M. SCOTT MORRIS: Big contest messes with emotions

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

I was sweating things last week. The showdown was imminent. Rewards awaited the victor, and the loser could expect a whole bunch of nothing.
As crunch time approached, my belly quivered whenever I thought about the contest. I felt like a 4-year-old about to get a shot at the doctor’s office.
The freaky thing is I had absolutely no control over the outcome.
At least in the election I could take positive action and vote. When my beloved Crimson Tide faced the LSU Tigers all I could do was pull on my lucky underwear and hope.
It was a crazy, messed-up day. No one would’ve guessed I’d ever studied the pathways to enlightenment.
Impressive stuff for a guy who confesses to owning lucky underwear, right?
But study’s not the word. It implies a deep investigation, and that’s not accurate.
To study would suggest living in a hut in the wilderness. Or joining a monastic order to meditate, pray and make wine all day until the world’s mysteries answered themselves.
It’s better to say I’ve dabbled in enlightenment, played with it on the edges, picked it up and put it down again.
My understanding is mediocre at best, dangerous at worst, so you might not want to read further. What you encounter could warp your mind for years.
You’ve been warned.
The trick, it seems, is limiting your desires, cutting down your wants, and reducing the distance between where you are and where you want to be.
You can tell I’m a dabbler because last Saturday I really wanted to be on the winning side when the final whistle blew. The craving gnawed at the walls of my gut, so I spent most of game day in low-level distress.
I knew enough to know I was causing my own pain. I let something I couldn’t control dictate my mental attitude.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban would call that stupid. I would call it being a fan.
I must get something out of being a stupid fan. Otherwise, I’d change the behavior.
My team had a terrible second half, and it looked as though the good guys were going to lose. I never gave up hope, but prepared myself by dampening my emotions.
It’ll be OK if we lose, I thought. It’s just a game.
I tried to reduce the distance between where I was and where life appeared to be taking me.
It was working, too, until Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron and his troops engineered a masterful game-winning drive. Great joy erupted in the Morris Manse.
The kids missed it because the game lasted well beyond their bedtime. In the morning, I told my daughter about the Tide’s glorious victory.
“I know. I heard you yelling,” she said, then took a slightly different tone. “I heard those words you used, too.”
And that’s about all I have to say about enlightenment.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@journalinc.com.

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