That’s a punk-ass statement and true at the same time.
Life happens. You can’t control any of it and it’s maddening and you spend most of your days angry that you can’t control things and frustrated that you didn’t control things and everything is all a mess and then there are these shootings and this pandemic and global warming and these motherfucking billionaires getting rich off everything and won’t somebody please fix all these problems? Like right now?
I get it. I’m right there with you. At any given moment, I’m pissed at all those things AND the Republicans, the Democrats, random vegans and the cyclist on the riverpath who blasted past me without a friendly “On your left” so that I would at least know he was within a few inches of my body.
We’re all a little on edge … and that’s not likely to change all that much this year. And that sucks.
Some of us felt relief when we got fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. But that high only lasts for so long. “Great, I won’t die from the virus. Next!”
And we read the news or listen to our friends who read the news and while life seems kind of boringly predictable and wildly unpredictable at the same time, we wrestle with the same reply to most things dropped in our lap: “Why?”
- Why did this happen?
- Why would someone do that?
- Why would ___ say that?
- Why would our government allow that to happen?
- And the untold number of variations of “Why?”
And every single instance, as well-intentioned as it is, might be a fruitless pursuit and continue to be so.
Because, like Bryon Katie says, “Hell is asking ‘Why?'”
- “Why?” … prolongs your pain.
- “Why?” … is not what you want to say but what is easier to ask.
- “Why?” … is the reaction you were taught.
And an answer to the question of “Why?” won’t do much other than answer your question. Whatever happened still happened. You can’t rewind the clock. Actions cannot be undone.
But What If You Stopped Asking “Why?” So Much?
Would the world stop?
- Or would life go on?
- Would you save time?
- And, most importantly, would you be free?
- Or at least more free than when you are chained in the Dungeon of Why?
“I can’t do that! I need to know why!” you might say. I can understand. I am often that same way.
But maybe you and I have been a little wrong all along. Maybe if we abandoned our quest for why and instead redirected our quest to acceptance, we could do better. Maybe “Why?” is just an ego self-indulgence that keeps us on the Treadmill to Nowhere.
“Not true,” you say. “That why will help me from letting this same thing happen again.”
Oh yeah? Every shooting that we have in America, the experts search for “motive” – the “Why?” of legal talk – when we all know why any shooting happened. Someone was pissed and they had a gun. They shot people. And we all cry.
There’s your why. It doesn’t bring a single soul back. It doesn’t dry any tears. But it keeps us stuck on the Treadmill to Nowhere.
Maybe We Can Cut Our Whys in Half
I’m not saying we need to abandon all quests for motive or all searches for why … because sometimes we do find valuable information that helps. Sometimes in medicine or the legal system or politics or sociology, we find the Why, and then we’re able to change the system for the future so that terrible acts can be prevented. Those are important uses for the Why Hunt.
But maybe, in our own lives, we get bogged down with Why and we are not studying actions for science or law. We’re just wondering why someone was shitty to us or we were shitty to someone. And maybe, half of the time, we should just forget looking for a Why. Something happened. Whatever it was, it happened and now you have to deal with the aftermath, and so do the people around you.
Stop asking why so much and start dealing. Take one step. Decide to change your ways or decide not to change your ways. Offer an apology or decide you won’t be the one apologizing anymore. Choose freedom and a fresh start. That’s okay, too. Any action is a movement past the Circle of Why.
Take a step on the path. One step. Adjust your attitude, which is all you can really control anyhow.
Then take another. You’re going to get somewhere and it just might be a better place than Why would have led you to. Let me know how it goes.