14 April 2008


I have to recommend Greta Christina's article complaining about the phrase "Everything happens for a reason." I have a somewhat different take on it, but I definitely see where she's coming from. My version would be "Everything that happens has meaning." I prefer this because it does not have the same implication of a grand design. It also need not apply to everyone in the same way. And an event that has meaning to one person may be meaningless to another.

Perhaps more importantly, it avoids the passivity of "Everything happens for a reason." The meaning of an event may not be obvious. It's up to you to find it. It's all the more crucial because failing to find it means that you may miss something further down the line. Looked at this way, "Everything has meaning" is a prescription for paying attention to the things that happen to you. Are some bad events your own fault? There's a lesson in them. Are they unavoidable? Then learn from your own reaction to them. Is a good event because of something you did? Figure out what it was you did!

With this attitude in mind, it could also be phrased "It is possible to learn from everything that happens." Maybe not from the event itself, particularly if it's an event we have no control over, but from our reactions to it and from the way people around us deal with it. It's also important to acknowledge that the event happened. We can't learn from an event if we're in denial about it. As Greta Christina points out, however, we can't learn from it if we assume we never have any control over it, either.

1 comment:

kootzie said...

Thank you for this - both for the awareness of GC's article and your response.

I'm not sure yet exactly I will apply these wisdae, but I recognize in myself the tendency toward the passive "that's the way things are", or increasingly "that's the way I am" as I release expectations that things external ought to be different.

Currently investigating my possible depression, I entered the thought loop "Am I depressed because I'm doing a crappy job of life, or am I doing a crappy job of life because I'm depressed ?"

Am I actually depressed, or is this a clever dodge to keep me further distracted from what I supposedly already know I need to be doing in life but honestly (as honest as my meatsackself can be) dont have a clue what that is ?

So, if I don't know, I need to find out aka learn... I can learn all kinds of external stuff, but when it comes to the inner game, it
has been pretty slim pickin's
Well, OK, I come up with "Gratitude is Good." occasionally, yet struggle to consistently practice its expression. OK, so why is that ?

I'm always amazed when people can drill down and find some rock in their belief_system_shoe and shake it out and be done with it. Me - I poke around in there for a while, but usually, when time's up, put it down to "yet another way I'm a schmuck" which is a variant of "EHFaR".

Another variant of EHFaR is karma.
Last night, a friend was describing the details of the percentages of how much of our life is determined by our current actions vs karma-carryforward... I can't relate to that level of intricacy, but, if true, it's daunting to realize that even if I were to get my shit together and do all the right stuff for all the right reasons, (and finally start keeping a gratitude journal and clean up my whole house), and like that, there could be so many karmic rocks in my pockets that I better get the equanimity act down and swim hard...

Thank you for your part in shining some awareness on this; I resolve to be more actively engaged in my life