Emotional spasm

1) Placing inordinate emphasis on the most trivial matters by reacting to shallow momentary emotional spasms are not the best grounds for developing any sort of deeper fulfillment in life and leads one to continual momentary dissatisfaction.

2) I say explore life’s deeper values and exercise the governance (not blind governance) of all deeper values in ones life while rejecting the shallow emotional reactions. Just the starting point to any sort of meaningful life: practice.

3) Balance and moderation in all things is an art: habit.

Them you or me

Take away intent, meaning or point
You take away a mans (woman or zers)
Meaning to be.
It’s the over complication
Of life
To be more than it has or needs to be
For if we look deeply
We see the person that is in front of me
Them, you or me needs to be
The person we set out to be
What’s next?
Nothing but me
What does this even mean?
Can we even comprehend
If we cannot see ourselves honestly?
Unfortunately this is where the disconnect
Between them, you and me is what I see
We miss the unity
Because once I know and understand the person in the mirror
Nothing but a brother stands in the world I see
And there is only unity
Symbolic gestures are part of who we are
But more deeply it is what lies in a persons heart.

I am not a poet, as you can see, nor am I even good at writing poems. I usually right whats on my mind as a way of helping me articulate and deepen my thinking and thought process. The above is sort of in response to some things I have noticed and the best way I know how to point as what I think is a root problem in our country is.

I would describe myself as a classical liberal (look up what this means because it is totally different than the modern term liberal) and I emphasize duty and personal responsibility. I have come to this point of view through meditative practices (understanding my minds conditions) and the studying of various schools of philosophical thought as well as a belief in the scientific method.

Learn To Setting Systems, Not Goals

I thought the below video was great and several years ago I sort of abandoned goal setting and starting the process I call ‘learning to live’, or as the video says “Setting systems”.  As we age we begin to see that life has this sort of pulse feeling to it.  We set a goal and achieve it but soon after we feel empty again.

The idea that I construct is I somehow think that once I arrive at a particular point then I will have made it, then I will feel satisfied, or then I can rest; however, this is one of the greatest lies. The lie persists in our society that it is money or obtaining a particular material wealth. I found myself achieving my personal goals as well as the societal goals; however, I still had this permanent uneasy unsatisfied feeling. Why? (If anyone reading might now think this is about bashing on our current system/culture but I don’t believe so.)

Over the past several years I started to teach myself to enjoy the process. I can set goals but this is merely one aspect of the process; learning how to enjoy where I am now is another; learning how to be ok with this uneasy feeling within is a part; learning how to connect spiritually; learning how to connect culturally. Lastly, and this is for me the most important part, learning that ITS ALL LIFE!

An example in my own life right now is that I’m learning to play the piano.

1) I want to learn how to play and I have an idea of where I’d like to be; this for me is setting the goal.

2) I now set sail on that journey; now I must understand and be OK with exactly where I am in this process. This part is very important to practice. As we practice this step, and this might sound weird, but it get intergraded with our entire being. A flowing with life begins to emerge.

3) There have been days that I don’t want to practice but I do it anyway. This is being ok with feeling uneasy and knowing that these feelings are fleeting.

4) I learn that I never really arrive. It is always a series of journeys. Its a process of learning to be fully in where I am are AND being able to move forward. I begin to see that all these daily practices and daily investments in being is an opportunity for me to finally start living my life and while also moving forward at the same time. I’m learning to understand how to properly and see this friction and move with it, adapt if you will.

5) Some days are good and some aren’t. I see more clearly that it is all life! I move, I practice, I feel, I practice, I enjoy, I practice, I hurt, I practice, I set goals, I practice, I listen, I practice. I see that it has never been me, I practice. I added 5 which might seem off topic but really isn’t. It’s all connected. I’m not just practicing playing the piano when I’m sitting in front of it. Habits don’t really care.

Probabilistic States (updated@3:12 pm)

Ok, I really need some help here with this thought.

Yesterday I was thinking what is a probability? Do probabilities really exist? The famous slit experiment shows that light is both a wave and a partial and the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics says that it will remain in a probabilistic state until its observed, which is what the slit experiment verifies. Schrodinger’s thought experiment points to the paradox of this to reality (Schrodinger’s cat). Something is not in a probabilistic state, it is either is or isn’t. I know these are excessively simple explanations and if you want to learn more hop on youtube or a good book on the subject is: The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene

I need some help with this thought, so I see both views as correct. Life cannot exist in a state that has happened but our current moment is the state of completion. If this probabilistic state did not exist everything would be over, period. It would be this “on” followed by an intimidate “off”. To me it seems unfathomable how quickly the entire birth and death of of our universe would occur. The entire process would be over the exact moment it began, liken it to never existing. So we open the box and the cat is alive (or dead for the more morbid:) ) it cannot exist in a probabilistic: something either is or isn’t but there is a cat and we are here. Let me try one more illustration, as I am driving I will either turn left or go straight (going right isn’t an option) now this is undetermined until I do, or make up my mind and before then it is impossible to know what will occur. We can make very accurate educated guess using the latest scientific equipment and our understanding in human behavior but in the end it either is or isn’t, it happens or it doesn’t. There isn’t such a thing as probably turning after or as it occurs. Where does this state exist then? We know it does from personal experience and through scientific observation.

Let us shrink the moment I made up my mind to turn to the smallest moment of time our measly minds can comprehend, I believe this illustration points to something. I am thinking it points to consciousness itself the ‘now’ as it occurs, or the slightest moment before it occurs. This space seems so small. So small in fact that it seems to both exist and not exist simultaneously. Our consciousness is this slightest moment or bridge between or maybe, in other words, our consciousness is the probabilistic state itself (the thing we call life) but we can only see the completed state. I’m not quite sure how else to explain it which is why I need some help. So I wouldn’t mind ideas to help formulate this thought (perhaps this really is an old thought and has been discussed many times before) or you can tell me how whacked I am.

To Know and To Not Do

Yesterday my wife, son and I went downtown to this little art/car show. We invited my mom, and she never declines an opportunity to go, go, go! As we were out my mom was complaining about her knee, and I reminded her, with a smile, that she knew we were going to be out walking around. She said, “I know and I’m sorry for complaining. It’s not really my knee. I’ve just had a bunch of frustrating things on my mind the past week.”

We began talking and my mom was concerned about (I will call this person Ab) Ab and there current situation in life. She said, “I just don’t understand why Ab just can’t get it.”
I then quoted one of my favorite quotes, “To know and to not do is to not really know.” by Stephen Covey.  We then spoke about all various programs they have undergone, counselings, and books read. We chatted for awhile about the different type of knowledge one can posses, and also touched on how Ab’s life has has been in a disarray for some time. It was a nice afternoon.

This morning I was thinking about our conversation, Ab, and the to know and not do quote. I think this quote is correct but I approached it from a different angle. This is the new angle: To know and to not do is to not have developed the habit. This is more of an Aristotelian approach/thought.

We are in an age of information. We can access the most profound wisdom known to mankind. However, this information is actually pointless. This information changes nothing. We merely reflect the habits we cultivate in our life. A lot of the time we let life, people, culture, norms, and our inner impulses cultivate us. We are the pin ball inside the machine destined to get launched by whatever we rub up against. Thus, as time passes, a gap emerges  between what we know and what we do and inverse for those that practice intentionally.

Build new habits. Sounds easy enough. Often we confuse excitement with habit but the moment the newness wears off we are left standing  with all the old urges, impulses, feelings and habits we spent a lifetime cultivating, a lot of the time unknowingly. This new building habits business isn’t as easy as the books like to tell us its. Those of us who have tired to “start anew” know the strength of our old ways.

Solution? I don’t really have one but I can share how I starting practicing mindfulness 3 years ago. How can I remember to be mindful when I’m not mindful, I thought. For my first couple of weeks I tried this mindfulness stuff but I was usually lost for the whole day before I’d remember to be mindful. I wanted to step my game up so I downloaded an application (insight timer) so I could have a reminder bell. For the first year of my practice I set a bell to chime every 10 minutes, I am not laying and I do know this is sort of extreme. 99 percent people thought I was weird, and may people would say things like, “what the hell is that noise?”, “Is that you dinging all the time?” “Oh my god, that is so annoying!”

But, hey, nothing changes if nothing changes. This is what I will continue to say to Ab and the advice I would give to anyone looking to change. There is research, and I know for my practice, that thoughts, feelings, emotions, urges only last 90 seconds (I never timed but I know they arise and fade quickly) if you do not “feed the beast”. So your only 90 seconds away from to reinforcing your new habit and slowly cultivating over the years will change many things.

Below is a book I read about 3 years ago that I really enjoyed. The link is for an amazonsmile which gives a small percentage of the purchase to a charity at no cost to you. In this case it is a local food bank called Harry Chapin Food Bank.

The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner

Freewill?

We have freewill do we? Who is the one thinking our thoughts? Is freewill a continued state of giving unintentional attention to the thoughts that arise and then getting lost in them? Is freewill impulsively acting out however we feel? Wait, did I choose to feel this way at this moment and think this thought? Is freewill blaming others for making us feel this way? How can they make me feel this way if I am free?

Today is the day of change I declare! I act on my own accord and with complete autonomy. Wait, why did I just do that, again?

Who Are We Fighting?

Where do thoughts come from? Where do they originate? Do these questions even make sense? Is there really such thing as a beginning? Depending what we are looking for, I think our answers to such questions change relative to our perspective. Delving into these questions from some paradigms can produces fruitless answers. My formal education on the fields discussed below are limited; I only possess a natural curiosity that I like to tease. My finite knowledge comes from reading and pondering for which my ignorance to the ultimate depth and complexity of these questions will most certainly show.

Have you ever examined the intricacy of a trees root system? Or studied the interconnection of our entire ecosystem? Or tried to understand the neuroanatomy of our brains? Or our genome? We, as a species, are beginning to understand that life and its inner workings are not a simple linear trajectory. For example, before we mapped the human genome we thought, at least publicly, that upon completion we would know the specificity of each gene. In large, 14 years after the mapping we are still befuddled by the complexity of the whole workings of each gene. We are learning of a deep entanglement and a highly interdependent nature of the genes. Another such example, is our depth of understanding our brains neuroanatomy and which regions are responsible for distinct behaviors. Thus, we now know viewing the brain in an itemized way does not capture the workings wholly. As we continue our search for more knowledge and deepening our understanding in all areas of life from the individual parts and structures to grasping quantum mechanics we are become more aware of the vast entanglement and interdependent nature of reality. The paradigm from which we view reality greatly impacts the way we feel and see our external worlds.

As we saunter through life it seems that a lot of the time we view, with certainty, that a thought comes from an unambiguous location. It come from me, I was it’s originator. My feelings too come from specific locations. We think I too come from a specific location. In the case of anger and other emotions it comes from “them” or other people make us feel this way. In some ways there are some hints of truth to these thoughts and statements, but the view is usually to narrowly focused and it’s similar in saying certain genes only express certain properties, or that the rain comes from clouds, or that this distinct spot in the brain is responsible for hatred, envy, love, or compassion. We know such isolated views are wrong in a lot of contexts.

Think of a giant piece of grafting paper. If we mark one intersection and zoom in on that spot it will seem to only be a linear projection, either horizontal or vertical. However, if we zoom out we see a vast web and if we start to learn to view reality from this view a direct and independent origin doesn’t make sense: all of life is vastly entangled.

My point
Our thought, feeling, emotions and even “the self” is entangled and interdependent with external reality beyond comprehension. Ever aspect of your being is just as much “out there” as you feel as it is in you. If we are not aware of our natural tendencies and view our reality through the prism of the narrow view and one that is linear our thoughts, our actions, and our reasoning’s traps us, blinds us, and keeps us locked in a tiny sphere of reality. We end up seeing everything as an enemy and something we must fight and destroy. Our history books are rich of such examples. This belief is one of the main causes for hatred, anger, frustration, selfishness, greed, envy, and so forth. In this narrow view are a living in an idealistic world of our own making forever enslaved.  Just as written language is not natural but emerges from higher order thus taking intentionality for it emergence, so to is the view of interdependence. It take effort, intentionality and must be cultivated. With this view it is no longer a world of enemies, hatred, greed and selfishness but only a world in which people are stuck in our ancestors view of reality and in this world it is easy to relate and show compassion.

If anyone actually makes it this far I’d love to hear your thoughts, views and opinions so please share.