|Let's try another metaphor.
are like aerobics for the mind.
Over time, our patterns of thinking become habitual: home, job,
family, relationships, failures, successes, hopes, fears. The ruts that we mentioned
Strangely, we become very comfortable in those ruts. Watch your
thoughts for a while and you'll see what I mean. O.K, now I'm thinking about this big
project that's due next week (we'll give that a few seconds of worry), one of my
co-workers used a childish phrase today which reminds me of my three-year-old, worry about
her for a few seconds, which brings up the troubling fact that she's not completely
toilet-trained, so on to some seconds thinking about that and how my spouse could be
dealing with that problem better, which reminds me of the only paddling I got in school in
the sixth grade for chewing gum in class. . . All old familiar paths. Ruts, yes? Familiar
Going over and over the same old material, occasionally, very
occasionally gleaning a new insight or a new idea. But mostly just gliding along filling
mental time while getting from one place to another, one task to another.
What we mostly forget to notice is that the deeply rutted road
passes through the most remarkable landscape. Down in the ruts its often hard to see. So
you get Matthew Arnold going on about darkling plains or T.S. Eliot jabbering beautifully
about vast wastelands.
The saltlicks give you a way to 1) slow your progress along the
rutted path, and 1) gain the mental strength and agility to lift yourself up and look
around at what's to see. Which turns out to be quite a bit more than a darkling plain or a
Strength, agility--and stamina. The stamina part's important.
Because, as you will observe in yourself, we really do like the ruts. They're so familiar,
and so easy. Sort of like watching mental sit-coms. No surprises. A little entertaining.
Keep on nudging your mind toward a saltlick, out of the ruts, and
after some time, you'll find it easier and easier to not onlyi stay out of the ruts but to
go on with your life while you are out. Thereby gaining new perspectives on the problems
which constitute the ruts.
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