‘The crazy 8’ is a term I heard Tony Robbins use once to describe a repetitive pattern of behaviour and it made perfect sense to me.
The figure 8 has value in describing other concepts, namely impermanence or the cycles of the world.
I realised some time ago that when people become unhappy, it is because they were owning some of the basic features of being a human being. Being human does not mean being perfect, and a failure to accept that causes people to suffer when they mistake the imperfections as being somehow their fault.
Every species has to abide by the laws of nature that apply to that species. Bears have to hibernate, cats have to scratch and so on. The reason why animals don’t become unhappy is because they don’t think like we do and hence unconditionally accept their nature.
We on the other hand seem to have a problem with this, especially when it comes down to the cycles of life.
For years and years I simply could not understand that no matter how hard I tried, no matter what I did, I could not create and maintain a state of happiness 100% of the time. And any time I wavered from the 100% I would beat myself up because I had somehow failed as a human being.
As advanced a species as we are, we are not masters of the universe. We have the power to do great things yes, but we have to act within the boundaries of being a physical human being with boundaries (such as not being able to fly unaided).
I’ll admit it. Early on in my career I got completely brainwashed by traditional personal development material. This stuff turned out to be very dangerous to me, particularly because of the time in my life when I was absorbing it.
While the teachers intentions were most likely honourable the underlying message behind personal development was that you are in control and you take full responsibility for everything that happens.
So if you are feeling happy then you are responsible for that and if you are feeling unhappy then you are responsible for that too.
But ask yourself how many times have you felt unhappy and not wanted to be?
And how many times have you managed to just ‘snap out of it’?
When I finally came to realise, and trust me it was not an easy thing to accept, is that the negative and the positive are different sides of the same coin. They are heads and tails. Night and day. High tide and low tide.
The cycle of moods comes with being a human being like it or not.
Now I don’t like it, I still would rather be happy all the time, but as the wise Winston Churchill said:
The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.
That’s why I believe strongly in what Eckhart Tolle teaches about physiological pain being caused by resisting ‘what is’.
How can you resist ‘what is’? You can resist it but it does nothing to change what is, all it does is create a mix of negative emotions in your body. And once you are in that state, you have the least chance, the least amount of resources to call on to do anything about it.
So is the practice of just noticing when you do not feel happy and simply recognising that it is time to go around the negative end of the figure 8.
Because you know before long you will be back around the other side.