Welcome ELSA with Love

“The Four Noble Truths are pragmatic rather than dogmatic. They suggest a course of action to be followed rather than a set of dogmas to be believed. The four truths are prescriptions for behavior rather than descriptions of reality.” – Stephen Batchelor

Allow me to introduce you to a faithful companion of mine. She is a genetic mixture between an algorithm and a lotus flower. By no means is she a real person but she certainly helps me to remain real. ELSA happens to be my chosen alternative to the religious conception of The Four Noble Truths and by far a more practical day to day approach to accepting life on life’s terms. Here resides her attributes from root to stem:

1) Embrace suffering. 2) Let reactivity go. 3) See reactivity end. 4) Act appropriately.

To embrace suffering implies making the effort to understand its cause. If you have a pain in your arse it would be helpful to know how it got there. Perhaps you bumped it against the wall during sleep or your partner was being kinky behind your back. By recognizing what begot the suffering, you then have the advantage of removing the source; in the event that you don’t have the means to remove it altogether then you may still have the option to mitigate its intensity.

Either way we need to be careful about worsening our suffering through ignorance and/or desperate acts. God forbid you end up all by your lonesome pretending the bedpost to be something other than what it really is! Now should you get drunk in order to avoid feeling the absurdity of your predicament, then it will likely be a lot more unbearable the next day with a hangover on top of it.

Reacting implies behaving in ways that contradict our freedom to move unobstructed in our environment. We give the other driver the finger when they cut in front of us on the highway; in turn, encouraging them to linger in front of your vehicle for the remainder of your transit. Now both of you are reacting and impeding upon one another’s freedom! Reacting to things seems to have a way of not only wasting our time, it can also attract additional as well as unnecessary distress.

So how do we create alternative approaches to reactive behavior? Perhaps we can begin by envisioning ourselves performing in a more appropriate manner instead. Taking response-ability for our actions/choices, rather than acting impulsively, consists of learning new ways of being in and perceiving the world about us. Better to remove the sting of a bee, rather than get all bent out of shape because someone left the window open in the back of the car, which could also indicate why the driver cut in front of you; therefore, it may do us a world of good if we fostered a little more compassion in view to empathizing with others. Welcome ELSA with love.


About Philosopher Muse

An explorer of volition and soul, a song under a night sky and a dream that forever yearns to be.
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9 Responses to Welcome ELSA with Love

  1. Your bee analogy works so well. Okay, the bee flew in the open window but why stress about that, just remove the problem and deal with that. It’s so easy to blow things up out of proportion. Road rage for example is terrifying to witness and I imagine nothing to do with the person being abused or chased. Blessings always, Deborah.

    • Thank you Deborah! The bee analogy was a play on the Buddhist notion of getting pierced by an arrow and rather than removing it the victim wants to know all sorts of unnecessary stuff about the assailant before he agrees to remove it. What do you suppose Jung would say about all this from a psychological perspective?

      • Hmm, from a psychological perspective, I would imagine there’s a lot of projection of one’s shadow going on. It’s funny you should mention Jung because I often wonder what he would make of social media and the like button. I guess the answer is we’ll never really know but it sure does make you wonder.

      • Shadow projection can play a part in this scenario indeed. Now as to the nature of suffering and how we humans perpetuate it, Jung would have been familiar with the notion of Samsara. How do you suppose this kind conception would have helped him to make sense of distress in general?

        Re: Make of social media and the like button.

        It probably would of made his research a lot easier, assuming he had others helping him to navigate the web.

        As an INTJ, Jung, I would suspect, would prefer to change the ‘like button’ to a symbol that represents that I read your article and please wait for the pending review. But as an INFJ, I allow he would of been ok with others having the freedom to express their preferences in such a manner.

      • No answers here I’m afraid but you’ve given us lots to muse on. I love the idea of changing the Like Button into a symbol. It’s interesting as when I first used a computer nearly 20 years ago, I used to call Google “the Oracle” because it knew everything!

      • Allow me to assist your musing in this way: ‘Jung stated that whatever the data provided by psychotherapeutic investigations, these could never provide substantial warrant for propositions concerning the universe or reality as such.’ Based on this assertion, Jung would probably be hard-pressed in trying to explain how suffering has its roots in the metaphysical notion of Samsara. How do you feel about telling us what you think resides at the root of suffering according to Jung? Please take your time with your response should you feel this merits your attention.

      • Great question as always Jason, but again I have no answers as I’m happy to live with the questions. I hope you get more replies here to your fascinating post. Bye for now.

  2. I love the ELSA acronym. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal recently about how our world would do better to find harmony in suffering instead of seeking happiness. I’ve often been called a pessimist, but I think of it as embracing the realities we have. From there, we manage our reactions and act appropriately, as you have wonderfully suggested.

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