From suffering to acceptance as the start of your future

Did you ever watch MacGyver? An action TV series of the 1980’s. I used to really like it but it was never high brow. Then I was reading an article maybe 15 years ago by Humberto Maturana on conservation and change. The article was describing how in a particular emotion your intelligence is maximal. The example given was MacGyver. The emotion this character was always in was one of acceptance both of his environment and of his own abilities. He didn’t ever say, darn, if only I had a different candy bar I’d be able to fix that acid leak. He didn’t ever wish the contents of the lady’s handbag contained an item that wasn’t there so he could more easily defuse the bomb. He just saw things exactly as they were while holding what needed to be done to survive, and hey presto, he solved the problem. I can still laugh when I think of Maturana citing MacGyver in a serious scientific article.

Emotional pain, just like physical pain is pretty horrible when you are connected to it. You escalate it when you say…..this thing that is how it is shouldn’t be how it is. I wish it wasn’t how it is…… That’s how to increase your suffering. Suffering happens in the space between how it is and how you wish it was.

But I wish it wasn’t like this you say! Well my Grandmother would then say “Spit in one hand and wish in the other and see which gets full fastest”

Once you get that it is how it is, everything you have ever learned about getting through things like this will be available to you. You will be maximally intelligent. When it is how it is and it isn’t how it isn’t you are right there, at the start of your future

The funniest conversation I’ve had this week about that was with a man who was railing against the justice system, which let’s face it, is broken. It isn’t how it should be, that’s for sure. He was suffering by wishing it would function the way it is supposed to. Ha!

I asked him if he’d ever had a tool that was a bit broken, but he could make it work. He told me about a drill he had that was dicky if you moved it through it’s gears. At first he’d thought it was broken, but the necessity to use it had him fiddle with it. He’d somehow learnt the trick and could use it pretty effortlessly despite it being kind of broken. If someone asked to borrow it though, even when he explained what to do they struggled. He somehow knew it had taken time to learn and he wasn’t entirely sure how he had mastered it. It was how it was and it wasn’t how it wasn’t and he’d learnt it as it was…. not as it was supposed to be. He could use it by not expecting it to work the way it was supposed to, but instead, working with it the way it was.

Lifes like that.



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