However, the phrase “No whining on the yacht” from Al Franken’s book Giant in the Senate really made me laugh.
It really hit home because I have done so much whining in my life. I came by it naturally (childhood conditioning) but in my latter years have spent much time and energy noticing that “whiny voice” and asking myself if I am going to react in the old ways or choose something more beneficial?
What has whining gotten me? Nothing constructive, for sure. Even if someone succumbs to this form of manipulation, there is always a price to be paid. Resentment will follow.
The “yacht” image also struck me as a great metaphor for this great mind of ours out of which we make choices.
The “yacht” is also a valid metaphor for living in a 1st world country with so many privileges that millions in the world do not have. We would do well to stop whining.
A yacht is a superior sailing vessel—the “Cadillac or Rolls Royce” of ships—a gracious and luxurious form of transportation. It’s not a dumpy old wreck of a boat. In fact, it’s recreational!
It’s a yacht! Which luxuriously carries us across the seas on a journey. Are we having fun yet?
Psychologically the “seas” (or water) represent the unconscious, as we can’t see down in the deep dark ocean of life beneath us.
What really runs our life?
We, as humans, have a consciousness that is distinct from all other species. Our consciousness allows us to reflect back onto something—to stand away from, to observe, to witness.
Humans are reflective beings. We don’t just know something. We know that we know. We can stand outside ourselves and reflect back on ourselves, our lives and our choices.
For instance we can choose to move from one place to another. We can relocate for better opportunities. We can choose our career path, our partner or mate. We make thousands of independent choices that no animal, fowl, mineral or plant life can possibly make.
In other words we might liken this to a “yacht consciousness” since we choose our attitudes as we journey. We are not limited to instincts and can depart from what has gone before them in very innovative ways. This is elegance itself.
For instance we can step back and reflect on each situation in our lives and thus respond in new ways—or we can simply react in the old.
In essence we have options available—an array of choices—that no other species has!
We can choose to whine, moan and groan about injustice and inequality. We can engage self pity about how awful life is.
These are attitudes.
Or we can find new responses arising from a new attitude.
Instead of blaming someone or circumstances we can ask, “Given these circumstances what is the most beneficial choice I can make now?”
We can blame—or ask what is our next best step.
No one gets inside our head and makes us think something (except in the extreme cases of brain washing, and even these instances have been shown not to last).
Each of us chooses how we are going to view things. How we think, speak, spend our time and money, or choose our hobbies all depend on what we hold dear.
We can serve inner values, such as generosity, gratitude, kindness, unless we deem it more important to acquire things, no matter what it does to others. What is most important to us?
Of course there is much in life that we don’t choose—at least consciously. What others choose is up to them. And we don’t control Mother Nature.
How do we respond to what happens to us?
Again we can blame and feel self-pity, or we can choose the areas where we have control—our attitude!
Will we choose compassion, or a hard-hearted, blaming or frightened attitude?
It’s not so much what we are seeing as how we are seeing. This is our yacht consciousness.
As the Buddha has taught, anger will not bring peace. Anger causes more anger, which results in more hurt and damage.
Anger, blame and self-pity are rooted together as they all stem from fear.
There is an antidote for fear. It is loving kindness. This is an attitude filled with compassion and gratitude. It is not a given in life that one is born with. It is developed over time by thousands and millions of small choices that practically no one sees. They happen within us.
It takes place over time with courage and a clear intention to continue noticing our attitude—how we are seeing life.
I suggest we not misuse our “yacht of consciousness.” All vessels need attention and upkeep. So does our mind.
Our mind is worth paying attention to! It’s precious.
Let’s choose to send good will—regardless of how we feel. Let’s not ignore our sadness and anger, but treat even (and especially) these feelings with compassion.
We can bring kindness to our hurts and fears. As we do we will notice there is a feeling of spaciousness within us, a larger container, from which to view life.
And this opens us to new, more beneficial choices.
And it feels a lot better than whining!
May you abide in lovingkindness,