The Trick To Life
There’s a scene in the movie Lawrence of Arabia that I find fascinating.
Lawrence of Arabia and another officer are talking.
As they’re talking, Lawrence puts out a match with his fingers
When the officer tries to do it, he says, “Ooh, it hurts!”
“Certainly it hurts” replies Lawrence
“What’s the trick then?” the officer asks.
Lawrence replies with a sentence that’s been forever lodged in my brain:
“The trick is not minding that it hurts.”
We do wild things to avoid feeling, don’t we?
On some level (intellectually), it makes sense. We fear that if we feel… Really feel…We’ll be helpless.
We can’t control our thoughts or our feelings. They come and go as they please. And the lack of control is terrifying.
Deep down, we also struggle to trust ourselves.
We believe we must manage ourselves to get our future needs. We believe that our past failures define us as people.
What would our lives look like if we carefully responded to our emotions, thoughts, and wants rather than trying to manage, ignore, or control them?
I found that my deepest feelings are because of expectations. I think I NEED something and I get attached to the outcome of getting it.
When I don’t get it I feel unpleasant emotions.
I feel worst when I EXPECT to be healthy, but instead, I’m sick.
I try to skip forward to the days I’m feeling healthy again. Or I reminisce about the past when I was healthy.
When I leave expectations out of the door and open myself up to the moment I find something much more wonderful.
I find that even the days I’m sick count as days of my life.
And I want to be alive on all days even the sick ones.
There’s this idea I heard recently that I’ve been mulling over.
“We invite the things that we’re scared of. That is our nature. Our nature is to invite... if we have a fear of something we are inviting it in. Because we want to learn and grow from that experience. We want to face that fear.
So the fear of stagnation invites stagnation. The fear of loss invites loss. The fear of abandonment invites abandonment.”
This is a very liberating idea.
It reminds me of a hack I use whenever I get sick.
Whenever I get sick, I tell myself this is practice.
This is “practice” in dealing with anxiety. This is “practice” in learning to love pain. This is “practice” in feeling. This is practice.
Instead of becoming cynical that the world sucks, or being caught up in a “why me?” loop…I treat any unpleasantness as a gift. A way to practice. A way to learn. A way to feel.
I don’t want to live a life without pain. I want to live a life where I can feel it, love it, and use it.
No matter what we do, we will all at some point feel heartbreak, loss, grief, fear, and pain.
But that’s the point.
That’s how we learn.
That’s the practice.
That’s the path to freedom.
We will feel the hurt, but we won’t mind.
that’s the trick.