I don’t know. You’re the judge for your own life. I find it enjoyable to figure things out. It’s similar to me solving a programming problem by seeking out a would-be solution to apply. Of life, a possible way to come to an understanding of my existence.
If you’re interested then I’ve some pointers to give and they might be useful in your journey.
This post is the seventh entry in a series of 13 about the story behind the app on Zen Enso. Before continuing, I would recommend reading prior entries first to get a better understanding and flow of the contents.
- A Spark That Kick Off a Quest of a Soul-searching Adventure
- It’s Very Entertaining Listening to Alan Watts
- The Old Man Pointing the Way
- 13 Lessons I learnt About Myself and Probably Useful to You as Well
- The Evolving Ideas and the Differences it Might Have
- What Zen Enso is Aiming for and Trying to Bring About
- Should Life be a Puzzle to be Figured Out?
- The Authors are Who They are: Human Beings
- How to Best Use Zen Enso and to Contemplate About Your Life
- How Does the Name Zen Enso Comes to Be?
- Zen Enso Could be One of My Best Work Yet
- The App Reception, Extra Resources, and a Closing to the Story
- The TLDR: We Don’t Have All the Time in the World!
Point of Entry
An emerging reaction, rising of emotions, bubbling opinion, or a sudden feeling of hurt can be used as a window to discover what is going on within our minds and ourselves. Learn to see this movement of thoughts and use it to reach the root of things.
It’s usually an image that is working in the background. Let’s say, I have a very strong self-image of being a capable problem solver superstar in work because I need to solve time-sensitive production issues as it arises. One day, I can’t do it or failed to do so. I feel hurt.
What was hurt is not me the organism (the body) but the image I’ve created of myself. Psychologically I feel hurt because the image I hold so dearly myself had a pin in the image. To remove the hurt, we can either go through therapy to remove the pin.
Or go the Krishnamurti route which is the best route anyone can wisely choose. By learning to see the whole structure of thought that is working within the mind. Then, remove these fictitious images and see reality for what it is. It’s only then right action and relationship can arise.
Go Broad and Read Widely
Go into many sources, read books, watch videos, listen to audiobooks in different disciplines, fields of studies, interests, religions, and philosophies to further dive into a subject.
Then, you could use google skillfully to your advantage. You can find so much information on a subject but learning to separate the wheat from the chaff is the real challenge.
I would recommend checking out the content on the HealthyGamerGG YouTube channel. Dr. K has clinical experience and his worldview on Yogi tradition which is helpful to explain some potential mental health issues facing us in the 21st century. He’s also a gamer.
If you have enough of exploration and want to get to the meat of things. I wholly recommend Jiddu Krishnamurti’s works. You don’t need to buy his books to understand what he is trying to help people to realize.
I would argue by watching his recorded lectures are enough on YouTube to open your eye and blow your mind wide open. The thing about understanding his work is all boils down to doing the work of questioning yourself which is hard work that most would like to avoid if possible and just passively consume.
I believe there’s no such thing as a painless awakening because we all love our tradition, culture, society, money, nationhood, religion, the things we’re brought up with as we enter society. If we do pass through and come out on the other end, a new reality emerges as our old structures slowly wither away.
Take the small steps and use self-awareness as a guide. In my experience, you’ll slowly be able to see things a bit clearer and you will understand yourself better this way.
Cultivating One’s Own Garden
I think it would be a great practice for everyone to cultivate proper and good thoughts daily as a way to prevent weeds from growing.
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.Marcus Aurelius
Any sticky thought has the potential to be manifested into action given with enough time to germinate. This is a double edge sword that if used wrongly can bring suffering and if wielded properly can make one grow and thrive.
That is why we keep hearing cliches phrases that “Mindset is everything”. There is a hint of truth to it because whatever you wanted to do must first originate from a thought/idea/concept/notion within the mind else you got nothing to build from.
A person who practices Stoic principles daily could produce a Stoic mindset to guide thoughts and reactions masterfully. Or an inquisitive mind can quickly deduce the true nature of things, I’m not talking about jumping to conclusions haphazardly but arriving at the root of the issue with great diligence.
A garden full of weeds is not conducive for the vegetables or fruits to grow properly as the potential nutrients from the ground are shared with the weeds as well. In turn, a smaller harvest is materialized, or worst the harvest might just wilt away.
So, what does your metaphorical garden consist of? Does it have good soil? What vegetable do you intend to plant? How often do you water? What defense mechanism is in place for pest control? How much care do you intend to give?
An idea or thought in one’s mind can be very powerful if you nurture it properly. If you’re able to pick up the weeds and dealt with insect pests daily. In the end, you would have a growing and thriving garden bearing sweet and delicious produce. The same can be said to a person’s mind.
We should every night call ourselves to an account; What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abort of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.Seneca
The stoic have a similar idea as indicated by Seneca in this quote. He asks us to review our day to examine what is done and what can be done better. This is how we can pluck the weeds out that might be leeching nutrients and sucking us dry.
Have you tended to your garden today?
Be wary of uninvited thoughts that are subtly suggested through social media, news outlets, influencers, and friends that play to our emotions. Mostly, fears, loss, or greed. We can easily be misinformed or misdirected if we don’t verify the authenticity of a claim or calmly think through them.
Let’s admit it. Most of us are lazy bastards, why do the extra work when we can outsource it to our social circle and trust them instead (Wisdom of the crowd). If you live in an echo chamber which most social media algorithm is aiming to do. We would believe what we’re given to be the truth.
So, we should watch our minds for uninvited thoughts being planted by any influence.
The Thing About Thoughts and Images
The thought makes images of what is real and uses it as a lens to see through the world. This might be hard for some to understand but stay with me a bit. From past experiences, we learn about how things work. If the same thing arises we go back to search the entry in our memories then bring it back to the present to compare and then reinforce the image.
So the image can continue to live into the future but in a stronger form every time this process is run. This automatic process runs all the time in the background and no one is the wiser to realize until I come to understand from Jiddu Krishnamurti.
The images can be anything that we have got a relation to like a significant other, ourselves, people, money, parent, sibling, career, cause, religion, race, nature, car, house, movies, books, opinion, hurt, etc.
Let’s Have an Exercise
- Can you see a building and not naming it a building? What would you see?
- Are you able to see a person without all the associated pronounce, past experience, culture, tradition, clothing on the person, what brand of phones he’s using?
- Can you listen to someone without all the associated ideas popping up in your head and preparing replies for the question?
Those words and ideas are images.
I’m a Fool
Say someone calls me “You stupid fool!” and I feel hurt because I have got a self-image of myself of being very smart. This statement broke the fragile image and causes conflicts. The mind would recall the past collections of hurt similarly but different situations and circumstances.
So, it can add this new addition to the pile making it denser and darker. Thus, perpetuating this reality forward into the future. I would eventually become more reactive and disturbed when people say similar things to me.
People might start to label me as having an “anger issue” but I might not be aware of this “image” I was holding onto which is dictating how I interact with what’s around me. As long I’m holding onto it, I’m the biggest fool as far as I know.
A Word of Caution
What I’m trying to say is that images exist due to our conditioning from our upbringing (society) and be careful of it because we can have messed up and twisted images that do not exist in objective reality other than in our mind.
Something About Habits
Thoughts can become habits knowingly or unknowingly. A habit is a cultivated continual behavior through the execution of an action. Sometimes we are aware of it but in others, we are silently being influenced and drawn into one.
Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.Lao Tzu, there are many sources saying the same thing but I will just give it to him. It’s the message that is important here.
An example of a bad habit is the endless scrolling our fingers tend to do on our phone, with each scroll we’re more captivated than the last. Social media giants have successfully trained us to keep using their apps and the algorithms capable enough to suggest content to make us stay a little bit longer every time.
Say you want to nurture a good habit like eating cleaner and maintaining general physical fitness. The best way to realize this goal and make it second nature is to make better decisions every day to pick healthy food for consumption and stick to a fitness schedule.
Habits are not built in one day or a few days. They are built over a long period. Forget about the myth of 21 days to form a new habit as Phillippa Lally from University College London found out that it takes 2-8 months instead.
Also, as you are building up the habit you want. There will be a time you’ll fail for a day or two. Don’t fret it and resume early as possible. If you are interested in building solid habits then I should direct your attention toward the book Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Here Comes the Metaphors!
I want people to figure things out by themselves either through quotes, from experiences, through studies, contemplation, daily interaction with others, or gaining a sudden realization when everything starts to click in that one moment.
To bring forward the Eureka effect such as “Aha! moment” or なるほど (naruhodo) in Japanese which means I understand, I see, or I see now.
Like solving a problem or puzzle we can’t understand yet but suddenly gaining insight to solve it can be very rewarding in itself. What was troubling us before fades away and what is left is the clarity that we all yearn for.
I had a few moments like these when I’m trying to solve a programming problem or I was thinking about what I read or watched.
Below is some fun colorful imagery to describe this experience below.
- the fog slowly lifted.
- pin popping a balloon.
- wiping away the dust and soot.
- showing the other side of the same coin.
- muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.
- picking weeds away from an over grown garden.
- level of timescale and magnification determine what you see.
- a hand indicating there are many route to the top of the mountain.
- how we are make to think eating the menu is more delicious rather than the food.
- shining a flashlight in the darkness then realizing you gain a floodlight so it’ll illuminate in a wider angle.
- rather than seeing the world in rose-colored glasses you will find out the beautiful fractal in a kaleidoscope instead.
I hope, users of the app can gain a greater perspective and clarity in their life with their earnest efforts. Firstly, through figuring things out then doing it to gain an understanding from the experience.
Thanks for reading the 7th entry in a series of 13 in total. The next post is The Authors are Who They are: Human Beings if you wish to continue the story. See you there!