Posts Tagged ‘mindfulness’


Philosophy Tuesday

March 13, 2018

“Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement.

In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success.

You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.

To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”

Bill Watterson (emphasis mine)


Philosophy Tuesday

February 20, 2018

It is often best

to not think about those things

about ourselves

that aren’t the way we’d want them to be

that don’t work out the way we’d want them to

that we don’t like acting in that particular way

that we don’t want going in that predictable, particular way

that can, in hindsight, seem nasty, petty, and even weird

and that lead to outcomes that we don’t actually want

all those things

best not to think of them as BAD

or, even more commonly,

to view ourselves as BAD

and most certainly WRONG

but rather

to think about our faults and foibles


they are UNPRODUCTIVE ways of BEING

that when they arise

hijack everything

and lead us down those paths

that we’d really rather not go down

because if we are BAD

what else can we be?

judge, jury, and executioner

we’ve committed ourselves

to a prison of blame

and a continuation of BADNESS

but if we have ways of BEING


then it’s a different story

ways of BEING

are eminently examinable


and a domain of creation

that which triggers us

into those realms of predictability


blank slates can be created

and by stepping into

a new way of BEING

new realms of POSSIBILITY open up

for new accesses

new actions

and new outcomes

owning our future

and walking the paths

towards who we truly want to be

and to what we truly want


Philosophy Tuesday

February 6, 2018

There is a difference between a Possibility, and an Expectation.  And it’s a good one.

An expectation holds a high regard as to what will likely happen.  An expectation holds dear that something will happen.  An expectation demands that something should happen.

An expectation is a possible future coupled with an attachment.

It should go this way… or else.

A possibility, on the other hand, acknowledges that is a creation.

A possibility calls towards the future and puts a vision out there, without  clinging.  A possibility aims broader, foregoing a specific outcome and specific paths to get there.  Possibilities live in the world of intents, recognizing the broader avenues of fulfillment.

And here’s the fun part:

If you have an expectation, and it goes unmet, then you’re left with disappointment.

If you have a possibility, and it goes unmet, then what you’re left with is…  a possibility.

No upset.  No frustration.  Only a place of clarity and power and creation from which to spring forward into what’s next and towards the fulfillment of your possibilities, and the joy therein.


Philosophy Tuesday

January 30, 2018

A few years ago, a friend of mine was sharing about her battle against cancer.  Needless to say, it was an ordeal, and her daily experience was not pleasant in the slightest.*  “Oy,” I said, “I can only imagine what it must be like for you right now.”

“Thank you,” she replied.  But the way she said ‘thank you’ went well beyond a pleasantry… there was a depth to it, a certain fire around it mixed in with appreciation.  I must have given her a quizzical look, for she explained.  “I’ve had a lot of people tell me ‘Oh, I know how you feel.’  But they really don’t.  Unless you’ve gone through it, you don’t know at all what it feels like.”

Later on that evening, that exchange got me thinking.

Imagination is the path into empathy.  It allows us to envision other worlds and other people, and get a glimpse for ourselves what things could be like given the place, past, and experience of another.  It calls to us to get out of our own frame and get into that of another.

Imagination is of prime importance in the realm of being human.

But perhaps, in an opposite-side-of-the-same-coin sort of way, it is by putting aside our imagination and recognizing that imagination is just that – an ephemeral visualization of make believe – that even greater empathy is gained.

Realizing that no matter how great and creative we are, no matter how powerful our imagination, there exists still worlds and possibilities and experiences and feelings we haven’t visited, or are not (yet) capable of visiting, in our mind. **

And so  it may well be presumptuous to think we know something, and that we know the lows, or highs, that is and are possible to experience.

We can imagine what it might be like;  and then leave open the possibility that it might even be so much more.

Imagination is the start of empathy.  Going beyond Imagination into No Imagination could well be its fulfillment.


* Fortunately, she was a facile with the distinguishing of pain and uncomfortableness vs suffering.  Her spirits stayed lofty even as her body went sideways.

** Such as the experiences of those in the recent eclipse, or even my trip to Japan and visiting the works of Tadao Ando on Naoshima Island


Philosophy Tuesday

January 23, 2018

“The great instrument of moral good is the imagination.  If you cannot or will not imagine the results of your actions, there’s no way you can act morally or responsibly.  Little kids can’t do it; babies are morally monsters – completely greedy.  Their imagination has to be trained into foresight and empathy.”

“The writer’s pleasant duty, then, is to ply the reader’s imagination with the best and purest nourishment that it can absorb.”

— Ursula K Le Guin (who passed away today)


Philosophy Tuesday

December 19, 2017

We were in a maze.

We’d discovered the maze while randomly visiting the art projects out in deep playa at Burning Man.  It was no small maze either – made of wood posts and plywood, it measured some 70+ feet to a side, and the walls were 8′ tall.  It was also really tricky.*

It had been eight, maybe twelve, minutes since we’d entered when, from over one of the walls (we had inadvertently split up) my friend shouts out “Hey!  There’s a door here!”

“There are no doors in mazes,” I solidly replied.

It wasn’t that I didn’t believe them per se – in fact I gave it nary a thought after my proclamation.  It was just… true.  Mazes were things with walls and passageways and dead ends.  Doors did not enter the picture.

By now of course you all can probably guess where this story is going, and what I was about to exclaim not more than a few minutes later:

“Holy crap!  There are doors in this thing!”

And it wasn’t even the same door.

It’s a funny, fluffy example, but I love it as a reminder of just how, when something comes up that doesn’t fit our view, it’s not so much that we don’t believe it, or that we actively resist it, it’s often more that it simply doesn’t even register.  No such possibility exists.  It’s so completely outside the realm of (our personal) reality that before we even become aware of it it’s been dismissed and we’re moving on with our day, acting as before.  Which equally means, quite potentially, staying as constrained as before.

Our life remains the same.

Hence why I like reminding myself with this story.  Who knows what I/we could be missing on the other side.  Who knows what I/we could learn, could do, or could be, with that new piece of information, with that broader view, and with those new possibilities.  Worlds can open up.

Because, while in a maze in the middle of the desert it was a very physical door that I was all too ready to miss, quite often the doors that we dismiss and don’t go through are very much metaphorical, and very much transformative.


* Seriously, the maze was killer.  The people who made it did a fabulous job.  Doors, bridges, and more, and it was well laid out in order to obfuscate some of the necessary routes.  My friend and I spent 30 minutes in the maze, escaped out, went back in, came out again, was told a hint or two by people outside who had completed it, went back in a third time, and still were stymied.  So we chose to D&D the heck out of it!  We came back the next day with hand-made graph paper and proceeded to map the sucker out like a dungeon… and thusly discovered a route we’d delightfully missed.  In rather short order, past few more doors, traps, and bridges, we found our way to the exit.  Superbly well done maze!


Philosophy Tuesday

December 12, 2017

A work of art

is not a living thing

that walks or runs.

But the making of the life,

that which gives you a reaction;

to somebody’s the wonder of man’s fingers,

to somebody’s the wonder of the mind,

to somebody’s the wonder of technique,

and to some it is how real it is,

to some how transcendent it is.


Like the 5th Symphony;

it presents itself with a feeling,

that you know it if you heard it once, and you’ll look for it;

though you know it, you must hear it again,

though you know it, you must hear it again.

– Louis I. Kahn


(An excerpt from the movie My Architect, which is a fine documentary worth seeing.)