• Don’t Ask Why

    Posted on January 6, 2012 by in Shortcuts

    Why?
    Why do I do this?
    Why don’t I do what I should be doing?
    Why am I resisting?
    Why am I procrastinating?

    Why do I have these characteristics, behaviors, habits, patterns, issues?
    Why did I make that mistake again?

    Why?

    The truth is we might never know why we do what we do.  We may never know why we behave in certain ways.  We can likely come up with a pretty big handful of reasons, but may never be able to pinpoint the reason.  And, let’s face it.  We’re looking for the reason.  We think that once we’re able to figure out why, we’ll be able to stop engaging the behavior.

    Once in a while, we can hinge upon the reason.  Usually it’s a whopper.  Usually, it’s also true.  The dangerous thing about whopping reasons is that they tend to take over.  Soon, everything about us that’s in need of healing can be pinned on X–whether it’s self care or being perpetually late or hating chocolate ice-cream.  “It’s because of X.”  And, there may be some truth there.  But, it’s a truth which keeps us from taking responsibility for ourselves and the people we are trying to become.

    If we’re waiting to learn, “Why,” we likely have a long wait.  While we’re waiting, we continue to engage the negative behaviors, attitudes, assumptions, actions and patterns we’ve always engaged in.  “Why,” keeps us stuck.

    Little kids ask why.  A lot.  Spend any amount of time with a two or three year old and they’ll want to know, “Why?”

    Give them an answer and they’ll ask the same question again.  “Why,” leads to more “why” like a broken (stuck) record until the exasperated adult cries, “Because that’s the way it is!” Or, if they’re really honest adults, they might say, “I don’t know.”

    If we are engaging the question “why” in our spiritual practice and personal development, the response “Because that’s the way it is,” or, “I don’t know,” are great answers which quiet the insistent, petulant questioning of the child/wild within us.  These answers also let the adult/talking part of us off the hook–we need no longer engage in the game.  We can move toward working on creative solutions.

    Old style companies and big bureaucracies spend a lot of time and money (energy) investigating why things went wrong.  Newer, innovative companies wisely invest that energy in generating and implementing solutions.  Here’s the thing:  If you try something new and it doesn’t work, you’re really no worse off than you were at the start.  Try something else!  Try until you find the thing (practice, prayer, therapist, program) that does work.  I promise, it’s a lot more efficient than searching for all the reasons why we need healing in the first place.

    Think about it.  Think about all the things we have to do in a day that don’t need an answer to the Why question.  We don’t ask why we need to sweep the floor.  If it’s dirty, we do something about it.  We don’t ask why we caught a cold.  We drink tea, give ourselves rest and try to get better.

    “Why” doesn’t move us forward.  It draws us back to the past and keeps us stuck in our patterns.  While we’re stuck, we’re usually not being very nice to ourselves.  In fact, the self-abuse which arises while waiting for reasons is horrific.

    Don’t ask why.  Instead, ask, “What can I do about this?”  Find a solution.  Make a decision.  Take action.  Make the change.  If you don’t have the tools (practices and support) to bring yourself through, make a decision to get them!

    But, don’t fall into the trap of asking, “Why did it take me so long?”  Instead, be grateful.  Be proud.  Move forward.

    __

    It feels important to acknowledge that this post might feel like some harsh medicine.  There’s a lot to take in.  I haven’t left a lot of wiggle room.  That’s my way.  It’s not my job to stroke you and make you feel better (short term treatment of symptoms).  I want you to be better so you can do the same for others.  Consider this little addendum the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down.

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