I read and hear people say how we learn the most from painful experiences. I use to buy into this way of thinking until one day I read, I believe it was Abraham-Hicks, how we choose to learn from pain but we could just as easily learn from joy. Reading this caused me to stop and think very critically about this statement. I believe this was my first introduction to Abraham-Hicks and I spent a good hour listening to several YouTube videos after reading about learning from joy.
I’ve been told how hard life is and how people are out to hurt me or harm me. I know, as a child, I did not believe this to be true which is why people had to spend so much time telling me this was true. I don’t know any children who think the world is a hurtful and harming place; usually kids before the age of 5 or 6 years of age. But the prevalence of the message about a hurtful and harmful world is widespread. We obviously have to be taught this message, so what if the message is false. What if we had it right when we were young and the world is a very safe and wonderful place? I’m not ignoring that terrible things happen to people. Usually the people who do terrible things have had terrible things done to them so I believe they hurt others for a short lived diversion from their pain. I think hurt people hurt others because, for a small moment in time, they want the other person to understand how much they hurt.
After reading about learning from joy, I did not immediately jump on the bandwagon. I wanted to but the training was firmly in place so pain remained the choice I made by default. The choice was made in my thinking rather than as physical choice. In order to learn from joy I had to change how I thought, how I viewed the world. I had to return to the thinking of my childhood and find the wonder in everything around me. After years of training to look for the bad, or potential bad, it takes effort to change the way my mind sees the world and to look for what is right instead of what is wrong. I go the grocery store, they don’t have the juice I drink. My default setting is, “Aw, man, that sucks.” Instead, I have begun trying other options, seeing what else out there is as wonderful as the juice I normally buy. It’s hard to not feel the disappointment but disappointment is not pain. I am willing to see the opportunities that await me when my default choice is unavailable.
When looking at my disappointments, I have begun noticing how often I have a set way of doing things. I don’t even think about many of the things I do every day because they have become habits. They no longer cause me joy because they are habits and I no longer notice them. Since embracing the opportunities available, when my habit is unavailable, I have begun to notice more joy in my life. My brain is more engaged in what I’m doing; I feel more awake, a little more alive. I’ve read that one way to avoid Alzheimer’s is to engage your brain in new activities so it is constantly creating new connections. What easier way to do this than to change my habits on a daily basis? Changing my habits keeps me from walking through my life without thinking; I can see where not using my brain could cause it to quit working for me.
Joy doesn’t have to be a big event. It can be little things that happen throughout the day. When we were children, everything was a big event because we were so busy learning. Let’s choose to live our lives with the outlook everything is amazing! Let’s choose joy over pain. Pain will come but we don’t have to let it stop our lives and become an event, we can choose to learn and look for our next joyous adventure.