A scene from a movie that I watched several years resonated deeply with me; so much so, in fact, that the impression it left serves as the foundation of this article. In the scene, six or seven patients having group therapy are seated in a circle with a psychiatrist in the center of a room. Realizing that one patient has an issue related to control (perhaps obsessive/compulsive disorder), the psychiatrist crumples a piece of paper and tosses it to the floor in front of him. The challenge to the patient to whom this action is aimed soon becomes obvious. Within a few moments, the man begins to fidget with his hands and squirm in his chair–all in an effort to ignore a situation that he obviously believed should be otherwise: the crumpled piece of paper lying as garbage in front of him. If my memory of the scene is correct, I believe that the man finally relents and picks it up.
“So,” you may be asking, “what’s the point of this, Mr. Russell? The point is obviously not about a crumpled piece of paper in a scene from a movie. It’s about what the crumpled piece of paper represents. What I’m asking you to do is to take a deeper look within yourself and examine what situations must be absolutely just “so” in your world to ensure your contentment. The following are just a few examples of crumpled pieces of paper:
Can you “Be” with…
- Flight delays? (Is someone special due to arrive for a visit at a set time?)
- Conversations? (Must the content of conversations always meet your expectations?)
- Work efforts? (Are your contributions in the workplace being appreciated or overlooked?)
- Neighbours? (Must they always behave in ways that you deem appropriate?)
- Health? (When a health issue presents, does your mind exaggerate its effect?)
- Exam results? (Must your world crumble if you don’t receive the grades you expect?)
- Finances? (Do your finances control you, or do you control your financial mindset?)
- Family members? (Are your relatives free to be as they choose to be, and you with them?)
- Weather? (Must the sun always shine when you prefer, or can you bear rain?)
- Death, divorce? (Has life brought a conclusion to a relationship that you valued dearly?)
There are, of course, many other challenging situations that arise during the course of our life; and they often arrive without warning. Can we face them–here and now–as they are in the moment, or must we always react to the habitual commands of our egoic self and pick them up? It is wise to remember that the reactions that we practice become our habitual way of being. Is it possible to know a deep sense of contentment within, in spite of apparent circumstances without?
To be freed from the conditioned beliefs related to our character (and, thus, experience the peace that passeth understanding), recognition of our essential nature must occur. Such means that we are liberated from the delusional belief of being the “person” who always needs conditions to arise as expected–an impossible condition to manifest in a world of changing phenomenon. From this perspective, we are enabled to face crumpled pieces of paper in a more composed and peaceful manner. The associated benefits of self inquiry are more than worth the efforts involved. Are you truly who you “think” you are?
Dare to dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2022 – R. Arthur Russell
P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. My YouTube videos may be found through this link. May the content of either or both help you along your spiritual journey. 🙏🧡