I have not been writing nearly as much as I would like to. However my true love, stand up comedy, has gotten in the way. Tie in some personal issues and the start-up of my company Get Involved Comedy and I have been stretched pretty thin.
There is one thing that I never stop doing and that one thing is reading. Since New York State thought it was a good idea for me to stop drinking and doing drugs, I have had to find numerous other outlets for me to “get out of my mind” for a little bit. Video games, the gym and reading seem to help me accomplish this the most. Your mind can’t successfully concentrate on two things at once so when I am reading I am fully enthralled in the book. My personal problems fall to the wayside and my brain shuts off for a bit. I highly suggest finding things to get you out of your own head when alcohol stops working for the most of you. It will eventually stop working, by the way. Some people call these things “hobbies” but that sounds so trivial. Find something you love and let it kill you, like Bukowski says.
The two books that I have read are The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. We’ll talk more about them after the jump. First, let me just preface this post by saying that most of this article is from either one of those books. I’m paraphrasing and misquoting and doing terrible things in the literary world because this is a blog and not my thesis, so eat a dick.
Also, I will be breaking it into two posts after realizing how much I had to say about this. This must be how George R. R. Martin feels!
I’m sure right off of the bat you are thinking “What the fuck is Hugh doing? He just put a Zen Buddhist picture with a Bible quote in the caption.” And for this, I must explain. This post is about spirituality, not religion. This post is about opening that closed religious or atheist mind of yours. Honestly, if you resonate as religious or atheist, grow up.
In The Four Agreements, the author starts off with a sort-of-depressing tone by saying “No human can condemn another to Hell because we are already there.” However depressing it may be, I still loved this quote because this reminds me of a quote from a Chuck Palahniuk book called “Damned.” I’m paraphrasing Palahniuk but the quote was basically that life feels like Hell because we expect it to be Heaven. I get goosebumps just typing that. The first quote might sound depressing at first glance but with further examination you realize that the author is saying that no one should ever make you feel like you’re in hell. No one should have that power.
He also says “We know we are not what we believe we are supposed to be and so we feel false.” All of this stems from a person’s expectations of what they should be or what they are told they should be. These two books are all about turning your thoughts into better living using the “Law of Attraction.” I will get into this a little later with The Secret. They also focus on setting realistic goals and expectations. With that being said, the only limitation is actually your imagination.
Before I go any further, let me tell you what the four agreements are. They are 4 promises you make to yourself and supposedly if you follow this way of living, you will feel like you are in Heaven on Earth. These agreements (and my interpretations) are:
- Be impeccable with your word- This basically means “Be true to yourself.” Be like Tony Montana and never break your word.
- Don’t take anything personally- When a person is being an asshole, it is always their shit. They are projecting their issues on you. Don’t take it to heart.
- Don’t make assumptions- Realistic expectations will never lead to disappointment.
- Always do your best- Become a master of intent. What are your intentions behind your motivation? If your intentions are pure, then your conscience will be clear.
Alright, now back to my notes.
Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own mind, which creates their own world; they are in a completely different world from the one that you or I live in. When we take something personally we make the assumption that they know what is in our world. We should also never make the assumption that we know what is happening in someone else’s world. So, to simplify that…what I say or do is not me hurting you personally. It’s you hurting you. My words or actions triggered an emotional reaction in you because you made an assumption that I know what is going on in your life.
As people, we tend to get angry, jealous or sad. Most of the time these are what I call “secondary emotions.” Usually the primary emotion being felt at the root is fear. Fear of the truth. Also, humans tend to find things to be angry at to misdirect the anger from themselves. All of this stems from fear. Even when we lie, we are lying because we are fearful of not being perfect in someone else’s eyes.
Telling yourself the truth (self honesty) might hurt at first but you do not need to be attached to the pain. Eventually, all wounds heal. The human body, mind and soul are self-repairing entities always trying to get back to homeostasis. Just like the universe or an eco-system. You will also find that you won’t have to trust others as much if you trust in yourself. Don’t solely use your brain or your heart. Use a combination of both to make the decisions in your life.
The next part of the book is on assumptions. Assumptions are terrible. Often they are just miscommunications, so ask questions for clarity. Advocate for yourself. Everyone has a right to say yes or no. Just like you have the right to ask. This will help in the department of not being let down.
Assumptions can ruin our psyche in a variety of ways. Sometimes we assume that everyone will judge us exactly like we judge ourselves (which is ruthlessly) so even before we are rejected, we reject ourselves. No one can tear us down like ourselves. However, on the other side of things, we can assume that we can do something and then when we can’t, it sends us spiraling into a depression.
This next section ties into relationships, in a way. When we jump into a relationship we are blinded by love and other feelings. It feels like a good thing. I usually refer to it as “The Honeymoon Phase” but this can lead to unrealistic expectations and eventually to you being let down. Or it can happen the other way, if the relationship sours you might see something that is amplified by emotional poison and you might blow everything out proportion. That was the only thing my ex ever blew.
You see how this can be toxic for a relationship? This happens in almost everyone of my relationships. One of us is never in reality. Never looking at the person as they are. One of us always looks at the person they were or the person they can be. Which is why I have been trying to live in 24 hour periods. Sometimes when I can’t handle that, I try to live hour by hour or minute by minute. Things are much easier if you aren’t stressing about the future or regretting the past. Living in the now allows me to see people as they truly are. Living in the day allows me to see how beautiful this stupid rock in space can be.
And the best part of these suggestions is the fact that you can start at any time. What happens if you screw up? Well, you just start again. Everyone screws up. Humans are a imperfect by design. Our redeeming factor are forgiveness. We can always try again tomorrow.
Via con Dios,
Okay, those were all of my notes from The Four Agreements. I’m going to cut my post off here and create a Part 2 on The Secret. I usually try to wrap things up at the 1,000 word mark so check back later for Part 2.