surprised at what happens next!


Please see this corresponding video for more:

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CONTACT JILL WHALEN to learn how she may help you be the best you can be.

Jill is the author of Victim of Thought: Seeing Through the Illusion of Anxiety

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For the past 20 years, Jill has consulted with companies big and small, and spoken at conferences all over the world. She is currently a transformational speaker and mentor to businesses, individuals, coaches, leaders, groups and organizations. She helps them uncover their natural well-being and happiness so that they can operate from a clearer state of mind and take their lives and businesses to a higher level.

Jill's blog, What Did You Do With Jill? is a personal account of what she's learned throughout her transformational journey. Jill has many "viral" articles on LinkedIn and is a contributing writer for P.S. I Love You.

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