Sunday Sermon [Simplicity]

Hola mi gente,
Yeah, it’s winter here in the land of the snow, but I still prefer to live here than in whatever Armpit, USA you live. LOL


For every complex problem, there is a simple solution that doesn’t work.
— H. L. Mencken


I was recently reminded of the story of the man who kept constantly snapping his fingers. When someone asked him why he did this, he answered, “Well, to keep the snakes away, of course.” When it was pointed out to him that there weren’t any snakes in their city, the man said, “You see how well it works?”

You might laugh, but this kind of fallacious thinking happens all the time. This is the kind of logic that often guides the search for simple solutions — until we finally roll up our sleeves and do the actual work. You find this frame of mind to be true of those who champion positive thinking or prosperity spirituality. The truth remains that using techniques to change our beliefs, fix our feelings, banish self-doubt, quiet the mind, think only positive thoughts, or attract whatever or whomever we desire, represents simple solutions that don’t work. Visualizing money will not magically attract it unless I act as much as I focus. I also have a problem with spirituality that is grounded on getting and hoarding material things. As far as I’m concerned that’s the opposite of the spiritual life.

Whenever I ask a group of people how many have read books on positive thinking, many hands go up. When I ask them to keep their hands up if they have had only positive thoughts in the last week, all the hands disappear. How many of us who visualize positive outcomes, listen to subliminal tapes, or affirm out the ass, actually realize the desired results?

::blank stare::

Besides, as I have been writing about for years now, there’s a tremendous amount of potential in “negativity” or negative thoughts. Negative thoughts can act as motivating factors in success and there’s a wealth of knowledge and experiential lessons to be gleaned from them and our failures. Believe me, I just went through a year and a half of some of the most challenging circumstances, and using negative “energy” was a huge factor in keeping my sanity.

The truth is that there is no way to keep our emotions or thoughts positive because we have no direct control over arising feelings or thoughts. In actuality, much of our suffering is rooted in the false belief of control. In any case, in the real world, people who transcend their situations are not fixated on changing their feelings, manipulating thoughts. They are focused on doing what needs to be done, and doing it regardless of whatever feelings may arise. Of course, this does not mean repressing or denying our feelings or thoughts. In fact, I value my thoughts and emotions as I would a beloved child: I value, honor, listen to, and learn from him, but I don’t let them take over the house.

Simplicity has power, no doubt, and grounding our lives on constructive, positive behavior is the simplest and most powerful approach I have known. However, simple doesn’t mean easy. On the contrary, the techniques proposed by many motivational speakers appear easy on paper, but are as complex and fascinating as they are unworkable. And when we try these techniques and fail to get our desired outcomes, we assume we didn’t do them right or applied ourselves enough and enter the madness of continuing to do the same actions and expecting different results.

Yes, simplicity has power. But what can be simpler than just doing it?

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

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