The Person Behind The Mirror

Life is just a series of  tiny moments. Unique little, fleeting “nows”… that happen in the moment, before we realise it happened. At an attempt to understand the now, to determine what the now even is, takes us away from it, and to a new experience. A new now, spent on analysing a now that has already passed. For to spend time analysing the moment, you cannot be in it.

Comparative to when you are in a stare, and as soon as you realise you are staring, no matter how hard you try to remain in that moment of bliss, contentment, or nothingness… It’s already gone. And you can only try to pretend you are still in a stare. But you aren’t. You’re just looking in a direction. 

What this leads us to understanding, should we spend enough time thinking on it – is that you should not necessarily spend time piecing together why you are feeling how you are in any given moment. You should not quantify it, or assign it a given arbitrary value. For if you are happy, you may wonder why, and by wondering why you are no longer feeling that experience of pure happiness.  
You may compare your assigned value of happiness, to a time when you thought you were happier, and suddenly this most recent moment becomes less valuable. But only by comparison. The moment itself has changed in no way. 

You may find yourself dancing in the living room, and in a state of content; and then by suddenly wondering WHY you are enjoying yourself at such a small moment, you may lose it. Your arms may fall to your side, and you will lose you buzz. But only because you chose to think about it. Instead, if you were happy, be happy. Equally if you are overcome with sadness, be sad. Don’t be more sad, or angry because you are sad. Just be sad. Be in whatever moment, you chose to be in. In whatever state of you, you choose to be.

These, fleeting little now’s, that change and dip and rise over time, leave us to grasping a fictitious concept of ourselves. Not only must be ponder the moment in the now, but also the person in the now. And these too, are troubled little changing chaotic beings. We can stand firm, and think, and be quite sure that we are a certain kind of person, but of course, that perception is as much affected by what we have done, as what we will do. For instance, I remember a time when a group of bullies started to harass a boy while I was at school. I wasn’t close to this boy, he wasn’t in my friend group, and in fact I know the boys who were bullying him. But I still stood up for the boy being bullied, despite the fact I lost face in the eyes of the other boys. I raised my voice and defences, and fought off the bullies, until they walked away with their tails between their legs. So this must mean I am brave…

And yet… I remember an identical time, on a bus, when another boy was being bullied. He was the same, in yet I did not know him very well, but it was clear he was uncomfortable, and was outnumbered. These bullies I did not recognised. I thought myself brave as before, yet when I went to raise my defences once more… I got scared. I was afraid in that moment, and so… I did nothing. I let them bully and torment that boy, and ultimately so did everyone else. And he went home, having a bad day, because absolutely no one stood up for him. And so by that moment… I am a coward.

So what am I? Am I brave, or a coward? Is the answer to that simply determined by counting how many times I was brave versus how many times I was a coward? Well… Then it comes more difficult. Because one might suggest that, actually fighting is in itself a cowardly act. That rising above violence is in fact the much braver act. That talking things over, and resilience are far better attributes that flaring brute power. In fact, any number of people could argue these things, and could change there points of view at different points in time. And so when they do… Do the bravery vs cowardly numbers flip? And who gets the final verdict? 

The answer, ultimately, is… you. You get to decide. You will manipulate any memories in a way such as they benefit your motives and agenda’s, given on your perceived state and morality. If you think lowly of yourself, you will manipulate memories into believing you acted as lowly as you are, and if you think highly of yourself you will paint over memories to convey yourself as a God.

The point being, that the now you’re thinking about in the past, ISN’T the now. It’s whatever you think the now is, or whatever you want to think it was. That memory of a now, is actually a new experience you’ve created, and dressed up as that now. And so, it doesn’t matter what any given moment WAS. In a way it matters what it IS. To you, now.

So it shows that once the moment is gone, unfortunately no matter how hard you try… it cannot come back. It is then within your best interest, not to begin analysing it so deeply, for all you will do, is cut it’s time short. Be happy when you are, and be sad when you feel like it. You can control your emotions, in a sense, because you can determine your reactions to the world – but if you’re already in an experience, just be in it. Accept it. Experience it. 

Do not stress. Do not stress that you are not good enough, or wonder if you ever will be. Do not worry and think of the future, and the chaotic nature of it. The what ifs and the hows. Do not compare yourself to another, whether that is another version of you or another person altogether. In fact, don’t even compare, period. It is the enemy of joy. Remember that your perception of the world and yourself can change on a flip of a coin. And it is entirely up to you when you flip the coin, and even the outcome of it. For you can call the coin at any time, and determine whether you want heads or tails to prevail. 

There is no contractual obligation by which you are held, to be the same person you were five minutes ago. You do not have to be something because of what you are now, or because of what you were.

I wish everyone reading this, the most wonderful festive season, and the happiest new year when it comes. It’s a time when for whatever reason we chose to change ourselves, and so by definition must judge and define ourselves. So if you chose to do that, remember:

You are who you chose to be. And ultimately, you need only answer, to the person behind the mirror.

What comes next…

The adventure doesn’t have to be good, to be worth having.

More often than not you pick up a book in order to see the protagonist brave adversity; to overcome obstacles corporeal or otherwise, endeavour against an antagonist mental or physical and reach a natural conclusion – rather than read how fantastic their lives are at all times, and how regardless of the black upon the white of the page it continues that way until the end. If we were to do that; if our characters were to stay static and for everything to remain unchanged regardless of what happened – then it would be as much use to us as if nothing happening at all. If life is a state of change, why would we endure an experience of nothing; of stubborn unchanging?

It makes sense for our character to change, evolve and develop from moment to moment, exponentially even from chapter to chapter; regardless of if that development is ultimately better for them, or worse.

What this tells us; is that what comes next, does not always have to be the time at which you were most happy, for it to be the time you most needed. It does not have to a time you were most proud of; in order for it to be a story you may later wish to tell.

In fact; a large number of stories you’ll recall from your youth, involve actions you would never take again. Or unintentional copious amounts of alcohol.

The age of anxiety is upon us; because we feel as though what we have now isn’t that great, and that it’s only going to get worse. Which seems terrifying.

In order to avoid it, we try to cling on to this exact moment, knowing all the while that inevitably it will be taken from us, whether we like it or not.

Rather, offer no resistance. Let it go.

Do not be afraid of what’s to come; relish in the experience, knowing that if what is to come is pain, pleasure will be put into perspective, and it will follow in time.

What comes next may not be the time of your life; but it will be yours. What you can decide, is your perspective upon it. And how you will tell the story, when its over.


 

This article is best paired; with the following:

Uncertainty

Stop The Possibility of Future Happiness, Determining Whether You Are Happy Now

Temporary

 

Stop The Possibility Of Future Happiness, Determining Whether You Are Happy Now

Happiness, as everything else in life, is fleeting. It is temporary. This is not scary, or negative. It’s a fact. You hurt yourself, you are in pain, then it goes away. You run, you are tired, and then it goes away. You are enraged, you are all consumed by some startling revelation… And then eventually it does subside. You’re sleepy, you go to sleep, and so on and so forth. It’s all temporary, regardless of whether it’s a minute, an hour, a day, a week, or years at a time. It is temporary.

The problem with that, is we must accept that we have to let go of the moment. That time, that feeling, or that possession we felt belonged to us. At some point, although it cannot be identified, we must let go of the current moment, for the sake of the next. And while we would like it to return again one day to a moment we enjoyed in some form of another – the sheer fact we cannot guarantee it brings about our anxiety, or our reluctance to truly let it go. It brings about a unique sadness, where we may not experience the moment, for fear of it not returning again one day. Similar to when you are sad while you’re on holiday, because you know you will be back home in a few days. This is silly. You’re allowing the sadness of not being on holiday, ruin your happiness while you’re actually on it. So now in both moments, you are not achieving your full potential, because you’re sad in the moment, about being sad in the future, about a moment where you were happy, where in fact now you are sad! Which is maddening, and confusing altogether.

If you were to wake up every morning, and consider that today may be your last day – you would drive yourself to the point of insanity, despite the fact that ultimately it is true; it COULD be your last day. To fear the content of the day for fear it is your final one, would be a very negative way to live.

It should not matter if you feel you have one more day to go, or twenty thousand more to go. Make that day count.

If you are to be sad that day, be sad. If you are to be happy that day, be happy. If you must when you are sad, remember that at some point you will be happy again. But to detract from some happy moment, because it may not last, is altogether not worth your time.

While it may be difficult to let go of the beauty as the sun sets, know; you will next have the stars to enjoy.

 

Uncertainty

Uncertainty, it’s a wonderful thing.

It ensures that you live out a fascinating and astonishing life, rather than a mundane one. With every day different, you can be sure you should continue on going because there is so much to see and do.

And yet, it’s so commonly associated with anxiety because anxiety requires it for its very definition. But the two are not interchangeable. Just because you are uncertain of something, does not mean you must be anxious of it.

Uncertainty, refers only to the unknown state or outcome, of future events. Anxiety, refers to the negative feelings most commonly associated with uncertainty. So what happens then, if we remove anxiety, and instead explore uncertainty?

Humans innately strive for the illusion of control; the ability to steer your car down a particular fork in the road, to lead you to pastures new. The problem being that while in theory this seems pleasant, and very deterministic; life is much more chaotic – and while you can choose which road you travel, the problem is your field of vision is foggy at best. So while you may choose the nicer, more well maintained road – you could find that as soon as your on it, there are more obstacles in your way; roadworks or the cars of others that slow you down and bring you to a halt. Perhaps the cars that drove down the nice path did so, because they liked the seaside view next to it. But maybe you don’t like the sea.

So while it’s nice to think you’re in control and making the right decisions, in reality you’re about as likely to predict the correct outcome as the flip of a coin. So why worry about the uncertainty of it all? It’s tension. All of your choices, every single one you have ever made, has been half chance – and so have everyone else’s.

Let’s suppose your loved one is away on travel, and you’re irrationally afraid for their safety. Let’s suppose they are already gone, and so you do not have the option of convincing them not to go or packing a bulletproof vest in their suitcase. Now, whether or not their destination is a safe haven or a war-zone, it does not behoove you or anyone to worry or remain anxious for any length of time. You do not have control over this situation. You are uncertain of the outcome, but that does not mean you have to fear it. The outcome will remain the same, regardless of your fear of it. So why worry?

Apply this to the toxicity of self doubt, in any given situation. How many hours could you justly say that you have wasted thinking about events… which never happened? But you thought they might. And so it felt very real. To you. As real as if it had happened, because just like when a real thing happens and it takes its toll, so too will you be tolled as long as you treat fictitious events as though they are true.

So remove this anxiety from your life. Remain in the moment – and if anything, embrace the fleeting nature of it. Embrace that as you try to hold onto the moment, already it has passed. So do not hold on to it – rather, live it. The universe does not have to adhere to your laws of expectation. Nor does it work on the same reference of time. It can change what it’s doing in an instant, just as you can.

Accept uncertainty. It is merely a synonym, for freedom, when it is not necessarily you who is in control.


Another article you may find helpful regarding this topic of abandoning the illusion of control, and not fearing it, can be found here:

Shorts: The Apple Tree