Chapter Fifteen


last updated 1.24.22

"Stop" is a good thing. You're reaction to this word will tell you a lot about yourself. Does it have a positive or negative connotation to you? More often than not in our modern culture, the word usually has a negative feeling to most people because it is often associated with not getting what we want. We don't like stopping. Some people even get angry when asked to stop doing something. Driving is a good example. Hurry up and get through the intersection if the light is yellow so we don't have to stop when it turns red. If a police officer stops us on the road, that usually isn't a good thing. When we're trying to do just about anything and someone tells us to stop, it's almost always not for a good reason. The act of hurrying represents the reality that you don't like where you are and you're trying to get someplace else, and the sooner the better. From this perspective, hurrying could be an indication that you're not happy where you are in life. If a person likes where they are, they're in no rush to leave regardless of whether this is a physical place or a mental state. If you feel good somewhere, why would you want to leave? If you don't feel good where you are, you're, of course, going to want to leave and go somewhere else. To be clear, I'm not talking about prison, a concentration camp or hostage situation. Obviously, in these places, no one would want to be there, but if we are living our everyday lives and more often than not we are in a hurry, we have to ask ourselves "Why?" What are we running from? The consequences of being late? Getting yelled at by our boss? What if it's not work related? What if the person we're afraid of being yelled at is ourselves? What if the place we're in a hurry to escape is our lives or our minds?

I love the word "Stop." It brings me back to the present moment whenever I start to slip away from it and get lost in my thoughts or in the anxious completion of a task. I'm sure many of us have heard the expression "a means to an end." It represents the act of doing something in order to produce a specific result. Money is probably the most common means to an end in our world. It has no value in and of itself, but we use it to get things that we want or need. Money is the means to get the end that we want whether it's food, clothing, gas for our vehicle, a plane ticket, rent, mortgage, etc. We are, all, very susceptible of getting caught in the means to end realm of life. It's sadly how the world we've created operates and if we don't do these certain tasks for ourselves, no one else is going to. Consequently, there's no surprise that the word "Stop" has a negative connotation. The risk lies in the fact that our minds are creatures of habit. If they're constantly relied on for accomplishing a countless number of means-to-an-end tasks, their natural inclination is to perform these tasks faster and faster speeding up our lives more and more until we are almost like mindless robots. Telling them to stop is like telling them not to do their job. This is why it is vital to not have our minds in charge of our lives. Our minds are task masters. They have no idea what happiness is because happiness is not an idea. It's a place within us, not outside of us. We can't hurry to happiness. Hurrying pulls us away from it. But, if you're not happy on the inside, all you want to do is hurry someplace else.

Imagine a scenario where the person telling you to stop has your best interest and happiness in mind, even if this person is yourself, especially if it's yourself. What a world this would be. It all comes down to trust. Do you trust the means-to-an-end world you live in? If you don't, you're certainly not going to want to stop for anything because it means you won't get what you need or want and someone else might. But, if you do trust the world you're living in, stopping is a very good thing because it brings you back to this world. I trust the natural world much more than I trust the artificial one. The natural world was created by something much greater than myself. The artificial world was created by someone's mind. It's not all bad. It's not about condemning the mind or the world we've created. It's about trusting what has OUR best interest "in mind." Our hands are some of our greatest and marvelous tools. What they can do is extraordinary, but they're nothing without the direction of our minds. Our minds are even more extraordinary, but they need to be directed by something greater as well, even more so.

When I hear the word "Stop", this greater part of me is telling the smaller part of me, the worker, to listen to what it is saying. More often than not, I'll still get to do whatever it is that I want or need to do because the greater part of me has my best interest in mind. It just doesn't want me to do it mindlessly, but rather mindfully. Being mindful means you are full of something greater than just your thoughts. You are full of the infinite realm of possibilities life has for you which you cannot be open to if you are not present in your surroundings, but rather lost in your head. The more you experience this, the more you will grow to associate stopping with a gentle reassurance that you're already where you need to be. Sometimes you might start to slip off into your mind to someplace else so you just need to come back home. The task your mind and heart are charged with is creating a home, a world, where all your needs are met. Your wants in addition to your needs, on the other hand, are a very different matter and it's easy to get the two confused in a mind-made world. The real question isn't whether you are willing to stop, but whether you actually can. Can you afford to stop? Have you built a life on an unsustainable system that is mindlessly and feverishly taking more and more with no end in sight? Who is telling it to stop? If we don't stop ourselves with our own self-discipline, the inevitable reality will stop us in a much less pleasant manner. A wise person would rather be obedient to their own heart than to someone else's mind before the world reaches this point.