Sunday, June 04, 2006

Too idle is not amusing

I had an interesting experience this evening that made me better understand a simple concept in Zen - that of the importance of having control over your mind. It might seem like a very easy thing to do - after all, it's your brain. But if you've ever tried meditating, it becomes very obvious how your brain just constantly produces new thoughts. It's very easy to lose focus and just follow any particular thought that might be interesting at the moment, and at that point, you are no longer in control. In this particular case, for some reason tonight I found myself musing about the pointlessness of life. This led me to wondering about the significance of my existence. Was I making any contribution to anything? What if I died right now? Would it matter? Sure, I imagine some people might miss me, but really nothing would change in the world. Others would quickly fill in the minor gaps that were left for things I might have been doing.

This thought process quickly turned my mood from one of very upbeat to one that was very depressed. Before I knew it, I was in an almost paralyzed state where I just didn't feel like doing anything since it was all totally pointless. And it was all from just a single initial thought that caused my mind to wander in a different direction. Looking back on it now, it all seems quite silly, but at the time, I just couldn't see that I had let a simple thought totally take over my mind.

Fortunately, I managed to come to my senses in a quite accidental manner. I ended up getting distracted reading some Sunday comics. Yes, the simple act of reading some comics was enough to jar me out of this foul mood. For a moment I completely forgot the negative chain of thought I had been following. At that point it then dawned on me that I had been letting a single thought rule my mind and affect my mood. My mood then immediately improved. And that's when I realized how it was a good illustration of the Zen concept of the importance to make sure you have control of your thoughts.

6 comments:

shiloh351 said...

Brian, it saddens me to read that. You know me (I think) and know where my thoughts will come so I'll try and be brief.....
There is no point of life outside of one in a relationship with God.
Your thoughts remind me of the book of Ecclesiastes (Scott's favorite book)...."Vanities of vanities....all is vanity (meaningless)." The whole book describes a lot of what you were feeling. But, it ends with an awesome verse, (Scott's favorite),"Let us hear the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all."
So, yes, life by itself is pointless, but there's a reason why we're here..... :)
Love you brother!!!

Mostly Torn said...

No need to be saddened. As I said, it was just a temporary thing - it didn't even last an hour. And afterwards I learned a good lesson from it. What's to be sad about that?

henry rhombus said...

Humanity could be wiped off the Earth, and the universe wouldn't notice. Heck, the entire Earth could disappear, and no one would issue a Missing Planet report. Earth is a dot in an enormous space, a flea in the Grand Canyon; it's nothing, and we're all future worm food -- assuming the worms stick around.

That said, I don't worry about the pointlessness of life. I can't do anything about it, so I'm not going to work myself into a tizzy over it. I've accepted it and continue with my life, tra la la.

big kahuna said...

Brian,
You can spend a lifetime seeking answers to the unanswerable. There are occurances each day that could drive you nuts if you tried to rationalize why things happen or don't happen. This is especially true with untimely deaths and other things that are out of our hands. Not being a philosopher, I try to train myself to stop when pulled by these unanswerables.

It's good that you were able to snap out of your funk and feel good about your realization. It may be useful to you in tougher times.

Anonymous said...

god god god. why's it always about god? jeez give someone credit for controlling themselves without any outside mumbo jumbo...

MI Niece said...

hmmm...I think if you want people to be respectful about how you obviously don't feel about God, maybe you should be respectful about how they feel about God rather than calling it "outside mumbo jumbo". That "outside mumbo jumbo" has given me purpose to my life and saved it many times.

With that said, we aren't robots, even if you believe in God and are responsibile for controling your own thoughts and actions. Shiloh's post wasn't about that at all..it was about WHY we are here, the PURPOSE to life.

Uncle Brian, I would be very sad if you weren't here. You give me a sense of family connection. For the first time in a long time I feel like someone actually takes an interest in my life and who I am. You teach me so much, in our little conversations. I would be very sad if you were gone.