- I am upset about the fire alarm situation because I see something that is not there.
- I am worried about the state of my muscles because I see something that is not there.
- I am depressed about getting older because I see something that is not there.
- I am concerned about the future of our country because I see something that is not there.
- I am saddened by my mother’s circumstances because I see something that is not there.
Wapnick says that being upset because I see something that is not there is the same as saying what is upsetting me is within me, not outside. What I think I see is merely perceptions of illusions: the projections of thoughts that are themselves illusions. And what else can an illusion breed but further illusions?
That makes me think of Victor Frankl who was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. He and several other prisoners were lined up in a firing squad with their backs to gunmen who were picking off every 6th person. Rather than focusing on the fear of being shot by focusing on the guns shots and counting down where he fell in line, he noticed a sunset and chose to focus on that, instead. If he was to die, he’d rather die in splendor than in fear.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. ~ Victor Frankl
What this lesson says is that being upset about getting older is just as upsetting to my peace of mind as being afraid of getting shot in the back.
There are no small upsets, they are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.