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My Favorite Joke also Happens to be a Gateway to Peace of Mind

It’s lunch break at the construction site. Joe opens up his lunch pail and shouts, “A tuna fish sandwich! I hate tuna fish sandwiches.”

Tuesday, he opens his pail and it’s the same deal. “Two days in a row, tuna fish sandwiches! I can’t stand tuna fish sandwiches!”

Wednesday, it’s even worse. “Three days in a row of tuna fish sandwiches! I don’t think I can take this anymore. I hate tuna fish sandwiches.”

Thursday, he almost blows his top. “Four tuna fish sandwiches in four days! What’s going on here? I really don’t like tuna fish!”


His friends on the site are getting worried for him.

Sam walks over, “It’s OK, Joe,” he says. “When you get home today, why don’t you simply tell the old lady that you’d rather she pack something else for lunch?”

“What do you mean, old lady?” says Joe. “I pack my own lunches.”

[You can stop reading here if you want. For some people the “deconstruction” spoils it. If that’s you, STOP!]

So what makes this a gateway to peace of mind? How we react to circumstances is always our reaction, not the circumstances’ reaction. Our peace of mind or agitation of mind is a result of our reaction, not the circumstances.

This is not to imply that we can just choose to react differently (though sometimes people can), but the reaction is nonetheless inside us, not out there. A gateway to peace of mind opens when we make it a habit to recognize that we–by habit or choice–pack our own lunches (reactions).

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