The fallacy of complaining in prison

This is a short post because this one quote says it all and I don’t want to take away from it.  I feel that the study of philosophy and Zen are quite different – one takes place in the mind utilizing theories, concepts and ideas while the other is about moving outside of your mind, literally thinking ‘nothing’.  It is ironic that the goal for two such different schools of thought and ways of living, to a degree, is to end up in the same place.  At peace.

“Still you are indignant and complain, and you don’t understand that in all the evils to which you refer, there is really only one – that you are indignant and complain.”

I can’t stand this quote because it’s too good, and that’s why I catch myself reciting it no less than two to three times EVERY day.  Every single time I start to internally complain about anything I think of the above.  At least for now, the amount of complaining has decreased exponentially.  To a point where I wonder if I am being too mellow and accepting.  I haven’t found an exception to the rule either.  Trust me, Federal Prison gives you a lot of things to complain about…yet everything is stopped by this one idea.

Just the other morning, a perfect example.  It was raining and 40 degrees out and we had only one hour of outside time for the entire day.  I’m dressed warm.  Winter jacket on, donning my Bob Barker collection beanie and ready to enjoy Fall and a walk around the track.  Only one other inmate is heading outside (early mornings don’t suit most around here).  Rec, however, was canceled.  No reason was given.  No explanations offered.  That’s it.  End of story.  However, we are allowed to go outside to the ‘patio’.  A 25×25 cement pad with 3 cement benches and two picnic tables thirty feet from the entrance of the unit.  I told my friend, and he agreed, that as discouraged as we were we wouldn’t say one negative thing during our hour out there.  I still think I’m going to be in a minor state of shock/sheer glee when I get home and I can simply step outside whenever I want and breathe in fresh air.

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