New ways to reduce internal friction

Internal friction is a new description of a state of mental friction. Severe internal friction can lead to physical and mental fatigue, and even affect study, work, and interpersonal relations. Long-term internal friction can easily attack oneself, reduce work efficiency, and lead to anxiety, restlessness, depression and other mental illnesses.

In many cases, it is not the matter itself, but our attitude towards dealing with it that makes us mentally unwell and internally exhausted. So what harm does mental internal friction do to the body?

We will become sensitive and suspicious with internal friction, and our nerves will be highly tense. In this state, mistakes will occur in work and life, which will affect the efficiency of work. Sometimes we have to find a way to reduce this pressure. In more serious cases, we may need to change the environment to alleviate the negative effects of internal friction.

01 New Way to reduce internal friction

Zhuangzi is an old Chinese classic book on Taoism. This is a story in the book:

A man was walking on the road and accidentally saw his own shadow and footprints, thinking he had encountered a ghost. He ran quickly, unexpectedly, the faster he ran, the more footprints he left behind, and the shadow chased him more closely. So he ran even more desperately until he died of exhaustion.

In many cases, the reason why people feel pain is not the matter itself, but the inner conflict.

Just like the people in the story, they are too sensitive to the outside world, and a little trouble can arouse emotional waves. In the end, in the entanglement and anxiety of the self, they completely crushed themselves.

Wen Yiduo said:

Chinese culture will always bear the imprint of Zhuangzi.

For thousands of years, Zhuangzi’s wisdom not only contains the knowledge of how to behave in the world, but also contains good medicine for repairing the soul.

As practitioners of life cultivation, when our life is tangled and painful, instead of the Bible, many of us resort to Zhuangzi. Let us explore how Zhuangzi can lead us to joy and happiness.

01 We Shall Not Complain

As practitioners of life cultivation, we learn early not to complain about the suffering of life, but learn to change our mentality. This is our way to joy and happiness.

There is a story in Zhuangzi:

There was a man named Sun Xiu who was old without any accomplishment. He farmed in his hometown, but his harvest was poor every year. He went out to seek an official position, but bumped into walls everywhere.

He was aggrieved all day long, and once complained to his mentor Bian Qingzi:

No one has ever valued my virtue and courage. It is only because of the unfortunate fate that God has arranged for me to be in such a pitiable situation.

After hearing this, Bian Qingzi shook his head and said:

You are intact, you are not deaf, blind, or lame. You are lucky enough. Why do you blame God instead?

After hearing these words, Sun Xiu said nothing, and walked away in despair.

Writer Zhang Defen said that complaining is the most energy-consuming and unhelpful act.

In life, there are many people like Sun Xiu who always like to find someone to complain about when they encounter difficulties. As everyone knows, complaining is not only useless, but also makes oneself surrounded by negative energy and constantly consumes one’s own energy.

Psychologist Angelou said:

If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change your own attitude.

Only by complaining less and more reflection and action can we get out of the quagmire of internal friction.

In the Northern Song Dynasty, Zeng Gong, a great talent, took the imperial examination, but unexpectedly failed.

At that time, many people who failed the rankings complained one after another. Some accused the examiner of being too harsh, and some complained that they were too unlucky. Zeng Gong didn’t say a word, but silently packed his luggage back home.

Before leaving, his mentor Ouyang Xiu summoned him and said to him with regret, “It’s such a pity.”

Unexpectedly, Zeng Gong shook his head and said:

I failed the exam because I still couldn’t meet the requirements. Please rest assured that I will continue to work hard and take the exam again next year.

In the face of failure, Zeng Gong did not complain, but clearly recognized his own shortcomings.

After returning to his hometown, he devoted himself to the book and studied hard. Finally in the second year of Jiayou, Zeng Gong took the exam again and passed the examination with fourth place.

Another classic, Huainanzi, says that those who know their fate do not blame heaven, and those who know themselves do not blame others.

In the face of setbacks and misfortunes in life, instead of blaming others, it is better to change ourselves and change our mentality.

When it rains, I open an umbrella by myself, and when I fall, I get up alone.

Only by not avoiding when things happen and attributing inwardly can we turn complaints into motivation and easily overcome the difficulties of fate.

This is one of our ways to joy and happiness.

02 We shall ignore criticism

Ignore criticism from other people. Live our own life.

Here is another story from Zhuangzi:

In the extreme north, there is a bird called kunpeng. Its back is thousands of miles long, and when it takes off, its wings are like clouds hanging in the sky. Kunpeng circled upwards by the whirlwind and flew to the far south.

When passing by a low sky, the sparrow saw it and said mockingly:

I fly up as easily as I jump. I may fall when I am a few feet high but I still can hover among the basil bushes. Anyway this is also an excellent flight. Why are you so stupid and want to fly south at a height of ninety thousand miles?

Faced with the sparrow’s ridicule, kunpeng remained unmoved. It continued to soar, and finally flew to Tianchi Lake in the south, where it gained real freedom.

In reality, we often meet people like the sparrows, who like to make random comments and are keen to point fingers.

If we pay too much attention to the scrutiny and criticism from people around us, we will only torture ourselves in the end.

In 1999, Yu Qiuyu, a writer and author, was invited by a TV station to serve as the guest host of the documentary Millennium Journey.

Unexpectedly, this public appearance attracted huge slander and criticism from the outside world.

Many readers and critics accused him of being unpopular, fishing for fame, and bowing his head to money, and so on.

Facing the overwhelming malice, Yu Qiuyu just said:

A horse travels thousands of miles without washing the sand off.

In the following years, he traveled to more than ten countries including Central Asia and Western Europe to explore historical sites and trace the evolution of civilizations. In the end, it took more than four months, and he wrote classic works such as Walking Without Borders, A Thousand Years of Sigh, and so on. These thoughtful and readable works have become the most powerful response to all doubts and criticism.

Again, Zhuangzi said:

The whole world praises it without persuading it, and the world criticizes it without adding dismay.

When the world praises us, we do not need to be excited. When the world criticizes us, we do not need to be depressed.

Only in such a way can we live in our own rhythm without being disturbed by the outside world.

As practitioners of life cultivation, we know life is not easy. We learn to let go of ourselves. We will not be easily swayed by outside noise. We refuse to be kidnapped by other people’s standards.

When we block the gossip from the outside world and concentrate on walking the road under our feet, we will naturally be able to live our life well. We will walk towards joy and happiness.

03 Let Go

As practitioners of life cultivation, we will not be entangled in everything. We live a relaxed life.

He Duoling, painter, once expressed his point of view in Thirteen Invitations:

As with anything, it’s better to relax a bit. A life that is too tight will inevitably be twisted and anxious. Only when you relax can you untie yourself.

Again, we come to Zhuangzi again:

Sun Shuao had served as prime minister three times, but he never saw any joy on his face. He has also been dismissed three times, but he has never seen any sorrow.

His good friend Jianwu was very curious, so he asked Sun Shuao:

How do you feel when you were appointed three times and dismissed three times?

Sun Shuao replied:

I don’t think there is any need to refuse those who should come, and those who should leave cannot be redeemed. Gains and losses are often out of control, so why bother?

Yi Shu, writer, said:

There are gains and losses, which is life, so don’t be angry.

Facing the ups and downs of life, the best attitude is to adapt to things without worry or fear.

During the reign of Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty, Lu Chengqing, Minister of the Ministry of Officials, was in charge of the inspection and assessment of officials inside and outside the court.

At that time, there was a transshipment envoy who lost some grain and rice because the ship encountered wind and waves.

Lu Chengqing gave him an evaluation and commented:

The grain was lost during transportation, grade middle-lower.

Seeing the evaluation, the official was very calm, turned around and left without saying anything.

Lu Chengqing was very surprised. The official must know that the level of assessment is directly linked to his promotion and salary. After thinking about it, he felt that this person was very magnanimous, so he changed the note of the performance appraisal to: The occurrence is due to force beyond control, grade middle-middle.

Unexpectedly, after the official found out, he remained as calm as last time.

Lu Chengqing appreciated this very much, and finally changed his performance appraisal to:

Not to be surprised by favor or humiliation, grade middle-upper.

Whether it is luck or misfortune, this official has always had a peaceful mind, and finally reaped the inner calm and the reward of life.

Wang Zengqi, writer, said:

Don’t get entangled, don’t worry about vulgarity, just go with the situation, and cook life quietly and slowly with an original heart.

In this world, we do not know for sure whether we will be greeted with the sun and warmth, or windy swords and frosty weapons.

If we are always worried about everything, it is like putting a shackle on ourselves. We might as well relax our mind a little and take things lightly. In the turmoil of life, only by remaining calm can we face the wind and rain with a smile and find a turning point in a desperate situation.

04 A little recap

Again we fall on Zhuangzi:

For external punishment, metal and wood are used. For internal punishment, internal conflicts are used.

External suffering usually comes from instruments of torture. Internal pain usually comes from the conflict in our own mind.

Everyone is the maker of his own internal friction, and also its terminator.

We understand Zhuangzi. From now on, we should organize our minds. No complaining of fortune. No bearing of criticism. No bondage of our situation.

Get rid of our internal conflict. Live a joyful and happy life every day into the future.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: