Archive for February 26th, 2008

I didn’t sign up for this…Did I?

Posted on February 26, 2008. Filed under: Games, Musings, Spirituality |

We’ve all installed software on our computers. We’re familiar with the advice to read every contract before signing it, right? Yet, right before the install there is a LOT of text explaining in a LOT of detail what the “terms of use” are. I will guess that 98% of us don’t read every word of those agreements before clicking the “I accept” button. We just want to get Quest for Egyptian Treasure in the Caves of Montana our new Accounting Software installed, already, dangit! What I usually do is scroll down a few pages so the software will “think” I read it. 🙂 For some reason that makes me feel better. But, and here’s the point, I know on some level that even though I haven’t read the thing, I’m bound by the terms stated since I did, of my own free will, click that “accept” button.

Here in the WordPress . com help forum(s) I see many questions along the lines of “Why did my Blog get suspended? I’m a good person; I’m a nice person, but those despots froze me out!” The answer comes back: “Because you violated the Terms of Service“. Sometimes that’s enough to cause the blogger to actually read the terms, but often they’ll come back and say “I didn’t know this was illegal or that wasn’t permitted! They’re picking on me!”

Now I, for one, did read the WP TOS, but, I haven’t always read everything I’ve ever signed or agreed too. I see the Universe as having a terms of service agreement that we signed onto at birth (or even before—I’m not sure how these things work). And I’ve been confused, bewildered and unhappy when I receive feedback from the Universe that seems to come out of nowhere. It’s just these things we’ve agreed to, but perhaps not consciously, that cause the “glitches” in our lives, in my opinion.

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It’s bold, and for some, uncomfortable to think this way. It just doesn’t feel right to me, though, to suppose that things happen “out of the blue” for no reason. There is a wonderful book called When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Harold Kushner which I would recommend if you don’t like or agree with my point of view. In it, Rabbi Kushner states that there is indeed random evil in the world, and provides a warm and compassionate way to deal with that. He writes of experiencing the death of his young son, and being amazed by comments made to him in his grief. Some were along the lines of “Well, that’s God’s plan for you, it will make you stronger!” First of all, this is not the Rabbi’s belief, although it may be that of the person offering the “condolence”, but also even if it were true, it’s probably not what a grieving parent needs or wants to hear right away. I would never say anything like that to someone, or worse still—and I’ve heard this often—“Well, you must have attracted that into your life in some way.”

I certainly cannot be presumptuous enough to know why a person’s path goes the way it does, and while I may not see death as a “bad” thing, per se (more on that in a minute) the pain of loss and separation is very real, and I can, at the very least, offer compassion for that.

Not every culture views death as a “bad” thing, but rather as another step on the spiritual journey. This tends to be my view. I am not a person of faith, so I cannot “know” this to be the case. If I’m wrong, I suppose I’ll find out the “real deal” eventually, or I’ll never know! I’m comfortable either way. All I know is it suits me and allows my life to be more pleasurable and useful if I believe I can choose its circumstances. The “truth” in this case, pragmatist that I am, matters less to me than the joy.

So, do “bad” things happen? I believe nearly every one of us experiences events or interactions which do not give us pleasure. I have these experiences often, although not nearly as often as I used to. Once I get past the initial anger, or grief, or hurt, I can often see these occasions as real opportunities towards more growth and joy. The main thing is to not focus on what “I don’t like”. I will give myself a little time to indulge in that not-good feeling, because it actually makes me feel better to engage it rather than repress it. I also have some therapeutic and meditative tools which come in very handy at such times. It makes the most sense to me to then go on to focus on what I do like, or how things are good in my life. After all, that’s what I want more of, so it feels best to go there!

If we want to, we can edit the Terms of Service of our Lives.

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