Posts Tagged ‘mindfulness’

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Philosophy Tuesday

July 18, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.  Tonight, a quote:

 

The majority of what exists is arbitrary…

Neither inevitable nor right…

Simply the result of muddle and happenstance.

 

The School of Life

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Philosophy Tuesday

June 27, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

If you spend any time within the Happiest Place On Earth*, there’s one for-sure thing:  you will see a lot of very much not happy people.

And for this I don’t mean just upset two year olds who dropped their ice cream.  I mean of all ages, of all cultures, of all types.

Doesn’t matter who or where, we are all the same in this way… we can be most riotously miserable no matter the circumstances.  Even in the midst of lavish surroundings catering to the entire panoply of delight, giddiness, amusement, thrills, savoury, sweet, colourful, surprising, and all manner of enchanted storybooking come to life, even with all that pulling for at the very least a smidge of amusement, we can yet be downright upset, morose, and blah.  Perhaps, even, for the whole day.

How fascinating!

There’s something really great about witnessing this.

For while it may, at first, be distressing that we appear to be so readily thrown towards the dark, even while we stand in the midst of a thousand lights, it isn’t.  For this equally indicates that the reverse is for-sure true:  our circumstances are, quite often, just our circumstances, and even when we are caught visiting the Most Miserable Place on Earth** we can also totally be a very much happy person.

In spite of our circumstances, we have agency.  It is something we can work towards.  We can gain the freedom to be, no matter the circumstances.

We may not always be as happy as a tagline, but also we needn’t suffer.

And when we are in a place full of play, we can jump and squeal and run about and indeed really make ourselves the happiest place to be.

 

* Disneyland, according to their tagline…

** Not sure a theme park with this tagline would be all that popular, really.

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Philosophy Tuesday

May 30, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

Do you realize we’re all not pooping and peeing in our pants?

This may not seem like much of a strange revelation… or a great insight… but consider it for a moment.

One of the most natural things in the world to do is to poo and pee whenever you feel the need.  I mean, why not.  Especially when it becomes really darn uncomfortable if we don’t!

Yet here we sit, not doing that (unless maybe if you’re on the toilet right now…).

We’ve learned to give up the immediate, hold it, live with some discomfort, and behave in a way that makes it better for us.

We gave up something to create something.

“I could never do that,” we sometimes say, when someone suggests to us a different course of action.  Or, perhaps, suggests a different way of living.

“Oh, I’m just that way, it’s how I operate,” is another phrase we may use.

“That’s not in my nature…”

Yet our nature is to go when we gotta go.

And now we’ll wait a whole heck of a long time at times when we gotta go.

We’ve got a lot more capacity for both uncomfortableness,

as well as to change and transform

than we give ourselves credit for.

It may be tough.  It may uncomfortable.  And it may take a while to learn and get it ingrained into who we are.

But if we can give up the joy and ease of unrestricted poo, what can’t we transform?

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Philosophy Tuesday

May 23, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

Continuing from last week the conversation about money and value… and expanding this week to get interpersonal.  Let’s look at our relationships and at appreciation.

Just like how we get sucked into the detached space of “pure monetary value” and readily lose sight of what something is personally worth to us, we also very much collapse the idea of compensation (ie, money) with displaying appreciation.

Hank Green mentioned this idea in a recent Vlogbrother’s video:  “John, you are aware of my appreciation deficit theory. It’s this idea that I have, that by turning all transactions into something that can be quantified with money, that we have lost the ability to feel as if there is value that can be transferred that isn’t measured?”

Acknowledgement, gratitude, and connectedness… they all get lost in the same morass of the reductive dollar value.

And so, when we pay someone for something, we think that’s all and good.  They did this thing for me – could be a big thing, could be a small thing, could be a pleasant thing, or it could be a terrible stinky hard thing – and we paid them, then that’s well and done.  That is enough.  We paid them, right?  That should show what it’s “value” is to us, right? *

But that’s compensation, a transaction, a payment to make a living to do a task for us.  It is vital part of the economic engine we work within.  And it should not be confused with appreciation.

It gets weirder when there is no explicit money interaction.

When a friend does something for us, its value may not even register for us, since it didn’t have a dollar value attached to it.

Or maybe we do think about it, but since friends don’t charge friends for things, what to do?  Buy them a gift, which is, effectively a payment by another name?  Mark it in a ledger to do a return good deed later on?  Or simply say thanks and move (awkwardly?) on?

Compensation is a quick transaction.  It takes moments to stuff a few bills across the physical space between two bodies.  It’s also impersonal, valuing something only in comparison to arbitrary figures of an autonomous numbering system.

Appreciation requires presence.  It takes time, contact, and connection to cross the personal spaces between two human beings.  It’s intimate.  And it’s about what the true value of something is.  “What is, deep down, truly, this worth to me?”  And if the answer is “a lot”**, then appreciation is letting the other person know.

“I value you.  Thank you for what you do.  Thank you for what you’ve done.  You have made a difference in my life.  Thank you for being part of my life.”

 

* And the reverse as well.  Our boss gives us a task, and we do it well, and they simply sign our paycheques every week;  is that enough?

** Remembering that people all over and in so many roles are contributors to our lives… as we are to theirs.

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Philosophy Tuesday

May 9, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

A few years ago*, I wrote about what I termed “The Tyranny of Talent.”  A good (re)-read, and it still rings true for me.  Perhaps even more so now, in that I think it dovetails nicely into my more recently created “Olympic Distinction,” specifically in the area of the arts, hobbies, or other areas of self-expression.  Even more specifically, in the ways that we shut ourselves down from playing in those fields of self-expression.

Briefly, the Tyranny of Talent (ToT) noted that our wonton use of the word talent is problematic on two fronts, the second of which is of import here:  that because talent has the association with innate ability or aptitude, when we see someone performing something with great skill we all too easy can fall into the pitfall of “I wasn’t born with it like you were, so I’ll never get there.”

The thing is, where is “there?”  Is there an Olympic level of performance?  If so… why do we need to be in the Olympics?   Or on stage performing to millions of people?  Or in a prestigious gallery?  Or in a stadium chasing down a championship?  Or a bestseller?

It’s a double whammy we give ourselves.  “I wasn’t gifted with talent, so I’ll never be all that good,” and “I’ve got to be good, because this example here is what people expect/is right/is what it takes to look good/is the only endgame.”

Self-expression is self-expression.  It’s not about making a living (or just making money), it’s not about fame, it’s not about accolades**, it’s not about winning that prize.  It might be about putting something out into the world that you want heard, but it also might not.  At its core, self-expression means something that arises from your authentic self and manifests into the world in a way that lights you up.  It is a way of being and acting that calls to you and you put forth into the world.  An audience may be nice, but it isn’t always necessary.  Dancing alone in your apartment could totally be a self-expression.

I do get there is a dilemma if the self-expression does include sharing with or involve others, especially in this day of the internet.  For that is the most readily available and easy place to share, and many have gotten so used to sharing what they had for lunch that it’s automatic to post that which we want to self-express.  And certain folk on the internet are not always kind to beginners, to non-Olympians.  And it readily bleeds into daily life too.  Take up soccer late in life with little experience, and depending who you play with you may not be treated all that well. ***

Insults, harshness, recriminations, they all can all to easily push us back into the dual contexts of “I’m not talented (and I never will)”**** and “You gotta be an Olympian to do this “right” and/or to show your face” leading to the very logical “Since I’m not talented, I’ll never be an Olympian, and so should never show my face/work.”

There is mindfulness to cultivate here.  To remind ourselves that our self-expression is for us.  We paint because we enjoy painting, we practice kung fu because we enjoy practicing kung fu, we jam out beat poetry and elsewhere because we enjoy jamming.

There doesn’t have to be an end game beyond that. We can share our work within a small circle, we can practice and play only with those who share our unhindered fun, we can send work out into the world anonymously, we can dance in the dark.  We can practice, play, grow, learn, learn some more, and just enjoy the pure joy of the activity.

Does it make us feel alive and fulfilled?

If so, then we’re doing it right.

 

* Already??

** And boy, is the number of likes or accolades or comments ever seductive in its own right.  This too is a whole other inquiry, how we’ve collapsed likes/accolades with “I am loved and worthy of love and belonging.”

*** Why people are this nasty is a whole other interesting inquiry in of itself.  For here, though, it’s quite interesting to consider that the same tyranny and Olympic ennui can manifest itself as harshness to assuage the pain of repressing one’s self-expression…

**** More rightfully put as “I misunderstand how skill and aptitude is developed, and I fear it is magically assigned at birth and I got skipped over so I’m screwed.” ******

****** That’s not to say it will be quick or easy to develop the skill, of course.  We’ve got a lot of catching up to do, and there tends to be a lot more to do in a day now…

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Philosophy Tuesday

April 25, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

Every now and again,

It’s good to get a little reminder,

To just,

Frankly,

Stop taking ourselves so damn seriously.

 

(as also noted by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander)

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Philosophy Tuesday

April 18, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

Reality is what we take to be true.

What we take to be true is what we believe.

What we believe is based upon our perceptions.

What we perceive depends on what we look for.

What we look for depends on what we think.

What we think depends on what we perceive.

What we perceive determines what we believe.

What we believe determines what we take to be true.

What we take to be true is our reality.

Quantum Physicist David Bohm