Archive of November 2017
Nov 24, 2017
The point is that what makes something a distraction isn’t necessarily that it’s stupid or silly. It’s the role it’s playing in your life. If it’s helping you numb out, or put off important but scary tasks, or avoid asking tough questions about how you’re spending your time, it’s a problem, whatever the details. Seemingly productive work can easily be a distraction, if it’s not the work that counts. Even deeply meaningful activities can be distractions. That’s the logic behind a suggestion attributed to the investor Warren Buffett: first, write down your top 25 goals for life; then identify the most important five, focus on them, and avoid the other 20 like the plague – because they’re the seductive ones most likely to distract you, precisely because they do matter. They just don’t matter most.
Nov 22, 2017
But after showing up, there’s another critical aspect of agility: Stepping out. Deeper analysis over the years shows that unlike brooders or bottlers, or those who let it all hang out in big venting rants, the writers who thrived the most began to develop insight, using phrases such as “I have learned,” “It struck me that,” “the reason that,” “I now realize,” and “I understand.” In the process of writing, they were able to create the distance between the thinker and the thought, the feeler and the feeling, that allowed them to gain a new perspective, unhook, and move forward.
Nov 20, 2017
Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love.
— Simone Weil
A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.
— Carl Sagan
Nov 16, 2017
So. There’s no need to fight. Not for peace, not for enlightenment, not for life. Just surrender. Let the battles raging in your mind end. There’s peace there, just beneath the struggle, in the heart of your heart, which is the witness, which is the whole universe in you. That’s all that you are really looking for. That oneness, truth, reality, connection. The harder that you’re fighting, the truer it is.
The true self is just awareness. Pure and unmarred. The false self, the thing we call a self, is a fiction, a thought, an idea, a mental construction. It has no reality at all.
Nov 14, 2017
We should spend more time wasting time. We all need to be bored more. We all need to spend more time looking quizzically at birds we don’t recognize. We all need a little more time to connect the dots and see if they matter. I don’t know how much more, but sometimes you have to do things without knowing how much you need.
This moment’s goal of productivity, with its all-consuming practice and unattainable horizon, is perfect for our current corporate world. Productivity never asks what it builds, just how much of it can be piled up before we leave or die. It is irrelevant to pleasure. It’s agnostic about the fate of humanity. It’s not even selfish, because production negates the self. Self can only be a denominator, holding up a dividing bar like a caryatid trying to hold up a stone roof.
Nov 13, 2017
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
— Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Nov 3, 2017
The art of being wise, is the art of knowing what to overlook.
— William James
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