But only if it’s just enough.
And only when you need it.
But only if it’s just enough.
And only when you need it.
…the heart exists, like the tongue
between the teeth- which still,
however, does the praising.
The satisfaction that life presents to us is based on the strength we have to go out into that life and present ourselves, courageous, shameless, and open-hearted.
…since rushing sets up a whole multitude of antagonistic vibrations.”
When I slow down, my life-time increases.
With more time, there’s more to experience.
Because with more time, you have more focus, and more presence.
Quote credit: Alan Watts
Everything is such a ridiculous miracle, from sex and birth to humanity, to chasing money, to jobs, to chasing others.
Living on a big ball of dirt and water that stays together because of gravity (whatever that is), flying through a vacuum of space so big we can’t even begin to comprehend, around a giant torch of nuclear power.
On this wet rock we fight each other, arguing and even killing because someone is too different or we think we don’t have enough stuff. We fear losing it all, when we know that we are definitely going to lose everything in the end.
We take it so seriously.
And that’s the cosmic joke.
My stomach rumbled and I thought about angel hair pasta tossed with some shaved garlic and onion, and some extra virgin olive oil and tangy capers. A few sweet cherry tomatoes from my garden, cooked in a skillet until they break apart into a sauce to saute the whole thing. I needed to get some onions though…I could do that on the way home from work, but I’d need to swing by-
I snapped myself out of the future and back to the present.
It’s been several weeks since I’ve meditated, and I can feel it. The problem with stopping meditation is you can’t save your progress: Your clarity and awareness immediately and swiftly starts fading.
It’s like letting your kitchen go if you don’t clean it for a week. Your brain fills up its pathways with garbage thoughts, regrets, forward-looking fears, imagined transgressions and pitfalls and enemies. The pathways get jammed up. Temper is more sensitive to being triggered.
It’s scary, actually, to see how easily how temper can be swayed. It’s scary to see how you can acclimate to all the garbage that’s cluttering your mind.
Your judgment is affected, but you can’t tell, because you’ve adapted to it.
So using one session to calm your mind down to a steady state is almost impossible. You’ve let your mind wander without supervision for weeks or months. You’ve left the gates open, so it’s gonzo, far away by now. It’s going to take some effort to find it again, to find your calm center that’s not contaminated by your environment.
And yet…that 5 minute session of stopping and focusing on your breath is so powerful that immediately afterwards, I notice the change. It’s clear something happened in my head, although during those minutes I felt like I was trying to tame a wild horse, and it was bucking me every 5 seconds!
Be vigilant against the drift of the mind. Don’t habituate to that noisy place…or to any place, unless you want to. Whatever negative place you drift into through habit…realize you don’t have to be there. It isn’t normal, so don’t make it your normal.
Today, I’ve taken back some control. And tomorrow I must go back and exercise my mind again. I cannot be a victim of my mind, or the random circumstances of life. Because a life out of my control is not my life at all.
You see, you are not educated to be alone.
Do you ever go out for a walk by yourself? It is very important to go out alone, to sit under a tree—not with a book, not with a companion, [not with your social media] but by yourself—and observe the falling of a leaf, hear the lapping of the water, the fishermen’s song, watch the flight of a bird, and of your own thoughts as they chase each other across the space of your mind.
If you are able to be alone and watch these things, then you will discover extraordinary riches which no government can tax, no human agency can corrupt, and which can never be destroyed
When I can’t lead myself, I seek support.
From leaders, like a boss, a captain, or a mentor in my field. Or I seek support from others, like a partner, or family member. Or it can be the simple support of a schedule, in a job, or the regiment of the military. Maybe it’s the organization in a sports team, or even a political group.
Whichever it is, the support is necessary, even critical.
These supports help us set goals and the procedure to get to them. But choosing the purpose of those goals is up to me. Why are those goals important to me? Which organization will I choose? Should I work for company A or B? Should I be a creator or an administrator?
And so one of the great struggles of the human continues:
Choose what you want as an individual, while wanting to be an accepted member of the group.
In this delicate balance, we choose the place to spend our life..to sell our life. Each day of work is a day of my life I have sold to the highest bidder. Not just for money, of course, but the place where I will get the greatest reward: The reward of knowing what I’m doing is producing something important.
Knowing your importance is critical, because anything else we have in life is only a substitute we may use to get through the days of our lives, but not the reason for living.
There’s little sleep
when you realize your one life
is to do all your things.
The world is infinite with things
And I am small, and I take small steps
But I take many, to get far enough
To all my things, in my daily allowances
Which I’m given through some luck of the universe
But I take for granted,
Because I think I’m infinite
Like the universe.
But I’m a temporary assortment of atoms
Into this temporary being
Living in temporary segments:
Awake with the birds, Asleep with the crickets.
And in between I take my small steps,
Getting far enough to learn things, and love others
Before the universe reclaims me.
Picture credit: Kim Nelson
What do you want?
We know we want to feel good. This is natural. No one wants to feel bad, right? We seek pleasure. We avoid pain.
In the end, it all comes down to maximizing pleasure, but pleasure isn’t necessarily good. And neither is it good to avoid pain all the time. Pleasure is consumptive, requiring something external to you. And avoiding pain is protective.
Is that it? There must be something greater to human experience, which goes beyond the drives of consumption and safety.
What is that greater desire?
It is contribution. The feeling… no, more than that…the tangible production of something, the providing of value by you. How is something valuable? Of course, you can value what you made, and that is one valid measure.
But others need to benefit from it, so they need to see it as valuable, too.
If we don’t get appreciation from others for what we have done, our internal valuation is pretty meaningless. So this contribution is actually consumptive, like pleasure. But the difference it has from consumption is that it first requires production of something valuable from you.
Without our contribution, and appreciation for it from others, whether it’s in the workplace or in the home, we are left alone and lonely and isolated, and ultimately, unfulfilled.
Is there something you can contribute? I think so.