Get Your PhD in Subtlety…

PhD-graduate-007You know, for as much as we focus on the pursuit of our personal happiness, you’d think we would be a lot smarter in the chase. We want and want and want, yet we don’t always think. When we think, it’s sloppy and haphazard. It’s laced with expediency and self interest. We are easy prey. We grab the first offering. We listen to our thoughts as if they were outsiders and adjust ourselves accordingly. Something touches us but we are too numb to feel it. It’s subtle, oh so subtle, and we need some education to perceive it…

If you were orchestrating, even manipulating the minds of people, how would you do it? Would you approach their minds with catastrophe? Would you go for the jugular on the first try? No, you would be smarter than that, wouldn’t you? No hustler accomplishes his hustle if he tips his hand. Instead he exercises caution and leads his unsuspecting vicim along, until the time is ripe; until he’s already appealed to his victim’s selfish tendencies and base greed. Then, and only then is the ‘mark’ ripe for the score.

If life; a happy life, comes about from a contest that takes place in your mind, (your mind is the arena) then the assailant isn’t you, it’s outside of you and shows up in the form of thoughts. However, like the hustler behind it, it’s very quiet and surreptitious. It cannot show all the cards or you would awaken, startled and see the slight. Instead it’s skulks beneath in subtlety just below the surface, perceptible, yet imperceptible. It whispered to you a message and you heard it but you didn’t hear it. You were feeling good. Your were alive and vital. You were on top of the world and something changed. You questioned your sudden, inexplicable temper and your irritation level rose. Subtlety happened…

Like any art done well, we tend to be enamored by the big picture, yet fail to see the detail behind it. And, even if you peer closely, you’ll never see the drafts, the rough attempts, the entries that made it only to the garbage. Indeed, the devil is in the details because the details are where the life resides. Even one day consists of a multitude of thoughts. And amidst the thousands, which one caused you to stumble? What slippery, false prediction of the future took the wind out of your sails? What secret utterance raised your anxiety quotient and robbed you of the joy that is today? Which stealthy reminder of your past failures stole away your confidence and convinced you to settle for a mediocre existence. It’s that minuscule and it’s that grandiose!

In order to win at the game of life, you have to learn to pay attention. The world is fraught with distractions and causes you cannot affect. You spent the evening espousing racial inequality and succeeded in changing no-one. You fought for a cause that is no cause and neglected the only life you could change. In your passionate protest, you volunteered to fight the enemy, but failed to recognize the foreigner within. Your life demands your full attention both in the mundane and in the highlights. Your feelings; your built in receptors are conveying a message and you have to learn to hear it. You must learn to isolate the intruder and challenge its assertions. The peaceful life; the happy life; the exquisite life requires it!

Life itself is a frightfully short proposition. There just isn’t enough time. But, the time that is begs for control. It urges you to maximize the moment and revel in the present reality. Your joy exists right here, it says, fumbling distantly through the fog of your own making. It’s not the money or the successes or the status, it screams, it’s more simple than that. And like the flower that knows it must bud before it blossoms, it asks that you settle yourself patiently in order to master the moment. A happy life doesn’t come about from a single, glorious moment, but instead the mastery of a million moments in between. Master your moments.

Like any artist that has given themselves to their craft, you must, in humble submission, give yourself to your life. The joy of living is not a theory that eludes you but instead a reality that you already possess. And your bank balance would be very obvious to you if ever you tracked down the thieves that attempt to break through and steal…

Control, like discipline isn’t something you have to avoid. Both feel good unless they are motivated by fear. What you fail to control, controls you and the world is already full of sheep.

Cease your whining and feeling bad and complaining. Put a halt to your haphazard pursuit of the good life. Slam the brakes on the fruitless analysis of circumstances and events. Instead, put your hand firmly to the helm of thought and finally see what you never saw before. Anyone who wants to know, will know and you can bet your life on that.

So, how can you move beyond elementary school in discerning the subtlety that besets your life? You can do it by slowing down and paying attention. You achieve it by recognizing and controlling your thoughts. Your victory comes when you’ve earned your PhD in subtlety and the evil that lurks behind it.

You only have this one shot, right? You aren’t getting any younger. Wake up, get up and see what you, deep down, knew was going on all along… PhD folks; get your PhD!

Just some good thoughts…



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