Why the easy way is the most harmful

Fog and mountains
Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

The easy way has never worked. We know this.

When someone does something that bothers us, the easiest is to lose control, give free rein to our anger, yell, hurt, and humiliate. The hardest is to do none of that.

When we fail at something, the easiest is to see everything grey, to withdraw, to isolate, and think the worst of ourselves and others. The hardest is to do none of that.

When we have things to do, the easiest is to prioritize social media notifications. The hardest is to ignore them and focus on getting things done.

That’s how our mind works.

When seeing an opportunity to become aggressive, our mind takes it. It dives right into the abyss when sensing a chance to get depressed. When thinking about the work and effort involved in being productive, it decides not to move a finger and look for other “important” things.

Our mind prefers the easy way before doing what’s healthy

Before spiritual training, the mind will choose to do what it likes, even if it is harmful.

In severe cases, some people take drugs until they kill themselves with overdoses. In less severe cases but harmful nonetheless, some of us procrastinate and sow the seeds for more stress.

As we age, mental habits grow like weeds and permeate our inner and outer vision. Multi-level labyrinths are created, with hidden passageways and stairs that lead nowhere. Seeing our harmful conditioning would make us dizzy.

Our madness extends beyond our heads

Our minds project their “reality” outside ourselves based on traumas, narratives, ideologies, and sadistic fantasies.

Thus, anything can activate drama. Even just remembering something that has already passed can make you furious in a matter of minutes.

Ignoring these nauseating mental complications forces us to behave in unhealthy ways.

Our behavior will be harmful, dumb, aggressive, arrogant, and cowardly.

Even if you realize that your actions are wrong, if you don’t know the nature of your mind, you will never be able to act wholesomely.

You can’t hire someone else to fix you

I’m not telling you anything new. Being healthy is difficult because the work is painstaking. It’s like revising file by file to find the error causing issues in a computer.

But unlike that example, you can’t hire a professional to get inside your head and fix it. So being healthy is difficult because you have to become a pro.

You have to become your psychologist. And in Buddhist terms, you have to become an expert in cognition, perception, sensations, will, consciousness and contemplation.

The Buddha wouldn’t fix you even if he wanted to. His compassion went as far as teaching, but he never practiced the Dharma for someone else. If he had, though, he would’ve atrophied people’s ability to take responsibility for themselves.

In the Dharma, doing what feels good only isn’t good for you. So you have to do what feels good that isn’t harmful and makes you better, and do what doesn’t feel good and makes you better.

The easiest is to stay the same. The hardest will always be to change. More so if you change through Dharma.

May you prefer the hardest.