State and Experience

Through mindfulness meditation and my reading this month, it seems there is enormous benefit to ‘showing care’ for whatever is happening. Acknowledging fantasy, acknowledging problems etc, but largely being oriented around the present.

It’s difficult to communicate these ideas,  it’s better to see them than to talk about them. Talking about them in a way pollutes them and makes them less pure and potent.

But, essentially, the essence of the mindset I want to develop is:

‘to show care for the activity at hand, so that the potential of the present can be realised’.

Right now my meditative practice is in a time-bound box. I do it sometimes in the morning, and it largely stays there. Now I want it to flood out. I want the insights to be embodied while I go about my daily life.

This also links in with something I identified at the end of summer this year when doing a big review of all my Saturday reflections.

The key areas to to focus on were:

  • creating pure, consistent focused time on priorities in the morning – especially deliberate practice and creating things
  • completing sat preps and daily tasks consistently.
  • being able to keep activities pure – approaching leisure with the correct attitude and approaching work with the correct attitude. The character of Zorbra the Greek come to think of it is probably where this idea first took hold. It’s about doing things properly – giving all things their due.
  •  developing the ‘game mindset’ more (creating more flow experiences in day to day life, and seeing the world around me as if for the first time, like a traveler).

Of these areas, the one I’m talking about here is the third and fourth. Although, all of these areas are so fundamental that each feeds the other.

If I master these different areas, I’ll be living my best life. This is the opposite of superficial self-improvement. These are deep, character, life and impact changing improvements.

A coaching session at work gave me an idea for how to go about making some of these changes in a highly practical, implementable way.

I need guides that clearly and evocatively describe what optimal performance looks like in a given task. These guides will show how to wring out the potential of major day to day life situations. These guides may not be written in words. I may find that a piece of art work embodies the message.

Areas with high potential: 

  • ‘the art of execution’
  • ‘how to listen to another person’ 
  • ‘the art of leisure’
  • ‘how to eat’ 
  • ‘how to wash yourself’ 
  • ‘how to get dressed’ 
  • ‘how to talk’ 
  • ‘how to set priorities for the day’ 
  • ‘how to set priorities for the week’ 
  • ‘how to learn from materials’
  • ‘how to cook’ 
  • ‘how to make a purchase’ 
  • ‘how to create order in your environment’
  • ‘how to respond to those that would exert their will over yours’
  • etc etc

From a personality perspective, this is a way of leveraging ‘openness to experience’ to make up for deficits in conscientiousness.

I don’t appreciate order, thoroughness etc etc. I do appreciate beauty, ideals and values. I also have a desire not to waste things, not to do things badly. This part of my mindset is more typical among the highly conscientious.

This approach to living is more in line with the type of person I am.

This approach is also in line with the concept of ‘flow’. The idea that by having goals in any given situation and sufficient feedback in your movement towards the goal, you can experience a state characterized by efficiency, presence and enjoyment.

This approach is also in line more broadly with the concept of discipline. Discipline often means ‘there’s a right way to do something and a wrong way’. I tend to adopt the attitude that there are many ways and all are acceptable routes to take through an experience. I do not believe this is true. You want to leave yourself open to seeing opportunity – you don’t want to be rigid – but then even creating the state that creates that openness requires discipline, as that is not something ‘all the routes through an experience’ are characterized by.

Finally, this is about integrating the different things that matter to you properly, so you give different tasks the care they deserve – that it would be great for you and those around you to have.

How then to deal with areas which are currently rampant? With ways of thinking and being that are dominant and addictive?

Self-centered problem solving, fantasy, You Tube videos etc etc – these things are not intrinsically bad, but as the coach said – I would benefit from developing a ‘present state’ for those things too.

This is kind of Napoleonic – creating boxes and categories for different ways of being – so you have more power to switch some on and switch others off.

In a sentence:

this is about doing things properly.

This is the opposite of the ‘sloppiness’ that is my greatest character weakness

I’m sloppy about everything – even leisure! That’s the painful bit. You don’t even get to say that you’re at laid back and free at least – because that requires a certain level of discipline, too.