What was your first thought when you woke up this morning? For me, that first thought was, “OUCH!” After an uncomfortable night spent trying to coax my two year old into letting me have my fair share of our mattress, my spine could have passed for a pretzel.
I pulled on some sweatpants and gave myself permission to take it easy, but soon two episodes of my favorite binge watching show became three, one cup of coffee became two, and my list of reasons as to why my self-pity was perfectly justifiable became ever longer.
My spirit grumbled, “Of course I feel terrible right when I have a mile-long To Do list and an upcoming deadline. Of course my son chose today to be messier and louder than usual, and my husband is working late and needs a ride home, so they not only cannot help me, but demand my help!”
Later, while laying in bed willing myself to get up, a thought struck: Is everything really as terrible as I perceive it to be? Or is some inner battle coloring my perception? In that moment, I finally acknowledged something that I had been long avoiding: I am a pity-holic.
It happens to many of us at some point: we hover around like a heavy fog, perceiving minor setbacks to be the universe’s personal vendetta against us. We do it because we desire love and appreciation for all the hard work we do, but instead of asking clearly for those things, we seek to be pitied. It feels good in the moment, but the more we engage in it, the harder it is to exist from a place of true joy.
On difficult days, we wish we could hit a Reset button to “restore default settings” on our spirit, and get back to living with happiness. Guess what? It’s more attainable than we think.
Our Divine Design
The first page of the Divine Principle describes an actual default setting we’ve had all along:
“People feel joy when their desires are fulfilled. The word “desire,” however, is often not understood in its original sense, because presently our desires tend to pursue evil rather than good. The original mind is well aware that such desires lead to misfortune. Therefore, it repels evil desires and strives to follow the good.”
The “original mind” mentioned is precisely the sort of Default Setting we yearn for. It may sound similar to our conscience, but it differs in that, while our conscience is our personally constructed understanding of what is right and wrong, the original mind is the universal moral code deeply rooted in the soul of all humanity since our creation. So, how do we connect to it?
In the End, It’s a Matter of Choice!
Father Moon explains that the original mind is given to us by God as the best way to experience a truly fulfilled life, but unlike the way we humans program a machine, God also gives us the power of free choice. We choose for ourselves the emotional settings with which we function. No one else, not even God, can make that choice for us.
When we fall into the cycle of self-pity, we warp the healthy, original mind-driven practice of self-care into something destructive – not only to ourselves, but to those around us. Deep down, we know that our choice is not bringing us what we seek – that’s the original mind prompting us to recall the way we originally intended to live. When we choose instead to examine our current internal “settings” and bring them closer to their original state, we give our day a reboot – though our circumstances may remain challenging, our attitude towards them changes, and that makes all the difference!
Self-check: What’s Your Current Setting?
Wondering what your current “setting” might be? Try asking yourself some of these questions:
-On an average day, what do you first think about when you wake up?
-When something inconveniences you, does it bug you all day long?
-Do you find yourself reacting, or responding, to what life throws at you? (There’s a key difference!)
-Do you believe our emotions are something we can control?