The joke is, during some difficult, messy or otherwise undesirable activity, to ask, “Are we having any fun yet?” The answer currently is, “Yes!”
Friday I saw a shrink for the first time. I’ve been seeing a therapist at work, but yesterday was the first time I saw one that I paid for and that I expect to talk about really personal stuff with. I found him through an ad in the paper. A gestalt therapist and psychologist. The first session went fast. I spent an hour and a half talking about myself, words tripping over themselves and me even being a bit joking. I was in a very good mood. I go back Thursday. I asked my therapist if there was anything I should do in the meantime. He said to carry on as I had been.
I was a bit disappointed. Then I realized that that was a pretty specific instruction. I had told him about my process that started last fall and let him read the affirmation I used.
Today was fun
It does make a difference in my day, if I start it with an affirmation, with some focus on the spiritual and on my frame of mind. The rest of the day flows so smoothly. Even problems flow smoothly. If they appear, they lead themselves to their solution.
Talking straight for nearly 90 minutes tires the brain, and just a block away from the shrink’s office, is one my favorite coffee shops in Bergen. Not that I’ve tried many others. I like this one because the employees are friendly, the coffees are excellent, there’s a fantastic view of Bryggen and up the Fløi mountain, and lots of people to watch. I tried a tiger mocca (with white chocolate). I was, however, too restless to truly enjoy it. I did open my March issue of “Creative Thought” magazine for the first time this month (yes, I’ve been neglecting myself), and it opened onto a quote by Theodore Geisel1: “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”
Funny how that works. That line summed up my day and my recent months so well. The article that quote introduced was about having fun. About how God2 wants you to have fun. Did you know that? It’s pretty obvious. Whenever I remember my spiritual self, I laugh more, I have more patience, I meet others who are happy and kind, and the whole day is one big chunk of joy. And that, it turns out, is a normal of connectedness with God.
My shrink was paging through my PDA, reading my affirmation, and hit a button that brought up my note index. “God is perfect and does not suff…”, he read out loud. That was actually the title of a note to myself (undated) during one of my darker moments. My note states that God does not do suffering, because God is perfect, and suffering is neither constructive nor creating, and therefore it is safe to approach God, to pray, because nothing bad will come of it.
There are some ideas in the Christian mindset that state we humans must suffer, that we are destined to suffer unless we embrace Christ, being the pathetic sinners that we are, and if we don’t, God punishes us, etc. The way the Christians put it, it feels like a huge weight and impossible to deal with, especially if, like me, faith in Jesus is flawed or even impossible. Buddhism has a similar idea but words it differently: We suffer because we don’t know any better. When we know better, i.e. awaken (become buddha), we no longer suffer. One idea involves a faith in a deity, the other involves self-awareness. Marry the two and there is nothing you can’t do be it fun, loving, peaceful, empowering, successful, healthy or prosperous.
No faith in a deity or your deity sucks? Have faith in the natural state of things which is that everything is lifewards. Even mankind cannot and has not annihilated itself, because to do so goes against the grain, goes against supporting life. Death and decay in the woods leaves that special smell that can conjur up memories of other walks, and provides food and fertilizer for many living beings – animals, plants and bacteria alike. Even the fuzzy, green experiment in your refridgerator that once was a food item, is full of life, not death. It’s just not fit to eat. Physicists know this: Energy never goes away; it just changes form (first law of thermal dynamics).
Don’t know if you’re awake? Start by asking yourself where all your attitudes and beliefs come from and why you have them. What are your attitudes about politics, money, sex, food, other nationalities, morals, intellectuals, whiny kids, and where did you get them from? How did it start? Are there any contradictions in your thinking? Have fun trying to sort them out. It can hurt and even make you grieve to have to give up old beliefs, to find yourself mistaken, and it takes courage, but it’s nothing to be afraid of. As your world expands, it grows safer. No, really. It does. That’s because awakening spiritually is just like awakening as a kid: In fresh light that chases away shadows so you no longer can imagine monsters under the bed. (The book “A Course in Miracles” has 365 lessons which are all intended to wake you up.)
Bring out the good
So I there I was, vigorously stirring my tiger mocca, musing on my therapist’s instructions, trying to read. I managed part of the article about fun, about what really brings a person joy. And as I gazed down the line of Bryggen’s colorful, leaning houses basking in the sun, I realized that I wanted to share my process, my discoveries. It’s not that I am more perfect or spiritual than anyone else; it’s more like I’m one of the locals and if you’re a stranger in town, I can tell you a few things. I constantly have challenges in my life, but each time I face them, I seem to do so with more confidence and less fear – and with fewer missteps. And like some born-again Christian, I am so giddy with delight about that, that I have to tell someone. To those who are Christians: If you can awaken while believing in Jesus, you’ve done exactly what Jesus wanted. All religions point to the same truths: There is one spiritual source (“god”) for all humans, we are all connected to this source and to each other (we are one), and if we want to experience pure bliss, the wisest thing we can do is try to act accordingly. For you atheists out there, the same applies: Man is inherently good, and therefore so are you. Bring it out.
Today was fun. Tomorrow is another. I’m downright excited at the prospect.
1) Theodore Geisel is best known to my generation as Dr. Seuss.
2) Substitute “God” for “divine love”, “goddess”, “higher self”, “my source of all things good”, whatever floats your boat. I have had my own process with the word “God”, and so it works for me now, without negative connotations or an image of a bearded, old man.