Do you know that place in between? Have you ever noticed how hard it is for our mind to stay still in that place between optimism and pessimism?
I have recently experienced a very challenging health related situation in my family. Things could go very wrong and impact everybody’s life but it could also be OK, or mild, or absolutely fine. The answer was just a couple of days and an MRI scan away and I noticed that my mind was frantically trying to “resolve” itself one way or another, fluctuating between not yet justified positivism and the resoluteness of outright negativism. My mind couldn’t stay optimistic for long, as it was afraid to be disappointed shortly after, whereas assuming that the answer was going to be “bad” right at that moment was bringing more relief than accepting the necessity of hanging in the unknown for a while…
The problem with these two extreme positions of the mind is that both are lies. Some of us are habitually optimistic and others are habitually pessimistic. But the truth is that, as long as we are trying to avoid the unknown at all costs, we are not prepared to deal efficiently for whatever comes next. We are attached to certain outcomes and don’t allow the life energy to move freely helping us to align our inner resources and respond to the life demands in the most efficient way.
It is a commonly accepted view that being positive has its benefits; but being negative is often frowned upon. However, compulsive optimism can sometimes be a form of self-delusion and, just like compulsive negativism, a sign of individual’s inability to hold reality in its wholeness. The place of stillness between optimism and pessimism seems to the place where we are PREPARED and OPEN for whatever comes without the need to let our thoughts run compulsively towards the worst or best outcomes. It is the place where we show up as a Peaceful Warrior – courageous, ready to act as needed, accepting life, accepting death, humbled.
We face an opportunity to hang in the unknown and practice self-awareness every day: when you are waiting for the call after a job interview, when you just met someone you really like but are not sure whether you have a future together, when you fear you or someone you love might have a dangerous illness, etc. Don’t disconnect with the flow of life and from your uncomfortable feelings by resolving into your default optimism or pessimism. Accept the challenge of being a Peaceful Warrior who can stay with the unknown, is prepared for whatever comes, ready to die, ready to love, ready to fight, ready to let go.