Thursday 1 March, 2001
6.05 Had to drag myself out of bed. My body ached, and the pain and tiredness tempted me to stay where I was. However, I exercised and felt much better afterwards. It has taken three days to make any sort of recovery from the weekend. The lethargy has been bad enough but the negativity was the real issue. Today I feel much better about everything. I am not as tired as I have been, I feel physically stronger and I am not torturing myself mentally with all the comparisons which have been going through my head over the last few days. In a way, the comparisons seem to have been occurring at a background level – gnawing away at me without me realising. There were clearly times when I was consciously deliberating over the differences between me and my friends, but even when I caught myself and tried to stop comparing, there seemed no respite from the trickle of negative feelings which occupied me day and night. Comparisons really do cause me problems.
The men’s group started with one of the group’s successful solution to his 7-month problem at work. His employers gave him what he wanted. It was an anticlimax for him because he had anticipated more of a struggle and a possible fight. The lesson for us all was that despite all the hurdles which had hampered his progress in this process, he has always been resolute. He had made his decision and he stuck to it no matter what, and because of this the universe was able to go to work, and he was rewarded. Furthermore, despite his thoughts and apprehensions about the meeting with his employees, nothing happened and he got his way.
This led on to the subject of fantasies. We create a (negative) fantasy in our minds that something will go wrong, or be awkward, or difficult, but what actually happens is something very different (or nothing at all). Every man in the group went on to give an instance of how they themselves had also created fantasies which had caused them untold amounts of worry and stress but which in the end – and this was the case with every example – it had all amounted to nothing. As George stressed – nothing ever happens. We talked about the power of verbalisation. Just talking about them or talking them through, either with someone else or just with ourselves, can be enough to release them.
The key to life seems to be to relax and not take things so seriously – moreover, it is vitally important that I don’t take myself seriously. As Karaj said tonight – the more seriously I take myself, the more difficult it is to observe others. If I am not worried about myself and what I am doing and how I appear to others, then I am better able to observe other people. He added, however, that the most important thing of all is to observe myself. Before I can understand what is going on around me I need to define myself as a reference point – I need to understand myself and know who I am. Only when I know myself can I know others. So, relax, have some fun with myself, play around with life, do things I’d never imagine doing, lighten up, don’t take anything seriously, and feel the sensations.