December 15, 2008

Challenge: No Complaints for One Week. Are you in?

Jason Finch’s recent blog post reminded me of a challenge I like to try on from time to time–No complaints for one week. Local Buddhist psychotherpist Bruce Tift is a big fan of this as a meditation practice.

Last time I committed to no complaints for a week I threw out my back on day one and had to cancel a trip to see my brother and my two little nieces. As the week wore on, so did my opportunities to complain. It was fascinating to see how my mind worked with every little detail from standing in line at Whole Paycheck to the onslaught of little thoughts throughout the day.

So, starting today, Monday, I’m going to commit to another week of zero complaints. If and when I do complain, I’ll just own it with a friend and carry on.

Since we have a lot to complain about in the global situation and we fill vilified and justified for our grievances, see what it is like to “let go” for a week or a day and notice what happens around you. Thoughts count and to notice your negative mind stream is the practice.

This practice has been made popular by Pastor Will Bowen of the Christ Church Unity in Kansas City, Misourri. He founded a Complaint Free World. So far, their group has given out over 5,000,000 braclets to folks who can commit to living a complaint free life.

One caution: This does not mean you need to walk around pretending their is no suffering in the world and bypassing the enormity of Life. It also does not mean you have to try to act happy or be upbeat. Be genuine. And be honest with yourself.

Like the 4 noble truths in Buddhism, it is about not getting “hooked” by the suffering around us.   This is very much a meditation practice. The whole point here is to just notice how you are, without judgment. So, when you observe how much you complain, don’t judge that, just take note and listen.

So, what will you do? If a week sounds too daunting, go for a day and see what happens!

Check out the video.

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