just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

Feeding the Mind of Dissatisfaction

Published on 16/09/16
by randy


It’s of basic human nature to live with a restless mind. Sometimes we wish things could be as they were. Other times we’re anxious or hopeful about what’s to come. The fact is, change happens and nothing is permanent. Yet, we struggle to find our way through another day. Hopefully, we can find just a little peace, some sense of satisfaction with what’s before us. Our political climate feeds on dissatisfaction, forever focusing on ‘what’s wrong’. The traditional conservative side somehow pushes us to believe we can go back to what was. They seem to want a more homogenous world to live in, one with walls, not bridges. The progressive side seems quite anxious about this and wants to ‘push’ what they think is effective change. When either side pushes, the other side seems to push back harder. As a result, we stagnate the workings of our democracy as we lock into our notions of being right.

George Sanders, a writer for the New Yorker, spent the summer following the Trump campaign trying to understand what the draw was. In an NPR interview he speculated that our differences in tolerance for diversity may be genetic, going back to cave day times. It seems that half of the group wished to stay in the cave and local surroundings to preserve what was. They grew their fear in venturing to new areas. The other half were the pilgrims who couldn’t resist going out to explore and learn at the risk of possible danger. It may explain the draw to conservative values from homogenous, rural areas.

Yet, the real danger is found in mindlessly growing our dissatisfaction through fear, greed, and anxiety or even worse, just giving up in apathy to what’s before us. We’re lulled into our notions of self-importance and self deception with the illusion that other people are responsible for our happiness, and that we can change them. Angeles Arrien has written:

“When we expect others to make us happy or we are invested in changing them, we enter relationships for selfish, arrogant, and immature reasons. In both instances, other individuals are seldom seen or appreciated for who they are. Instead, they are rendered as objects whose purpose is to serve our narcissistic needs. When we release these illusions, our relationship dynamics change, and we become more self-sufficient, collaborative, and interdependent.”

We’re living is what appears to be rapidly changing times. Transportation and technology have made for an increasingly diverse environment. Our work is to seek understanding in this diversity of economy, political and religious orientation, sexual and medical revolution, and basic blending of race and culture. Our democracy and spirituality are built upon calming the mind of anger and dissatisfaction as we collaborate in the pursuit of joy for all, touching with compassion and understanding that which is before us.

The greatest enemy to our family, community, state, nation and planet is acedia. When we give up, when we can only complain and grow our anger we risk the well being of all. Today we seem to have an agreement to simply not express our hopes for the future. Many of my friends who are much smarter than me have given up, complaining about ‘the system”. Our political choices are discarded as ‘no choice’ and they claim to be worn out with the gravity of media’s focus upon conflict and what’s not working. Yet, when we go down the road of non-participation we grow the mind of dissatisfaction. The pursuit of happiness is found in our “opportunity to participate”. The joy is a necessary consequence of our gratitude for this opportunity. It’s why we all work to end oppression from those who would strip the ladder of opportunity.

So next time you’re tempted to ‘change’ another, don’t. We’re most effective if we can agree to seek understanding, to acknowledge our worlds and life experiences are vastly different, and recognize the critical importance in how we participate and collaborate in hospicing our release from fixed, static minds that have been too heavily fed in the poisons of dissatisfaction (greed, fear, and ignorance to our interdependence). It doesn’t happen overnight and it’s a continuos lifetime practice since it’s of human nature to wrestle with our restless mind.

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