The Spirituality Of Cynicism

I’ve blogged before about me being a bit cynical at times, despite trying to live a more spiritual life. But because I believe that having a sense of humor is part of spirituality. I thought I’d list a few types of people who I’ve been cynical about. All in good humor, of course.

One is the “gym dancer.

They’re kind of funny to watch, as they dance around in front of mirrors with their headphones on listening to music that only they can hear. But if you’re not in the mood for it, they can be slightly annoying. You can’t help watching them do moves that can only be described as “made up on the spot,” and you look at them and wonder where, if ever, they learned to dance. Every gym I’ve been a member of has had one, and I’m sure yours does too.

There’s also the “indecisive food order person.

Somehow, you manage to time it just right that you have the misfortune of winding up behind one of them, and usually starving at the time I might add. You already know what you want—you’ve thinking about it all day. But you can tell right away that this person is going to take a while, so you get out your smart phone to see who liked your latest Facebook post, and try to be patient while they ask questions that are pretty much answered by the descriptions on the brightly lit menus with pictures.

Chances are they’re going to finally make a choice, and you’re going to get excited thinking it’s soon your turn, but inevitably they change their mind at the last-minute. If you’re lucky, the whole frustrating process won’t start over again. But sometimes it does.

Then there’s the “ocean view peripheral vision obstructionist.”

You picked out a great spot on the beach. Close enough to the ocean so no one sits in front of you. And just when you’re sitting there relaxed and enjoying the ocean view this person walks by with their chair and carry bag, filled with everything they’ll need for their beach adventure. For whatever reason, they always sit even nearer to the water than you and just close enough to the left or right that you can’t help but notice that they’re there.

Most of them are probably nice people, but since you’re with someone and they’re not, a reason for why they’re by themselves quickly comes to mind. It seems to take a long time for them to set their bag down, open up their beach chair, and place it on the sand. I’m guessing it’s a ritual of sorts for them to look around the beach before making a hard and fast decision like sitting your shit down where you’ve been standing for the last several minutes.

Although they, at least, usually sit down right away after “pulling the trigger” and finally placing the chair in what I’m sure has to be at just the right angle for sun, fun, and viewing, you can bet your ass that the “opening of the bag” ceremony will soon commence.

As time passes you can’t understand how they got so much stuff in that damn carry bag, including a hardcover book that seems larger than the bag itself. But at some point all you can do is hope their stay is short. Fortunately, sometimes it is.

And finally, for now at least. There’s the “loud talker.

They can also be at the beach, where I find them the most annoying, but I’m sure you’ve heard them in restaurants, lines at stores, and anytime they’re on the cell phone talking with someone. It doesn’t matter what they are talking about, but the “bragging loud talker” is more annoying and brings out the cynical side of me even more. But no matter if they are bragging or not, try being around a loud talker while you’re picking out a special birthday card for a loved one, and see if you too don’t become cynical.

I believe for those of us who are naive and over caring, we need to be cynical of people at times. I’ve allowed others that I thought were good people to fool me and temporarily hurt me emotionally. But nevertheless, being cynical for no real reason can prevent us from feeling good about ourselves, especially if we’re trying to live a spiritual life.

Perhaps it’s OK to have what I’ll call a spiritual cynicism. We know that we’re not being the best person we can be at the time, but we also know it’s not who we are.

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Overcoming Obsessive Thinking

The word obsess comes from the Latin word obsidere, one meaning of which is “to besiege.” Being someone who has, at times, obsessed over something, I can say that if we’re not careful, thoughts can besiege our minds, take us out of the present moment, and rob us of any enjoyment we might otherwise experience. In my drinking days, I often obsessed about one thing or another, and depending on what it was, I could find myself filled with such emotions as resentment, anger, self-pity, or anxiety. This was always wasted time on my part; I never looked for solutions if there was a problem. And nothing I obsessed over was ever as bad as I originally thought it was. But mostly, I simply could not stop thinking about something once it became ingrained in my thought processes.

Fortunately, I learned how to turn these types of thoughts around, so to speak. Whatever it was I started to obsess about, with practice, I was able to keep it to a minimum and eventually stop thinking about it altogether. The practice I speak of was to literally redirect my thoughts to something else, something fun, or telling myself how pointless it was to keep thinking about it. And I often talked to someone about whatever I was obsessing over. It took time to break free of obsessive thinking, but it was never as bad as the days when all I could think about was getting drunk. That obsessiveness almost always led to the same conclusion: my mind besieged with worry, distress, and often hopelessness after a night out drinking.

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I Think I’m Correct About This

“There can be times in our recovery when we focus more on what we’re doing wrong than on what we’re doing right. While it’s certainly important to find and correct the things that made us unhappy in life and with ourselves. It’s equally important to see the good things we do. Eventually, as this process continues. We find less things that need correcting. More things to be happy about. And more reasons to love ourselves.”

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Where Did The Time Go?

Our time comes. And our time goes. For me, the last several years of my life seem to have gone by way too fast. That’s why when I come across certain things that bring back memories of when I was younger, it can make me feel sad. I loved the TV show The Munsters as a kid, but I had no idea who this woman was, other than an actress who played Lily Munster. She had a long and successful career before that role, and I think she is a very beautiful woman. She passed away over 10 years ago and I didn’t think much of it until seeing this. Time marches on with or without us. And I want friends and family to have fond memories of me when I’m gone. Feeling that my life is going by too quickly helps me behave in ways that I believe will do just that.

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I’m No Superman

I can’t imagine ever drinking again. I enjoy being sober and living a spiritual life. I’ve become a good person who loves themselves and others. And I’m happy with who I am. But let me make two things clear.

I’m no superhero when it comes to living a spiritual life. And it’s not always easy being me.

There are times when my thoughts become filled with anger about one thing or another, and a small resentment can crop up. I can be somewhat cynical when it comes to certain people—a few celebrities and politicians come to mind. And I’m a man who enjoys looking at woman, although I’m careful not to stare, especially when I’m with my wife. Oh yeah. I also drop the F-Bomb sometimes and say things I wish I hadn’t.

As far as why it’s not easy being me, well that’s a little more complicated.

You would think if I’m happy with myself and enjoy life, it only stands to reason that being who I am shouldn’t be hard. But sometimes it is. Sometimes, a sudden sadness comes over me, or I feel anxious without any real reason for it.

Now I know that may not seem like a big deal, but wait, there’s more.

I’ve gone to bed in a good mood already, only to awaken the next morning feeling down or actually fearful. Dreams are sometimes the culprit and these feelings usually go away quickly. But sometimes they linger and I have to fight mentally to feel better emotionally.

Science tells us that some people have lower levels of what I like to call the happy chemicals in our brains, which I’m sure I am one of. But that doesn’t help much when I’m feeling unhappy for no reason of my making.

Fortunately, I’ve come to realize that there are going to be times when I’m not as happy as I want to be and that the way I am feeling will pass. I just wish it was easier on some days is all.

In the end I do know that living a spiritual life, which doesn’t have to be anything more than trying to be a better person than we were before, helps us to love ourselves and to be happy with who we are. And that may well be another reason I have to fight to be happy.

Truth be told, I haven’t been trying as hard as I have in the past to improve on myself—correcting my negative thoughts and behaviors.

I may not be a superhero when it comes to living a spiritual life. And it’s not always easy being me. But I can’t think of a better way to live or a better person to be.

I just need to work harder at being the person I say I am.

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