Over the years I have developed a little tool that has helped me to keep my perspective. Whenever I get enmeshed in a “problem” I pull out this little test and it helps me to see things much more clearly. Let me share this little test with you.
We get so caught up in things
When we get out of the moment we are very easily swept up by our fears, worries, and doubts. When this happens we lose perspective and become governed by those fears and doubts.
When we are governed by the fears and doubts we start a downward spiral of emotion. This spiral almost always leads to some form of unhappiness. We are so tangled up in our own thoughts that we cannot see our way back to happiness. When we can no longer see our way back to happiness the bottom of our world drops out and we become very unhappy.
Here is a technique that I have used to break this cycle.
The 100 mile test
I used to get very unhappy and very depressed. I would start to take everything so seriously (after all, I was a serious person) and be appropriately grim and businesslike. I thought this was the way I was supposed to live my life.
One of the drawbacks from living like this was that I could not handle “problems” very well. The least little thing that did not go the way I wanted it to go would send me into my spiral of fear and self doubt. That downward spiral never had a happy ending.
One day as this spiral started for the gazillionth time, I found myself looking down at the planet from about 100 miles above where my body was standing. I thought to myself that this was kinda weird, but I was getting somewhat used to weird things happening on my spiritual path.
As I looked down from this 100 mile perspective I realized that whatever my false self was caught up in was really not that important. I realized that from 100 miles up there was not that much that made a difference. If it was not that important, why should I bother worrying about it?
Some people describe this as an “Aha” moment. I guess it was. However, it made perfect sense to me. If the thing that I was worrying about did not make a difference when viewed from 100 miles above, why was I literally destroying myself about it?
This revelation had a very calming effect on me. I realized that when viewed from this perspective there are very few things that are that important. It was almost as if scales had fallen from my eyes and I could finally start to see the things that were truly important.
OK – that last little bit might be somewhat dramatic, but not very much. I truly felt that I had a way to help prioritize the things that are important to my life.
The 100 year test
You are all a bunch of very smart people. You should be able to figure out this next one.
As I thought about this idea of inserting distance into my perspective to determine which things are important, I came across the idea of inserting time in a similar manner. I realized that I could also insert a timeframe of 100 years into my worrying and achieve a similar result.
Thus the 100 year test came into being. If what I am worrying about will be of no importance in 100 years then there is no reason for me to worry about it now. Why worry so much about trivial matters when in 100 years it will not make a difference to anyone?
This is not to say that we adopt a lackadaisical approach to what we do. We always do everything to the maximum of our ability. We always strive to do the best job we can at whatever we choose to do. This 100 year test is saying that we must learn how to keep our perspective of the relative importance of what we are doing.
False self tends to perceive dire consequences if we fail. True self tends to stand back and realize that “failure” contains valuable information. Properly used this information can lead us to success the next time around. True self tends to look at things from the 100 year perspective and not care that much about the dire consequences that false self is so afraid of.
The 100 mile 100 year test
So here it is stated in its entirety:
If whatever I am worrying about makes no difference to the world when I view it from 100 miles up, then it is not worth worrying about. If in 100 years that same thing will make no real difference to anyone, it also not worth worrying about.
I hope this little technique will become as powerful for you as it has become for me. We all worry way too much about very inconsequential things. Let’s all learn to stop worrying and be happy. Hhmm… if only someone would write a song about that. Don’t worry, be happy. That’s a catchy name for a song.
That is all for today. Don’t worry – be happy!
Until tomorrow –
Es kava turen hai
We work towards an identical goal.
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