Motivation to not be a dick
I've been reading Eckhart Tolle lately. 'A New Earth', to be specific. Which I ordered while reading 10% Happier - the book that really started the chain reaction to my eventual embracing of mindfulness practice. Some of Tolle's specific terms might sound a little nutty at times but I generally agree with and can relate to what he's saying.
A particular section of A New Earth, about the 'pain-body' really hit home with me. Right when I found myself smirking at his flowery sci-fi sounding terms, it clicked. My takeaway: "Don't be a dick".
Let me explain...
He shared a story of a zen master essentially highlighting the importance of letting go and moving on to each subsequent moment free of emotional baggage. I thought of times when I've carried judgement of others into new interactions. Holding grudges against people that I consider 'annoying' for no good reason.
He explained how this 'pain-body' is activated under certain situations and essentially feeds on negativity. I thought of times when I've sabotaged my own happiness. How I felt like a different person when I was in that dark place, or in the heat of a stressful moment. How the momentum of maladaptive thinking/actions really do feed the 'pain-body' when I'm in a downward spiral.
I was starting to get it, but I noticed myself feeling kind of guarded. I forget how easily words can carry stigmas. My hang-ups were preventing me from receiving the message. He was saying something about energy beings that essentially possess host bodies, and it was all sounding too much like TV. But, those are just like, my opinions man... So, I re-read the last few pages and began to interpret it more closely. It honestly felt great - to stop fighting the message and really relate to it.
Here's how I'm beginning to understand it. The mind is a unique, volatile and impermanent environment. All input matters. In fact, no apparent input, simply consciousness alone, can influence the mental environment. Several factors contribute to the weather of the mind (such as diet, exercise, rest). Those factors can be either incremental or monumentally impactful based on one's own unique mental environment. Don't litter your mind with the feelings (chemistry) associated with maladaptive behavior.
To me, this provides really good motivation why to be a nice loving person and not harbor negativity. Why hold onto grudges and negativity when all they serve to do is strengthen the parts of me I'm less proud of? Before I really understood that I was, in many ways, choosing to prolong my own unhappiness, I could claim ignorance. Now, I know better. I know that choosing to make choices from a place of love can legitimately help me lead a happier and more fulfilled life. It's all chemistry, and this is about giving your mind the best chance to swim around in the best chemistry possible.
Speaking of chemistry, I'm feeling better on Zoloft than Lexapro. I'll be on 100mg daily for the time being. I mention this because I feel the medication is helping, and I think for many (myself included) the road to mental health requires support from a therapist as well as a psychiatrist. I basically spent two decades years of my life thinking in unhealthy ways, and as I'm learning now, training my mind to become really really good at thinking in unhealthy ways. Why not accept a little help taking back control and building momentum in a positive direction?