"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." - From Shakespeare's Hamlet
I think about that quote a lot. Everything has many, many effects and side effects.
Things happen. Then we assign value to them. Sometimes our assigned values are wrong, as we see later. The worst moment of your life leads to breakthroughs. The large gains lead to arrogance and ruin you.
Nothing good or bad? Maybe a stretch. Worth thinking about, though.
I agree with Hamlet fully, with no reservations or qualifications.
I also don't think it makes your judgments of goodness or badness any less meaningful, powerful, or important.
I, like you, am somewhat skeptical about eliminating all value judgments. But I find that stepping back and reflecting on why I made the judgment I did, especially if it's a negative one, usually reveals a petty reason -- especially looking at the big scheme of things. Part of it, I think, is overemphasizing the negative, which is a part of the human condition that we have to overcome through conscious thought. Maybe we shouldn't all turn into Stoics, but they did have a point in their idea that, from the perspective of the Universe, our highs and lows mean nothing -- so why emphasize our reactions so much?
Email from a reader having a tough time. Ambitious, but in a rut. Here's an edited excerpt, my thoughts afterwards -
I had some thoughts as a part of trying to get myself out of a rut. The rut is from a bad combination [...] and a lack of drive and motivation. I'm not sure I can ever fully get out of it. I've been in it in some form or another for as long as I can remember. The following isn't an epiphany. Maybe the rut is something we can never escape, though some do better than others at trying. But I'll keep trying, I think. I've failed to many times in the past to be sure, but I will try. Maybe one day I'll escape it.
It goes on that way for a while - tough times, stuck in a rut, and thinking about it repeatedly. My take -
Okay, you're "ruminating" a lot. Google the term, read something about it.
There's pros and cons of ruminating. It helps you clear up whatever issues you have eventually, but makes you miserable in the process. The answer isn't to just stop ruminating, it's to get solved whatever you want solved and also cut back on ruminating at the same time.
There are many thoughts that invade our daily lives. Thoughts that aren’t accurate, aren’t relevant, or simply aren’t beneficial to the healthy, positive lives we were destined to live. Too much thinking can cause a lot of stress. Here’s four simple tips for letting it go:
Clap It Out: thoughts have tangible, physical energy - if you are in a head space where all you can think about is the negativity of a certain situation, or your body enters a space of increased stress because of the circumstances around you, simply clap your hands loudly to dissipate the negative energy circulating through your body. If nothing else, the sound and the movement of your hands will move you from a non-present head space to a present and mindful space.
Get Grounded: Stressful situations happen every day in nature. But somehow, the mechanisms of nature have been designed so that they take care of themselves. Next time you feel stressed, tke a walk outside. Not only will you begin to breathe and relax because of the change of scenery and the fresh air, but you will enter a tranquil and organic space that comes from being in the outdoors.
Speak Your Mind: Anything in excess is usually a bad thing. The things we say with our mouth, and believe in our heart, design the creation of our reality. Try vocally telling yourself (in your heart and with your mouth) to “LET IT GO!” Say this three times in the mirror, if possible. The act of speaking what you want for your life will bring about a posture of release in your heart and mind, which will free you from the bondage of your negative thoughts.
Breathe: Close your eyes. Take 8 deep breaths, starting at the stomach and moving up into your chest and shoulders. Release the breath and repeat. After breath 8, open your eyes. Become aware of your new perspective on your circumstances. Realize that the negative thoughts are gone. Stay present and mindful as you move forward through your day