adding page while reading Ryan Holiday‘s (2019) stillness is the key
‘you may be sure that you are at peace w yourself’ seneca wrote ‘when no noise reaches you, when no word shakes you out of yourself, whether it be flattery or a thread, or merely an empty sound buzzing about you w unmeaning sin’
in english (apatheia): stillness.. to be steady while the world spins around you. to act w/o frenzy. to hear only what needs to be heard. to possess quietude – exterior and interior – on command
the news bombards us w one crisis after another.. the grind of work wears us down and seems to never stop. we are overfed and undernourished. overstimulated, overscheduled, and lonely.. who has the power to stop? who has time to think?
while the magnitude and urgency of our struggle is modern, it is rooted in a timeless problem.. pascal in 1654: ‘all of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone’
the stillness required to become master of one’s own life. to survive and thrive in any and every environ, no matter how loud/busy
this idea of stillness is not some soft new age nonsense or the domain of monks and sages, but in fact desperately necessary to all of us.. it is an attainable path *to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.. for every kind of person
‘is the key’ ness to *these things.. (earlier said to success).. ? hoping he let’s go of this.. we won’t get still enough.. if we have some/any agenda .. (ie’s of when stillness is needed: ‘military strategy; running hedge fund; playing super bowl’)
ie of lincoln’s military strategy as key ‘the war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket’.. as it happened, lincoln turned out to be exactly right.. it would take years, .. but the strategy laid out in that room was what won the war and ended slavery in america forever
ended slavery in america forever..? whoa
because he (lincoln) possessed the key that unlocked victory from the rancor and folly of all those early competing plans
it (stillness) is the key to (then has list which includes): id ing right goals; being productive; being a better investor;..
anyone who has given their best to something, felt pride of completion.. that’s stillness
completion? pride? stillness?
the aim of this book is simply to show how to uncover and draw upon the stillness we already possess.. it’s about the cultivation of and the connection to that powerful force give to us at birth, the one that has atrophied in our modern, busy lives..
this book is an attempt to answer the pressing question of our time: if the quiet moments are the best.. and if so many wise, virtuous people have sung their praises, why are they so rare?
the answer is that while we may naturally possess stillness, accessing it is not easy.. one must really listen to hear it speaking to us. and answering the call requires stamina and mastery.. garry shandling: ‘to hold the mind still is an enormous discipline.. one which must be face w the greatest commitment of your life’
yeah.. i don’t know.. for whales in sea world.. maybe.. but if we just let the whales out.. natural.. energy to do it .. natural.. no need for ‘commitment’ ‘training’ .. et al
part 1 – mind
the bhagavad gita: ‘the mind is restless, krishna, impetuous, self willed, hard to train: to master the mind seems as difficult as to master the mighty winds’
yeah.. not so sure the mind was designed to be trained
the domain of the mind
(on jfk and war strategies)
kennedy wanted everyone to slow down so that they could really think about the problem in front of them (on whether or not to destroy missile site)
this is in fact, the first obligation of a leader and a decision maker
go deeper.. rather.. why we shouldn’t have leaders/decision-makers
our job is not to ‘go w our gut’ or fixate on the first impression we form about an issue. no, we need to be strong enough to resist thinking that is too neat, too plausible, and therefore almost always wrong. because if the leader can’t take the time to develop a clear sense of the bigger picture .. who will?
has to be all of us.. not one leader
if the leader isn’t thinking thru all the way to the end, who is?
best to not be any of us.. esp not a leader
ie’s of jfk’s ‘stillness’ thru notes he took ‘missile, veto, consensus
kennedy, like lincoln, was not born w this stillness. he was a defiant troublemaker in high school.. he had his demons and he made plenty of mistakes
so missing it.. go deeper
marina abramovic (on her 3 month sit/stare performance at moma): ‘people don’t understand that the hardest thing is actually doing something that is close to nothing.. it demands all of you.. there is no object to hide behind. it’s just you’..
being present demands all of us. it’s not nothing.. it may be the hardest thing in the world..
as we stand on podium.. our mind is focused not on task but on what everyone will think of us.. as we struggle w a crisis.. mind repeats on a lop just how unfair/insane this is.. why are we draining ourselves of essential emotional/mental energies right when we need them most?
there may be a beautiful sunset, but instead of taking it in, we’re takin a pic of it.. we are not present.. and so we miss out. on life. on being our best. on seeing what’s there..
monet to see law: ‘to see we must forget the name of the thing we are looking at.’
many of the people in line to see marina’s performance accidentally illustrate this phenom.. rushed by her art to be first in line, chatted/napped to kill time, planned what they would do when it was their turn.. how much ordinary wonderfulness they closed their minds to..
then after.. immediately resume busy lives.. in short.. did they do exactly what all of us do most of every single day? we do not live in this moment. we.. try desperately to get out of it – by thinking, doing, talking worrying, remembering, hoping, whatever.. we sign up for endless activities and obligations, chase money and accomplishments, all w the naive belief that at the end of it will be happiness..
tolstoy observed that love can’t exist off in the future.. love is only real if it’s happening right now.. if you think about it,t hat’s true for basically everything we think, fee, or do.. there is no greatness in the future, or clarity, or insight, or happiness, or peace.. there is only this moment
not literally 60 seconds.. the real present moment is what we choose to exist in.. however long we can push away the impression of what’s happened before and what we worry or hope might occur at some other time.. right now can be a few minutes or a morning or a year – it you can stay in it that long..
who is so certain that the’ll get another moment that they can confidently skip over this one? the less energy we waste regretting the past or worrying about the future, the more energy we will have for what’s in front of us
we want to learn to see the world like an artist: while other people are oblivious to what surrounds them,t he artist really sees.. their mind, fully engaged.. notices the way a bird flies or the way a stranger holds their fork or a mother looks at her child.. they have no thoughts of the morrow.. all they are thinking about is how to *capture and communicate this experience
*need to let go of that as well.. no?
free art-ists.. all of us
don’t reject a difficult or boring moment because it is not exactly what you want. don’t waste a beautiful moment because you are insecure or shy. make what you can of what you have been given. live what can be lived.. that’s what excellence is.. that’s what presence makes possible
if you’ve had trouble w this in the past.. that’s ok.. that’s the nice thing about the present. it keeps showing up to give you a second chance..
limit your inputs
napoleon instructing his secretary to wait 3 weeks before opening any correspondence.. loved to note how many supposedly ‘important’ issues had simply resolved themselves and no longer required a reply.. he had to be selective about who and what kind of info got access to his brain..
1990’s – the cnn effect – too much info
‘if you wish to improve’ epictetus once said, ‘be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters’
give little things a little space, don’t consume news in real time, be a season or two behind on latest trend/cultural phenom.. let trivial problems resolve themselves .. the important stuff will still be important by the time you get to it.. the unimportant will have made its insignificance obvious (or simply disappeared).. then, w stillness rather than needless urgency or exhaustion, you will be abet to sit down and give what deserves consideration your full attention
there is ego in trying to stay up; on everything.. thee is ego in trying to appear the most informed person in the room..
taleb knowledge law et al
if we were stiller, more confident, had the longer view, what truly meaningful subject could we dedicate our mental energy to?
eishenhower found.. most of what was truly important was not remotely time sensitive.. allowed them to be strategic rather than reactive.. a mile deep on what mattered rather than an inch on too many things
today.. we can go even deeper.. still reactive if being still/strategic over that finite set of choices..
first thing great chiefs of staff do.. is limit the amount of people who have access to the boss..so the boss can see the big picture.. so the boos has time and room to think.. because if the boss doesn’t.. nobody can
that’s whack.. needs to be all of us.. today it can be all of us
knowing what not to think about. what to ignore and not to do. it’s your first and most important job
nah.. just listening to your heart.. makes all that (wasted energy on deciding what to focu on) irrelevant
it you want good output, you have to watch over the inputs.. this will take discipline.. it will not be easy.. this means fewer alerts/notification.. blocking in coming tests.. questioning that ‘open door’ policy.. it means pushing away selfish people who bring needless drama into our lives..
rather.. it means creating a global ecosystem.. where everybody has something else to do (the thing they can’t not do).. then all this you’re talking about .. again.. becomes irrelevant.. and some of it inhumane.. (ie: pushing away people, closed doors, ..)
the way you feel when you awake early in the morning and your mind is fresh and as yet unspoiled by the noise of the outside world – that’s space worth protecting..
it is in this stillness that we can be present and finally see truth. it is in this stillness we can hear the voice inside us..
not so much about truth.. but about true north ness.. ie: fittingness
how different would the world look if people spent as much time listening to their conscience as they did to chattering broadcasts..
empty the mind
‘..’childlikeness’ has to be restores w long years of training in the art of self forgetfulness. when this is attained, man thinks yet he does not think’ – d t suzuki
as shawn green stepped into batter’s box for 6th and final time, he said to himself, ‘there’s no sense in thinking now’.. he cleared his mind, and enjoyed himself like a kid a ta little league game.. no pressure. just presence. just happy to be there
well.. like a kid.. a free kid.. not little league
slow down, think deeply
on mr rogers show starting w yellow yield light.. to slow down. be considerate. be aware..
as a child in pa, fred rogers had been a victim of vicious bulling. kids picked on him because of his weight and because he was sensitive about it.. it was a horrible experience.. but this pain spurred his groundbreaking work in public tv.. ‘i began a lifelong search for what is essential’ he said about his childhood ‘wha tit is about my neighbor that doesn’t meet the eye’.. he even framed a print of that idea on the wall of his production studio in pittsburgh, a snipped form one of his fav quotes: what’s essential is invisible to the eye..
see with heart ness
that is: appearances are misleading. first impressions are too. we are disturbed and deceived by what’s on the surface, by what others see. then we make bad decisions, miss opps, or feel scared or upset.. particularly when we don’t slo down and take the time to really look
monet to see law et al
we can’t be disturbed by initial appearances, and if we are patient and still, the truth will be revealed to us.. that’s what mr rogers taught children to do..he’d help them clear up understandable confusion or fears.. he reassured his viewers that they could figure just about anything out if they took the time to work thru it.. with him.. together
we have to get better at thinking, deliberately and intentionally, about the big questions
if we’re still enough.. we’ll realize.. the ‘big questions’ are a distraction as well.. symptoms of not being still enough
to see what matters you really have to look.. to understand it, you have to really think. it takes real work to grasp what is invisible to just about everyone else
perhaps only because today it requires detox first.. after detox.. it’s natural
this will not only be advantageous to your career and your business, but it will also help you find peace and comfort
won’t get to peace with those goals..
we’re talking as certainties impressions we have yet to test..
whales in sea world et al
twyla tharp exercise: mindless mental wandering for 10 min or so.. until you ensure that something interesting will come to mind.. the gaelic phrase for this state of mind is ‘quietness w/o loneliness’
dang.. let go of the goals.. the outcomes..
if you invest the time and mental energy, you’ll not only find what’s interesting.. you’ll find truth.. what other people have missed.. solutions to the problems we face – whether it’s insight to the logic of the soviets and their missiles in cuba, or how to move your business forward, or how to make sense of senseless violence..
(war? business? violence?).. let go
anne frank: ‘paper has more patience than people’
anne used her journal to reflect. ‘how noble and good everyone could be’ she wrote ‘if at the end of the day they were to review their own behavior and weigh up the rights/wrongs.. they would automatically try to do better at the start of each new day, and after a while, would certainly accomplish a great deal’.. she observed that writing allowed her to watch herself as if she were a stranger
michael foucault talked of the ancient genre of hupomnemata (notes to oneself).. this is what the best journals look like. they aren’t for the reader.. they are for the writer.. to slow the mind down.. to wage peace w oneself..
journaling is away to ask tough questions: where am i standing in my own way? what’s the smallest step i can take toward a big thing today? why am i so worked up about this? what blessings can i count right now? what’s the harder choice i’m avoiding?
if we are truly free to be truly still.. those ‘harder’ questions all become irrelevant/distractions.. clears us (as you keep pushing for – clarity).. toward what naturally/indigenously matters from deep within.. ie: daily curiosities
that’s the idea.. instead of carrying that baggage around in our heads/hearts, we put it down on paper.. instead of letting racing thoughts run unchecked or leaving half baked assumption unquestioned, we force ourselves to write and examine them.. putting your own thinking down on paper lets you see it from a distance..
it’s a few minutes of reflection that both demands and creates stillness.. it’s a break from the world.. a framework for the day ahead.. a coping mech
today .. we have the means for it to simply be data used to augment our interconnectedness
john cage: ‘wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise.. when we ignore it, it disturbs us. when we listen to it, we find it fascinating’
to cage, silence was not necessarily the absence of all sound
yeah.. he said that wasn’t possible..
how many of us have ever come close to this kind of quiet? (john in 51 in anechoic chamber).. reducing the noise and chatter around you to the degree that you can literally hear your own life? can you imagine? what you could do w that much silence..
from an\echo chamber page:
we’re believing these spaces of permission with nothing to prove – and especially spaces/apps for self-talk – need to be like an echo chamber – a means to block out external noise/mindsets. (so maybe ongoingly echo and/or anechoic)
4’33” was never about achieving perfect silence ti’s about what happens when you stop contributing to the noise.. the song was first performed at woodstock, ny, by david tudor ‘there’s no such thing as silence’ cage said of that first performance.. ‘what they thought was silence, because they didn’t know how to listen, was full of accidental sounds.. the wind.. rain.. people..’
thomas carlyle: ‘thought will not work except in silence’..
the ticking of the hands of your watch is telling you how time is passing away, never to return. listen to it
diogenes laertius would write that what made socrates so wise was that ‘he knew nothing except just the fact of his ignorance’
if zeno and buddha needed teachers to advance, then we will definitely need help
the wise are still because they have seen it all
i thought wisdom was in saying you haven’t seen it all..?
find confidence, avoid ego
be confident.. you’ve earned it
ugh.. and so many war leader ie’s..
what kenzo wanted students to do was to put the thought of hitting the target out of their minds. he wanted them to detach even form the idea of an outcome
yeah.. most of us don’t have a clue what that means..
stillness then.. is actually away to superior performance
? outcome: superior performance
on to what’s next
history teaches us that peace is what provides the opp to build. it is the postwar boom that turns nations into superpowers, and ordinary people into powerhouses.. and so we must go onward to fight the next battle, to pacify the domain of the spirits and purify our hearts/emotions/drives/passions
history of whales in sea world.. why we never get to authentic peace
part 2 – spirit
epictetus: ‘most of us would be seized w fear if our bodies went numb, and would do everything possible to avoid it, yet we take no interest at all in the numbing of our souls
the domain of the soul
(on tiger woods and his father) the e word (enough) was something quitters said, that only losers believed in
this was what he had been taught by his parents, who raised him both as a kind of prince and a prisoner in a psychological experiment. ‘i felt i had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me.. i felt i was entitled’.. tortured by a spiritual malady and a crushing anxiety from which there was no relief.. his mind was strong but his soul ached..
like so many of us, tiger had unconsciously replicated the most painful and worst habits of his parents..
eventually one has to say the e word, enough. or the world says it for you
mental stillness will be short lived if our hearts are on fire, or our souls ached w emptiness.. we are incapable of seeing wha tis essential in the world if we are blind to what’s going on w/in us..
tiger woods wasn’t just a solitary man; he was, like so many os us in the modern world, an island. he might have been famous, but he was a stranger to himself..
marcus aurelius: ‘what am i doing with my soul’
zen lit – 10 poems about a farmer and his trouble w a bull: search for bull, track footprints, find it, catch it, tame it , ride it home ‘being well trained, he becomes naturally gentle.. then unfettered, he obeys his master’.. the narrator is in a state of serenity and peace. he has tamed his wild spirit’
yeah.. i think we have that backwards..
the work we must do.. located in the heart and in the soul, and not in the mind..
that is why those who seek stillness must come to: develop a strong moral compass; steer clear of envy and jealousy and harmful desires; ..
rather.. simply listen deeper.. and trust that that is enough.. all those things listed are outcomes/distractions/responses..
ralph waldo emerson ‘the essence of greatness is the perception that virtue is enough
no one is more exhausted than the person who, because they lack a moral code, must belabor every decision and consider every temptation.. meanwhile the person who knows what they value.. who has a strong sense of decency and principle and behaves accordingly.. who possesses easy moral self command, who leans comfortably upon this goodness, day in and day out..? this person has found stillness
perhaps we have that all backwards.. sounds more like dogma (then his ie is of a politician with this ‘virtue’)
the gift of free will is that in this life we can choose to be good or we can choose to be bad.. we can choose what standards to hold ourselves to and what we will regard as important, honorable, and admirable.. the choices we make in that regard determine whether we will experience peace or not
which is why each of us needs to sit down and examine ourselves.. what do we stand for.. what are we living for.. deep in the marrow of our bones, in the chambers of our heart, we know the answer.. *the problem is that the busyness of life, the realities of pursuing a career and surviving in the world, come between us and that self knowledge
and..too.. *the problem is thinking something virtuous/honorable/good-vs-bad.. is what dwells deep w/in us.. what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people.. not the virtue of 8b ‘good’ people (whales in sea world).. we need fittingness.. eudaimoniative surplus
what is virtue? seneca would ask. his answer: ‘true and steadfast judgment’.. and from virtue comes good decisions and happiness and peace.. it emanates from the soul and directs the mind and the body
we don’t do things.. in order to get peace.. we listen deeper to the peace that is already there
(on seneca) it was as if he didn’t believe in his own philosophy enough to put it wholly into practice.. he couldn’t quite accept that virtue would provide enough to live on
we do the same.. but with love .. (it’s not virtue that’s enough .. it’s love).. but we can’t seem to love unconditionally..
virtue is a far more attainable and sustainable way to succeed.. no one can stop you from knowing what’s right.. we develop good character, strong epithets for ourselves.. so when it counts, we will not flinch. so that when everyone else is scared and tempted, we will be virtuous.. we will be still..
life is not about knowing what’s right.. not about succeeding.. not about not flinching (that’s not still ness).. and it sure can’t be about something that we compare our success to others’ fears.. thurman interconnectedness law: when you understand interconnectedness it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying – .. has to be about all of us.. ie: love
heal the inner child
a person enslaved to their urges is not free.. the most common form of lust is envy.. the lust for what other people have, for the sole reason that they have it..
epicurus: /what ill happen to me if i get what i want? how will i feel after?
what we need isa philosophy and a strong moral code – that sense of virtue – to help us resist what we can, and to give us the strength to pick ourselves back up when we fail and try to do and be better
to have an impulse and to resist it, to sit with it and examine it, to let it pass by like a bad smell – this is how we develop spiritual strength.. this is how we become who we want to be in this world
that’s reactionary.. that’s not living..
what do we want more of in life? it’s not accomplishments/popularity.. it’s moments when we feel like we are enough..
enough ness.. for that.. begs we be quiet enough
bathe in beauty
on wonder and wildness.. in doing this, in noticing, we become alive to the stillness..
it’s ironic that stillness is rare and fleeting in our busy lives, because the world creates an inexhaustible supply of it. it’s just that nobody’s looking
accept a higher power
stillness requires other people.. indeed, it is for other people
conquer your anger
all is one
with it we lose the selfishness and self absorption at the root of much of the disturbance in our lives
john cage came to understand something similar as he embrace his own quirky, unique style of music, .. rather than trying to be like everyone else. ‘that one sees that the human race as one person.. enables him to see that originality is necessary, for there is no need for eye to do what hand does so well..’
times beg ai to be augmenting interconnectedness to get us back to an undisturbed ecosystem – ‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows
everyone is necessary
to love all is to be at peace with all.. including yourself
on to what’s next
quote on fred rogers’s wall was actually only a partial quote.. rest appears in the little prince.. ‘here is my secret. it is very simple: it is only w the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye’
part 3 – body
the domain of the body
ie’s of churchill and war
churchill was happy because he got out of his own head and put his body to work
more war ie’s
wu wei is the ability to hold the bat back – waiting until the batter sees the perfect pitch..
the green light isa powerful symbol in our culture. we forget what mr rogers was trying or make us see – that the yellow/red light are just as important. slow down. stop..
somebody who thinks they’re nothing and don’t matter because they’re not doing something for even a few days is depriving themselves of stillness, yes – but they are also closing themselves off form a higher plane of performance that comes out of it
yeah.. focusing on that ‘higher plane of performance’ as a reward.. is a killer
we should look fearfully, even sympathetically, at the people who have become slaves to their calendars, .. whose lives seem to resemble a fugitive fleeing one scene for the next.. each of us needs to get better at saying no.. ‘no i’d rather not’, ‘no i don’t need that’
maybe it’s not the most virtuous thing to say ‘no sorry i can’t.. when you really can but just don’t want to ..
there’s that poisonous virtue again..
when we know what to say no to we can say yes to the things that matter
gupta roadblock law.. et al
take a walk
friedrich nietzsche – ‘it is only ideas gained form walking that have any worth’
walk able ness
every afternoon in copenhagen.. k never seemed to walk straight – he zigged/zagged, crossing the street w/o notice, trying to always remain in the shade. when he had either worn himself out, worked thru what he was struggling with, or been struck w a good idea, he would run around and make for home, where he would write for the rest of the day.. walking was how he released the stress and frustration that his philosophical explorations inevitably created
to his sister in law, who was often bedridden and depressed as a result, k wrote of the importance of walking.. ‘above all’ he told her in 1847 ‘do not lose your desire to walk: every day i walk myself into a state of well being and walk away from every illness; i have walked myself into my best thoughts, and i know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it’
k believed that sitting still was a kind of breeding ground for illness. but walking, movement, to him was almost sacred.. it cleansed the soul and cleared the mind in away that primed his explorations as a philosopher.. life is a path, he liked to say, we have to walk it..
while k eloquent in his writing about walking.. he was by no means alone in his dedication to the practice.. tesla, hemingway, darwin, jobs, tversky, kahneman, king jr, whtiman, grant, .. freud, composer mahler spent as much as four hours a day walking to jot down ideas.. beethoven carried sheet music and writing utensil on walks for same reason.. , dorothy day, jesus,
how does walking – activity – get us closer to stillness..? yes, in motion, but not frenzied/conscious motion.. it’s repetitive, ritualized motion.. deliberate.. an exercise of peace
key to a good walk is to be aware/present.. breathe..
consider who might have walked this very spot in the centuries before you
? why that.. that’s not being present..
feel the unfamiliarity, get lost, be unreachable. go slowly..
it’s an affordable luxury available to us all
what.. ? i don’t think so (ie: anne frank)
researchers at stanford have found that walker perform better on tests that measure ‘creative divergent thinking’.. treatment for depression
ugh to the tests..
in our own search for beauty and what i s good in life, we would do well to head outside and wander around..
build a routine
(after listing some athletes w routine) isn’t the whole point of greatness that you’re freed from trivial rules and regs? that you can do whatever you want.. ah.. but the greats know that complete freedom is a nightmare. they know that order is a prereq of excellence and that in an unpredictable world, good habits are a safe haven of certainty
yeah.. i think we have that all wrong.. perhaps we think we need it now.. because we’ve lost our undisturbed ecosystem.. we’re like whales in sea world.. but even so.. what have we ever done that is truly great.. ie: mufleh humanity law: we have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity– Luma Mufleh
discipline is how we maintain that freedom..
ie’s of sports guys, presidents, military leaders – 1\ assuming that’s what life is all about – calling it greatness.. and 2\ assuming we’ve every known/seen/been freedom
done enough times, done w sincerity and feeling, routine become ritual. the regularity of it – the daily cadence – creates deep and meaningful experience..
most people wake up to face the day as an endless barrage of bewildering and overwhelming choices, one right after another. what do i wear/eat.. what should i do first.. next.. needless to say , this is exhausting
and a waste of energy.. that’s why we need to focus on curiosity over decision making
when we automate and routinize the trivial parts of life, but also make automatic good/virtuous decisions, we free up resources to do important and meaningful exploration..
yeah.. whales in sea world have to do that.. but i don’t think truly free people do..
to make that possible, you must go now and get your house in order. get your day scheduled. limit the interruptions. limit the number of choices you needs to make
it’s the finite set of choices that are killing us
too random, too chaotic for the true master
1\ maybe we weren’t meant to be ‘masters’.. and/or 2\ maybe we have that all wrong.. i believe fittingness comes more from disorder
a master is in control. a master has a system. a master turns the ordinary in to the sacred.. and so must we
get rid of your stuff
just as every hoarder becomes trapped by their own garbage, so too are we tied down by what we own
hardt/negri property law et al
john boyd: ‘if a man can reduce his needs to zero.. he is truly free.. there is nothing that can be taken from him and nothing anyone can do to hurt him.. ‘
the person who si afraid to lose their stuff, who has their id wrapped up in their things, give their enemies and opening.. they make themselves extra vulnerable to fate
tennessee williams spoke of luxury as the ‘wolf at the door’.. it wasn’t the possessions that were the problem, he said, but the dependency.. he called it the catastrophe of success, the way that we become less and less able to do things ourselves, the more and more we cannot be w/o a certain level of service.. not only is all your stuff a mess, but you need to pay someone to come clean it up
want to have less to be mad about? less to covet or be triggered by? give more away..
your grandmother didn’t give you that brooch so you’d constantly worry about losing it. the artist .. was not working hard so that you might one day fear that a guest would damage it..
in love w possessions instead of people.. the family who never see each other because the two parents are working late to pay off the extra bedrooms they never use.. the fame that keeps someone on the road so much they’re a stranger to their kids.. this is not a rich life.. there is no peace in this
you were born free – free of stuff, free of burden.. but since the first time they measure your tiny body for clothes, people have been foisting stuff upon you.. and you’ve been adding links to the pile of chains yourself ever since..
john graves: ‘a crowded world thinks that aloneness is always loneliness and that to seek it is perversion
eugen herrigel: to find solitude ‘not in far off, quiet places; he creates it out of himself, spreads it around him wherever he may be, because he loves it
james mattis: ‘it’s lack of reflection.. solitude allows you to reflect while others are reacting. we need solitude to refocus on prospective decision making, rather than just reacting to problems as they arise’
thomas merton (1941 – 26 yrs old) his solitude was active exploration of himself, o f religion, of human nature, and alter, into solving serious societal problems like ineq, war, and injustice. in his beautiful journals, we find insights into the human experience that would have been impossible if merton had spent his time in a newspaper bullpen or even on a uni campus.. he would come to call solitude his vocation.. he wrote:
to pray and work in the morning and to labor and rest in the afternoon, and to sit still gain in meditation in the evening when night falls upon that land and when the silence fills itself w darkness and w stars.. this si true/special vocation. there are few who are willing to belong completely to such silence, to let ti soak into their bones, to breathe nothing but silence, to feed on silence, and to turn the very substance of their life into a living and vigilant silence
quiet enough ness
gates’ think week
we need to give our bodies, as virginia woolf put it, a room of our own – even if only for a few stolen hours – where we can think and have quiet and solitude..
it’s had to make that time. ti’s hard (and expensive) to get away..
twyla tharp: ‘solitude w/o purpose’ is a killer of creativity
hmm.. i don’t know.. maybe we’ve just never truly tried.. agendas seem more to be the cancer
his work was too important and the insights he discovered were too essential to remain locked up in a tiny brick house on the edge of the woods in kentucky
that goes for everyone.. not just merton (or whoever).. begs a mech (tech as it could be) to listen to every voice.. everyday..
(merton) now possessed solitude inside himself – and could access it anytime he liked.. the wise and busy also learn that solitude and stillness are there in pockets, if we look for them..
be a human being
karoshi – death from overwork in japan.. in korean it’s gwarosa
main cause of injury for elite athletes is not tripping, falling, collisions,.. it’s overuse..
it was a malicious lie that the nazis hung over the gates of auschwitz: arbeit macht frei – ‘work will set you free’ .. the russian proverb had it better: work just makes you bent over
it’s human being not human doing for a reason.
go to sleep
abusing the body leads the mind to abuse itself.. sleep is the recharging of the internal batteries whose energy stores we recruit in order to do our work.. it is a a meditative practice. it is stillness.. it’s the time when we turn off. it’s built into our biology for a reason..
art.. not work.. let go
if you want peace,.. if you want to be your best.. just one thing to do.. go to sleep
find a hobby
aristotle: this is the main question, w what activity one’s leisure is filled
john cage – mushroom hunting; fred rogers – swimming; einstein – violin; pythagoras – lyre; .. let it relax you and give you peace..
josef pieper: ‘the ability to be ‘at leisure’ is one of the basic powers of the human soul’
leisure is not the absence of activity, ti is activity. wha tis absent is any external justification – you can’t do leisure for pay, you can’t do it to impress people.. you have to do it for you
fittingness – life as leisure.. to get us back/to an undisturbed ecosystem.. ‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows
ovid: it’s in this leisure that ‘we reveal what kind of people we are’
our bodies are busy, but our minds are open. our hearts too.
of course, leisure can easily become an escape, ,but the second that happens it’s not leisure anymore.. when we take something relaxing and turn it into a compulsion, it’s not leisure, because we’re not longer choosing it
while we don’t want our leisure to become work, we do have to work to make time for them
yeah.. i don’t think that’s true
we can quit.. cut corners.. w/o fear of repercussion.. no money is on the line to motivate us, no rewards or validation but the experience..
leisure is also a reward for the work we do
dang.. that’s poison.. let go
getting to know yourself is the luxury of the success you’ve had. finding fulfillment and joy in the pursuit of higher things, you’ve earned it..
earning ness is poison.. let go
it wasn’t restoration that fante was chasing, nor was it leisure, it was escape from real life.. that’s the diff between leisure and escapism. it’s the intention..
despair and restlessness go together. the problem is that you can’t flee despair.. you can’t escape, w your body, problems that exist in your mind and soul.. you can’t runaway from your choices – you can only fix them w *better choices
the one think you can’t escape in your life is yourself..
a plane ticket or a pill or some plant medicine is a treadmill, not a shortcut.. you have to be still enough to discover what’s really going on..
marcus aurelius pointed out that we don’t need to ‘get away from ti all’ we just need to look within. ‘nowhere you can go is more peaceful – more free of interruptions’ he said ‘than your own soul
next time feel urge to flee.. con’t book a cross country flight.. go for walk instead.. don’t get high – get some solitude, find some quiet.. travel inside your heart and your mind, and let the body stay put..
build a life you don’t need to escape from
problem is.. we’ve muddled things up so much.. many people can’t do this.. they’re like a turtle who’s had its shell taken away..
solution is.. return those shells..
fred rogers: to see people who will notice a need in the world and do something about it.. those are my heroes
camus: high minded thought and inner work are one thing, but all that matters is what you do.. in the moments of truth.. stillness is not an excuse to withdraw from the affairs of the world.. it’s a tool to let you do more good for more people..
for aristotle virtue wasn’t just something contained in the soul – it was how we lived.it was what we did. he called it eudaimonia: human flourishing..
a person who does good regularly will feel good..
rather.. a person who lives their fittingness will be at peace
a person who contributes to their community will feel like they are a part of one
nah.. can’t have a conditions/obligations/whatever.. or it’s not really belonging.. and w/o *belonging (attachment and authenticity) we’ll never get back/to an undisturbed ecosystem ‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows
we are doing it to live better and be better.. every person we meet and every situation we find ourselves in is an opp to prove that
do the hard good deeds. ‘you must do the thing you cannot do’ eleanor roosevelt said
rather.. let’s do the thing(s) we can’t not do..
what is on the other side of goodness is true stillness
not deep enough man.. within/swimming-with fittingness is stillness
if we want to be good and feel good we have to do good.. there is no escaping this
cancer man.. let go
on to the final act
from still page:
thinking that still\ness is a part of the 24/7 dance. the together aloneness.. that makes the dance dance.. and keeps the dance dancing. the juice/energy that lasts/thrives coming from being quiet enough.
Susan Cain – the restorative niche.. which can be found in togetherness and/or aloneness and/or wilderness..
makes me think of John Cage.