Some joy is better than none

Sometimes, we all have to do things we don’t like. For example, a business meeting, a car accident, or filing taxes are all annoying but necessary parts of modern life.

Rather than holding tight and pushing through these experiences with suffering, it’s possible to choose a different way.

Recently, I was involved in a meeting that I felt was pointless. I practiced my mindfulness to stay present and relaxed with my experience. I realized that I have a pattern of entering unknown experiences oftne with doubt, skepticism, and impatience until proven wrong. This could mean being with a new teacher, a new practice, or new initiative.

For this meeting, I already had a skepticism and doubt about the topic and facilitator. It was a busy time for the organization with a lot of deadlines and work to be done. I thought I would do far better work on my own than attend this meeting. But I had to be there. So, as long as I stuck to this skeptical view, I was guaranteed to have a bad time. As long as I stay disengaged until convinced otherwise, I definitely wouldn’t have a good time or learn anything.

That’s kind of nice. It’s nice to have a pessimistic perspective on life and then be proven right precisely because I made it happen that way. Destroying things doesn’t really require that much work. But, in the long run, the only joy you feel is the self-satisfaction that life sucks. Not so great, right?

On the other hand, I could choose to acknowledge that I held doubts about this meeting. I doubted whether it would be as good as it should be. But, I had a choice. I could choose to accept this meeting for what it was and try to maximize what value, benefit, and fun I could have with it. The meeting itself was mandatory so I couldn’t walk out without worse consequences. But, I could choose to stay open to exploring the benefits here.

And, I did have a good time. It still didn’t seem like a good meeting in terms of meeting its purpose, but I smiled and laughed and enjoyed myself. It was far better than constantly judging and being unhappy.

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