If suffering brings wisdom, I should wish to be less wise.
William Butler Yeats
It’s a little known fact, but one of the biggest causes of suffering is from accidental boomerang strikes.
Let me elaborate on what I mean here.
This is when we get hit in the head by a boomerang we threw, but at the time we didn’t know it was a boomerang and we certainly didn’t know it was going to come back and smack us on the head.
In that sacred of all self development books, ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, Franklin Covey reminds us, “When we pick up one end of a stick, we pick up the other”. In other words, “While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of those actions.”
A boomerang is a stick we would have been better off leaving well alone. Here are four causes of accidental boomerang strikes.
The Sands of Distraction. In this connected world we are constantly bombarded by distractions; newspapers, radio, television, computers, tablets, smartphones, they are simply unavoidable.
Once distraction gets into our mind it soon clogs up our focus and attention. Its not so much that distraction is bad, its the fact that it takes over and before we know it the tail is wagging the dog.
This is a mild form of boomerang strike, but nevertheless we usually come out of it dazed, and disappointed at the hours we’ve lost.
Fatal Attraction. This is distraction with hooks, it comes in many different forms, want and desire being the most common. This is where our inner angel meets our dastardly inner devil.
It’s the human condition, and fighting it is like taking a tricycle up against a steamroller. Its the slippery slope that leads to all our bad habits and addictions and yet we constantly underestimate the beauty and draw of the siren song.
Attraction can be a particularly painful boomerang strike especially if it leaves us with that that most horrid of all feelings, #despair.
The Niggle. This is the self propelled boomerang that keeps coming back and clipping us on the head, again and again. It can be experienced as an underlying feeling of irritation, anxiety or dissatisfaction. I often experience it as a feeling of being overwhelmed.
Often the cause isn’t always apparent. However, deep down there is a persistent little voice reminding us of a belief we hold that conflicts with reality. Until we accept reality and let go of the belief, we will remain in the flight path of that circling boomerang.
Procrastination. Procrastination is like getting hit by a boomerang that we never threw in the first place. In that sense it’s hard to imagine it as painful, yet not doing something because we feel blocked is a particularly painful and frustrating experience.
So if like Yeats and you wish to to be less wise, then at the very least before you pick up a stick, make sure its not a boomerang that will just come back and wallop you.