Archive for the ‘denial’ Category

public relations

March 8, 2020

You torture your kids
You terrorize your wife
But you’re a
Wonderful man
In your fantasy life

Life isn’t public relations
You can’t erase the hurt
With a well-written statement

Nobody believes
Your silly façade
Not your friends
Not your family
Not even your dog

Life isn’t public relations
Are you fake and insincere
From birth to cremation?

By Richard W. Bray

Neurosis is My Superpower

December 1, 2018

Have you tried
Covering your ears
Closing both your eyes
Ignoring life for years
Repeating soothing lies?

Neurosis is my superpower
So long as I don’t leave the tower

Have you tried
Talk, talk, talking
About everyone you know?
Make it super shocking
And never stop the show

Neurosis is my superpower
Spreading bullshit sweet and sour

Have you tried
Rewiring all the neurons
Dashing through your head?
Tell yourself you’re pure in
The things you did and said

Neurosis is my superpower
Eating lies and shitting flowers

By Richard W. Bray

someone to blame

November 11, 2018

Your life is full of pain
Things you can’t explain
You find someone to blame
So every problem is the same

You’re a little bit neurotic
And your ego’s really weak
You’re a scared little lamb
And a fixating geek

Thinking hurts your head
Everything turns red
You focus your frustration
On a person or a nation

You’re a little bit neurotic
And your ego’s really weak
You’re a scared little lamb
And a fixating geek

Will quiet desperation
Explode in devastation?
Will you drive yourself insane
Hiding from the pain?

You’re a little bit neurotic
And your ego’s really weak
You’re a scared little lamb
And a fixating geek

by Richard W. Bray

hang dang dibble

November 3, 2018

I could be a little bitch
But I’d rather be a man
Ain’t gonna let no woman
Tell me who I am

Don’t know hang dang dibble
And I don’t really care
How she’s looking tonight
Or the way she cuts her hair

I’m gonna have another beer
I’m gonna play it where it lays
Till it all disappears
In a honey-colored haze

Don’t know hang dang dibble
And I don’t really care
If she found another lover
To take her everywhere

Don’t matter that she loved me
Like nobody ever did
Won’t get hung up on a feeling
Like a stupid little kid

Don’t know hang dang dibble
And I don’t really care
Living in the past
Won’t never get you anywhere

By Richard W. Bray

Stinky Thinky Said

August 25, 2018

Stinky Thinky said:
Why did God create me?
Everything is wrong
The universe must hate me

Stinky Thinky said:
She asked me for my name
She probably wants my money
Or maybe she’s insane

Stinky Thinky said:
There’s a spot on my skin
I’m probably gonna die
I’m calling all my kin

Stinky Thinky said:
I’m looking out for you
I don’t tell you things
Cuz it makes you so blue

Stinky Thinky said:
Life is such a shame
So much evil in the world
I take all the blame

Stinky Thinky hides
From all of his actions
By creating a storm
Of noise and distraction

by Richard W. Bray

Sanity Hacks

April 28, 2018

Listen to Your Fixations

Actively listening to the words you tell yourself inside your head is called metacognition. It’s the first step in stilling your mind and figuring out who you really are. This can be very frightening and very painful, but it’s worth it.

It’s a lot more fun to think about other people’s problems than it is to think about our own. That’s why we do it all the time. But fixating on other people’s lives is a colossal waste of time and effort.

What’s going on inside our heads when we fixate on people? Usually, it’s one of these three things:

1) Jealousy
2) Something about their life or their behavior makes you feel insecure
3) They’re exhibiting some trait that you recognize in yourself and that makes you uncomfortable.

Listening to your fixations and looking inward for their causes can teach you more about yourself than you ever wanted to know. But it’s worth it if you want to live your own life.

Don’t Expect Life to be Fair

We are complex social organisms and our intense preoccupation with fairness is an essential aspect of our biological makeup. This trait is even observable in other social organisms.

Life isn’t fair. And you can drive yourself crazy fixating on how everybody else deserves to be punished for not being as righteous as you are. But it’s a colossal waste of time and effort and it won’t get you anywhere.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be held accountable for the things we do. We need to have rules and laws and courts and judges for society to function. And we need to be vigilant in our efforts to make these institutions function as fairly as humanely possible.

But don’t fritter away your precious time on Earth fixating on the great unfairness of it all. That will only make you miserable.

Live Your Own Life

When I hear myself thinking about what other people should or shouldn’t be doing, I try to quell my overactive mind by repeating this mantra:

Mind my own business. Live my own life.

This happens several times a day. Unfortunately, fixating on what other people are doing and assessing the rightness or wrongness of their behavior is a natural part of being human. But so are jealousy and hatred. That doesn’t mean they’re good for us.

We can’t prevent ourselves from wanting to regulate other people’s lives, but we can monitor our thinking and try to focus on our own behavior as much as possible.

Don’t Let Resentment Rule Your Life

Some clichés are really helpful and this bit of folk wisdom is invaluable:

Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Even if you have a legitimate gripe with the person you resent, your resentment is your own issue. Unless magic and voodoo dolls actually work, there’s no way your resentment is going to change the world. It’s just going to make your spirit ill.

Work to make the world a better place and spread as much love as you can. You can also go to yoga class and try to breathe your resentment away. It helps.

by Richard W. Bray

When you live a big lie

March 24, 2018

I lived a big lie
I was afraid of myself
Spent my time thinking
About everybody else

When you live a big lie
The little ones will follow
Till your brain short-circuits
And your insides are hollow

I couldn’t take your love
Too much beauty and truth
I blamed it all on you
And I squandered my youth

When you live a big lie
The little ones will follow
Till your brain short-circuits
And your insides are hollow

I’m rebuilding myself
Feeling better every day
Maybe we can get
A cup of coffee someday

When you live a big lie
The little ones will follow
Till your brain short-circuits
And your insides are hollow

by Richard W. Bray

Judgement Machines

February 4, 2018

From natural selection’s point of view, the whole point of perception is to process information that has relevance to the organism’s Darwinian interests — that is, to its chances of getting its genes spread. And organisms register this relevance by assigning positive or negative values to the perceived information. We are designed to judge things and to encode those judgements in feeling.

Robert Wright, Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Enlightenment

Like any paradigm, evolutionary psychology is an extreme oversimplification of our multifarious existence. Even if we accept the premise that human beings are shaped by evolutionary pressure, which I do, it does not automatically follow that everything we are is the direct result of “natural selection.” Many mutations and alterations in our genes are merely coincidental.

If, for example, a parrot with an efficient nutshell-crushing beak happens also to be blue, its descendants are likely to be blue despite the fact that their blueness does not foster their success like that marvelous beak does.

Human beings are not “designed” by evolution; we’re the product of happenstance. And nobody can say for certain what the “whole point of perception” is. But you needn’t be a natural selection determinist to appreciate Wright’s picture of human consciousness.

The Difference Between Berry and Toadstool

Wright is certainly correct to say that human beings automatically assign “positive or negative values” to “perceived information.” Every thought we have is wrapped inside a feeling. These feelings often had the benefit of keeping our Hunting Fathers alive long enough to pass along their DNA. That’s how we got here.

Determining the difference between berry and toadstool, lamb and lion, or friend and foe is an essential survival skill. Our ancestors survived and prospered thanks to the happy associations they made with the delicious berries that sustained them and the painful associations they made with frightening beasts that killed their friends and relatives.

The Old, Old Tale of Narcicussus

It’s natural for human beings to constantly analyze and reevaluate the world we live in. And, as social organisms, we evaluate ourselves in relation to others. That’s why we’re forever recalibrating our opinions of one another.

How we feel about others is a function of how they make us feel about ourselves. The world is our mirror, as W.H. Auden notes:

A friend is the old, old tale of narcissus.

Severing how we feel about others from how we feel about ourselves is not possible  we don’t exist in a vacuum. But we can examine our natural tendency to “judge things and to encode those judgement in feeling.”

Jesus commands: “Judge not.” But judgement-free perception simply isn’t possible. What we can do is listen to our thoughts and examine the feelings that ignite them.

Avoiding Misery and Masochism

Don’t squander your precious time on Earth trying to figure out who deserves to be happy. There’s always going to be people you can point to as undeserving of the gifts life has bestowed upon them. Should it really be your task in life to figure out who’s to bless and who’s to blame? By fixating on the unfairness of it all, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of misery and masochism.

I’m not suggesting that we should accept the world the way it is. On the contrary, fighting injustice and trying to make the world a better place is one of the best ways to find meaning in this crazy old world.

 

by Richard W. Bray

Fixating Fixater

January 20, 2018

Fixating fixater
Frightened of yourself
Never stop talking
About everybody else

Fixating Fixater
Hanging by a thread
Neurotic fabrications
Stuck inside your head

Fixating fixater
Yackity yap yap
Pointing all your fingers
And talking loads of crap

Fixating fixater
Hiding from the pain
Take a slow breath
And look inside your brain

by Richard W. Bray

Listening to Yourself

January 14, 2018

Metacognition

Metacognition means thinking about thinking. You can do this by listening to the words you say aloud, and more importantly, by listening to the words you silently tell yourself. That’s where the real action is — inside your head.

Self-awareness begins by examining the words and phrases your mind creates and then asking yourself if it would make sense for someone in your position to say such a thing.

Phrases to Watch Out For

Any sentence that begins with the words “I don’t care” is probably a lie you’re telling yourself to protect your feelings. Here are some examples of the types of ego-preserving lies we tell ourselves and one another all the time:

I don’t care that dad abandoned us when I was four.”

“I don’t care who she’s going out with.”

“I really don’t care if he ever loved me or not.”

Here’s another example: Whenever you hear yourself say, “He’s just_______,” “She’s just_________,” or “It’s just________,” it’s probably because someone or something has hurt you and made you feel bad about yourself. And now you want to diminish someone or something to make the hurt go away. It never works, but our brains are designed to do it anyway.

For example: Let’s say that Walter is bragging to the guys about his hot date with Gladys. Poor Alex secretly adores Gladys, but he never quite got up the nerve to ask her out. Now his brain is cascaded with defensive outrage and denial:

“Walter is just a stupid, arrogant, spoiled asshole.”

“She doesn’t really like him. She’s just going out with him because he’s tall, good-looking, and his parents are rich.”

“She’s just a dumb little bitch for going out with that guy”

We Think by Feeling

We often talk about thoughts and feelings as though they were in competition with one another. “Don’t let your feelings get in the way of your decision,” is a common refrain. But there is no such battle occurring in our souls between thinking and feeling. Thoughts and feelings are inseparable. Thoughts don’t exist in opposition to feelings — thoughts are better understood as the residue of feelings. “We think by feeling,” is how the great American poet Theodore Roethke put it. This observation has been confirmed by a whole body of modern brain research.

Scottish philosopher David Hume figured this all out over two hundred years ago without the benefit modern fMRI machines that tell us which parts of the brain are involved in the decision-making process. Hume was one seriously smart and reflective dude.

The Unexamined Life

Socrates said that the unexamined life isn’t worth living, but it’s also been noted that ignorance is bliss. So what should you do? Who knows? Metacognition is both painful and enlightening. The question is: Can you handle the truth?

By Richard W. Bray