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One Man’s Trash

May 13, 2016
Credit to Freefallintoreality

Credit to Freefallintoreality

It has been said pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Is it just me, or do those few words speak volumes? Anyone who knows me, at one time or another, finds themselves in the midst of onslaughts regarding the connection between how we live our lives and how we see things.

I have been known to go as basic as the half-empty half-full images, all the way up through heavy philosophical meanderings. But all these roads, with their many different twists, roadblocks, pitfalls, scenery and assorted pavement compositions, await travelers. And we, in our imperfect human condition, are those travelers.

It is now time for a collective exhale, better known as a sigh of recognition but more gently known as acceptance.

Pain and Suffering 2

Pain is necessary. OUCH! Unless there are those among us who fit masochistic descriptors and wear them proudly, this is not provoking happy thoughts. We humans don’t like pain. In fact, we go to great lengths and agree to spend ridiculous amounts of money in order to avoid it.

When we face reality, most of us are honest enough to admit pain is not something we can avoid. We may postpone or lessen it. We may delay it or deny it, only to have it re-enter our lives at times when we don’t recognize its return. Sadly, it is inevitable.

Credit to commonfoodle

Credit to commonfoodle

Now for the good news. It revolves around suffering. And although this clearly sounds quite ridiculous, upon deeper inspection, it is anything but crazy. In order for suffering to exist, it has to be perceived as such. My aunt Trudy used to love hot soup. I mean HOT soup; where most people would seek medical assistance upon having it come into contact with their mouths. They might question why she suffers through such an experience. To those who love hot soup, it is not suffering at all. Quite the contrary; it is something they enjoy, something pleasurable. Perception, in its purest form, magnifies these contrary emotional responses. The way we perceive things, the very element of our lives over which we do possess control, is uniquely ours. It is entirely optional.

Credit to Forbes

Credit to Forbes

You may have heard of a similarly polar situation with regard to people who conduct and visit yard sales. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Those of us on the outside looking in, able to clearly see both the forest and the trees, are aware of the same mechanics at play; steered by perception. Both the soup and the item found at the yard sale remain the same, it is the individual’s thinking, their perception that causes the difference, that lies behind any change.

It says in the bible as a man thinks, so he becomes, or words to that effect. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying that people are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be. Someone else very wise and honest explains how nothing changes until we change the way we look at it. These messages are all the same. At some point, each and every one of us, has the ability to turn things around, to alter the direction we are headed in, to change our lives and possibly, even our little corner of the world.

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