Dagdha's Blog

Cogitati

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on July 25, 2009

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

– William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”

As an Elizabethan player and playwright, I’m fairly certain that good old Bill never read much Taoist philosophy, but this line from Hamlet is very much in tune with one of its key principles.

In my own experiences, my biggest source of unhappiness has always been my difficulty in accepting things the way they are.  When I judge something as good or bad, or start to wish for something different, I begin to dwell on those judgements and wishes rather than simply accepting what is and moving on from there.

A recent example would be my rejection from graduate schools – all of them.  I tried my damnedest to build a curriculum vitae worthy of an Ivy League acceptance into a doctoral program for archaeology, but in the end I didn’t even get accepted to state schools.  I judged each rejection as a direct measure of my self worth and ended up depressed for months.  I look back now though, and I realize that my life would be drastically different had I been accepted by one of those schools, and for the most part I’m very happy with my current situation.

Unfortunately the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry – it’s the way the world works.  No amount of planning, preparation, caution or wishing can change this unequivocal fact.  The only thing that can really be done when something goes wrong is to accept it and try to understand it – simply as it is.  And sometimes there is no explanation.

In no way am I making the assertion that things cannot be changed, but I firmly believe that change has to come from a desire to learn and grow, not from the inability to accept things the way they are.  I thoroughly enjoy change, but it only ever works in my favor when it stems from a desire to better myself.

Much has changed in my life recently, and for a while it was a very welcome change.  I found that I was happier than I’d been in years and the world seemed a more colorful place, like Dorothy’s departure from Kansas into the world of Oz.  I woke up every day with a smile regardless of my impending need to go and work for the wicked witch of the west.  As soon as I started to over-think my situation, however, I began to wake from my colorful dream and ended back in Kansas.

It’s my nature – and I think human nature – to wish that things were different when something doesn’t go my way, but I find that I am happiest when I go with the flow.

Perhaps Shakespeare loved to write because it gave him control over what happened in his plays, but the theater only takes place on a stage, and even then, I doubt he knew how most his plays would end when he sat down and began to write.

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