For several weeks now I have been distracted, preoccupied, and suffering….
Recently, I have been working part time for a Drumstick manufacturing firm, Los Cabos Drumsticks of New Brunswick Canada. I have been writing press releases and product descriptions as well as feature articles on some of the artists since May, but management have decided I will be able to do more if I am in the facility full time. Once negotiations began and were in progress my suffering began. The relative uncertainty left me nervous, anxious and stressed for about three weeks.
It wasn’t really the possibility of moving that caused this suffering. It wasn’t the prospect of a new job. It wasn’t even the thought of looking for an apartment and all that is involved in that.
No, what caused my suffering was my EXPECTATIONS!
It began with curiosity… IF I get this job, where can I live? Kijiji produced hundreds of possibilities; many of which were VERY suitable. As I explored further, I began to think I should apply (since most have online application forms) before the best ones were taken up by University students. Yet, I dared not apply in case I was accepted and had no job (at least nothing definite) to back it up. So, in my mind, I created attachment to outcome. It suddenly became VERY important that I be near the phone in case my prospective employer called with the news I was waiting to hear. Then I became attached to THAT outcome too! Before long, I had created several attachments to which I clung tenaciously! “If only I knew for certain…” I’d say to a friend. I began having nightmares that woke me in the night. My sleep interrupted, my mind began playing tricks on me and I became even more attached to the desired outcome.
And on the morning of July 30 2009, I got the phone call I had been so attached to. I start work on September 7th.
Did my anxiety and stress cause the job to materialize? I doubt it. Was my attachment to outcome in any helpful or useful? Not at all! What changed when my employer called? Was it my address? No, not yet… Was it my financial status? Again, not yet…. What changed was my THOUGHTS!
The Buddha said that all suffering is created by our thinking and this month I have proven that to be true. My thoughts created the conditions for doubt, fear, anxiety, and stress to exist. A simple phone call created the conditions for doubt, fear, anxiety, and stress to disappear! And all that changed, really, were my thoughts.
The human mind is an amazing bit of technology… Make sure that when you use it, you use it correctly… This is the meaning of “Right mindfulness” as taught by the Buddha in the Noble Eightfold Path.