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Yeshe
сообщение 3.12.2006, 23:31
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Thoughts on regrets and seizing the day


Цитата
So, what does "live life with no regrets" mean to me? I might not have known for sure a few years ago, but now I think I know how I apply this in my own life.

To me, "regrets" implies lingering doubts about a decision I have made or opinions I hold. When I consider certain deeply significant moments in my life, I find that much of the more difficult emotional content of those moments came from my beliefs about what *others* might think I should feel. When I started trusting my own analysis enough to decide for myself how to feel, I found I could embrace the reality of the moment without regrets for what "might have been" or what I "should have" felt.

I don't think that "seizing the day" necessarily involves extreme or heedless behavior. Indeed, I think that a lot of extreme behavior stems from a kind of fear that one does not "measure up" to others' expectations. I think that you seize the day by working hard to confront the moment in which you live, rather than complicating it with historical evaluations or future what-ifs, and without undue concern for the opinions of others.

Many philosophies contend that we can only live in the "here and now". Yes, we base our "now" evaluations on the moments of the past, and condition them on what we predict the future will look like, but the evaluation happens now. The more we line up our evaluations with the "facts" of this moment, as we can discern them, the more satisfying we will find them.


Цитата
The two phrases may have relatively independent meanings, as they are often used independently.

By putting the two phrases together, however, a slightly more specific meaning arises in my mindstream. To me, these two phrases imply that we should "get the most" / "live life to the fullest" / "achieve the most possible" out of each day so that we don't later regret wasting of lives (or portions thereof).

The question then becomes, "By what criteria do we measure ourselves?" Acquiring material possessions? Acquiring experiences and sensations? Making friends and influencing people? Building monuments? Playing games?

To the best of my knowledge, since at least the time of the ancient Greeks (>2000 years), people have debated/discussed hypthetical criteria by which we can judge if we're "living well." The problem is that any criterion proposed can be shown as limited to certain relative situations, so there's no one standard of "living well" that we can propose for all people in all times. Some people have attempted to add age-constraints as boundaries to criteria (for example, saying "children should play", "adults should work", "elders should contemplate"), but IMHO this still only provides vague guidelines.

Ignoring the concepts of "standards"/"criteria"/"absolutes" then, in each moment of my life I can ask myself, "what could I be doing now that would be most fun/interesting/educational/helpful?" (not "what should I be doing"...but "what could I be doing")...and by attempting to thus "live each day to the fullest" I avoid ever having reason to "look back with regret".

Цитата

"Seize the day" = "Base your actions on your own choices"

"Live without regrets" = "Accept the consequences of those choices"

Цитата
The funny thing about worrying--nobody every worries about the possibility of *good* things happening! While you are stopping yourself from worrying, considering reminding yourself that a whole bunch of *good* things might happen, with equal probability to the bad. "What-if" they LOVE your application and want you to start right away? What if the guy reviewing your application had a wonderful former lover named Shona that he still thinks of fondly? What if just after they offer you the job, your current boss comes to you and says they need you to step into a management role, for more pay? Imagine having to *choose* between two great jobs!

I'm not saying to be silly about it, but such an exercise helps you see that more can happen than just bad things.

I find that my fears and dreads hit me most powerfully when I wake up in the middle of the night. I find it constantly amazing how much I can stress over an issue then which I find nearly trivial the next morning. Most of these things involve stuff about which I can do next to nothing.

So here's another to think about as you try to stop your worrying--if you have put all you can into the things you HAVE control over (the quality of your application, the healthiest diet your son will let you impose on him), then the rest of it will just happen as it will. Your stress adds nothing to the outcome, except to debilitate you unnecessarily.

Another thing I do when stressing--I rehearse conversations with people. For a long time, I thought this would help me figure out how to handle all possibilities. Instead, what it does it put words into the mouths of other people which I then emotionally react to. I get *mad* at them for the possibility that they *might* say something. We have pretty stupid brains in some ways and in this case, the brain doesn't distinguish well between the *real* person and my imagining of them. So I feel everything as if it really happened that way. Imagine what that does to my emotional state the next time I actually talk to that person!

In my family, we have a code-word: NG! It means "needless guilt" and we use it to shut somebody up when they start to stress about pointless things after making a choice or taking an action.

So, remember NG, remember the equal probability of good, remember that rehearsing a conversation may leave you with inappropriate feelings, remember the difference between things you can affect and things you can't.

It all does come down to consciousness.


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