How to Live a Complaint-Free Life – By Chris Cade
Several years back on Facebook, I posted this thought:
“You are complaining every time you silently wish for anything other than what you are immediately experiencing in the present moment.”
James replied in a way that really brings to light both:
- The challenges we have in seeing that silent wish as complaining
- Choosing a new thought pattern once we recognize we’re complaining
James concerns represent a part in all of us to truly understand how we can live deeper teachings when we are planted in a world that is, generally speaking, not supportive of living an authentic, peaceful, joyful life.
James asked: “Where does action fit in to all of this?”
Be present with the action. This is easier said than done because our minds constantly pull us away from our immediate experience. Our minds tell us what we need to “get done” so that we can eventually “get” the future we wish for.
Therefore, being present with taking action is a daily, moment-to-moment practice. Things still need to get done in our world. Certain things need to be done “now” to prepare for the future. That’s normal and expected. Just don’t live in the future. Live in the now while being present with that preparation.
Questions to ponder as you’re reading this:
- Do you notice the parts of your body that make contact with the ground?
- Do you feel your feet on the ground or your butt in the chair?
- Do you sense where your hands make contact with something?
The more you can orient yourself towards your sensations while you take action, the more present you can be in your daily actions.
James also asked: “So what positive process is it that facilitates change? Are some things not worth ‘complaining’ about? Suppose you were ill and I wished you were healthy?”
It’s helpful to be curious: “Why do I have this wish? What is this wish truly about?” In this way, you are actually in this moment with your wishing.
The moment we start focusing on the object of our wish is the moment that we are… no longer in the moment. And thus, we are silently complaining. We are quietly saying to ourselves: “This moment is not good enough. So I must wish for it to be different.”
In theory this idea of focusing on the wish (not the object) is nice. Maybe even a “fluffy” pie-in-the-sky spiritual teaching. In practice, it becomes extremely difficult when we encounter suffering either in ourselves or in others, such as:
- Natural disasters
- World hunger
- Terminal illness
Even then, we only have one true option: to be present with out experience. To be honest with ourselves about how we feel (even if those feelings are rage, despair, indifference, or other). There is a misperception that if we don’t “wish” for things to change that they cannot and will not change.
What you will notice when you practice this will be quite the opposite:
By being Present, even with pain or your wish for something to change, then your depth of Presence will lead you to naturally want to take actions in the ways that are most appropriate and needed for that particular moment (which may or may not be to alleviate the suffering of another Being).