The world could be a better place to live in if everyone would take time out of their busy schedule to give meditation a try. Or maybe pause for a moment to go within and question our deeply held mental constructs of reality.
Heck, we might be able to come to an understanding of many past arguments, problems, hurts, and trauma over a cup of green tea while going into the discussion calmly rather than being controlled by our persuasive emotions and solving problems through destructive behaviors.
This post is the sixth 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!
Sharing tea with a fascinating stranger is one of life’s true delights.Iroh, Avatar: The Last Airbender
Won’t you say?
Trying to Achieve and Getting There
I hope anyone using the app would be able to use the daily quote given as a mirror to reflect onto themselves. Most of our waking moment is caught up with many things that are constantly sucking up precious energy and causing unneeded anxiety. Leaving very little time available for self-contemplation.
I want users to notice what is swelling within them consciously. It could be an emotion, an action, or a remembrance that’s triggering something. This something would be the smoking gun that they could start to do the much-needed investigation and reflection within one’s soul.
The author’s quotes can only act as a guide, a finger, a nudge, pointing towards something either external or internal. Not something to hold onto dearly and missed the message completely.
By questioning what arises in us, we will become more aware of what’s troubling us or hidden within plain sight. These could be a belief, an idea, a narrative we continue telling ourselves, a conclusion, prejudices made, and biases against.
I’m not passing any judgments of whether they are right or wrong but to find out why through questioning them yourself. If you can go through and find out the root cause and by letting them go. Clarity emerges. Dispelling all previous doubts and possibly fears.
Maybe after this process of realization, the deep work of understanding ourselves can begin.
Of course, it’s easier said than done.
As a Society Now
We are too fixated on outer appearance, mindlessly consuming, care too deeply about people’s likes, comments, and opinions from social media posts, FOMO (Fear of missing out) on the latest fad, virtue signaling, and covering righteous superiority with outrage.
It seems to me these are the symptoms of a much troublesome root cause that we as a society try our best to ignore the piles of problems. Letting it fester and hoping something would eventually happen.
We should instead ask, what is happening to us and what are we escaping from? Finding out where the root cause lies. I think it’s time to take a step back and check-in with ourselves.
To start, we might have huge gaping holes in understanding nature and ourselves. I’m not talking about the accumulation of knowledge that humankind has amassed. I’m talking about self-knowledge that is about ourselves because everyone interacts with the world differently.
It’s hard to open up when we think we are always right and can go no wrong. As conclusions are drawn and the case closed. We stop to inquire and shut everything down without finding out the root. Bruce Lee once remarks, “Running water never grows stale, so you gotta just keep on flowing.”.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.Richard Feynman
The brain which houses the mind is a very wonderful thing and a powerful instrument anyone has in their toolkit. So, use it wisely but don’t let your mind or other people misled it because we can very easily fool ourselves.
Human is full of contradictions, biases, prejudices and blind spots we can’t see ourselves but those looking from the outside can sometimes see it as clear as days. We’re fragmented in thoughts due to the number of images we might hold or fantastical tales we tell ourselves.
Knowing this, we can better understand ourselves through a trusted friend, introspection, journaling, and meditation to gain a sense of clarity.
It’s all boils down to facing yourself honestly with “what is” rather than “what could be”. Stop distracting yourself from the real issue at hand and replace it with something of less importance.
Catching a Glimpse of Yourself
Every outburst of emotion or reaction to a situation can reveal a lot about ourselves. This small rip in a person’s normal consciousness can be a good starting point to investigate. Most of the time we cast this chance aside until it festers into something that cannot be contained anymore. Thus, hindering personal growth.
Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected.Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion
With enough time passing, the shadow (Carl Jung shadows) grows stronger projecting itself outwardly while your ego/the mind is actively avoiding it to keep you sane and shield you from it. So, everything will sound coherent to any narrative we choose to adopt.
However, the more the shadows are integrated back to the whole the less it would project outward. The more of a whole person you will grow to be.
What Does These “Glimpse” Looks Like?
It could come from a quote, an experience, an encounter, something you read in the news, saw on YouTube, fighting over a comment section, or a remembrance. If you are aware of the thoughts arising, you might be able to capture something like the list below.
- why does he/she says that?
- that’s a weird statement to make.
- that person seems very greedy and selfish.
- why do I feel this emotion swelling up?
- this quote looks wacky/crazy/funny/alienating to me but why?
- why am I having a strong reaction against this quote?
- feeling a bit discomfort here but why?
- that sounds like a practical advice to follow.
- that’s something unexpected and jolted me a little there.
- that sounds very wise but is it bullshit?
- does that make sense?
- am I avoiding personal responsibility?
- that make sense but is it valid in my case?
- why did I find myself fixated to this?
- I haven’t seen that before, let’s examine it a bit further.
- I like what is being said, is this coming from intellectually within or do I have real understanding of this described experience?
- how much can be trusted and how much should I throw away?
- this seems interesting, let’s google more information up for further reading.
- there seems to be a lots of topic on this matter in YouTube. Let’s watch some to explore deeper.
Quote != Wisdom?
I would like to put a disclaimer first. Not all quotes are choke-full of wisdom or inspiration as one would like to expect or anticipate. Some might be taken out of context, misquoted, or even misattributed. So, be mindful of that.
They may contain wisdom and insight but what they wrote or experienced does not equate to what you might come to experience yourself nor what you would agree on. However, they can be an excellent guide/signpost you can use if you are lost.
More importantly, quotes are what the authors have come to understand and experienced themselves to distill out the essence in the form of words. It’s should not be taken literally but should be unraveled mindfully.
So, don’t just go mindless consume everything and think it is good for you. Just like don’t drink too much milk or eat too much pizza if you are lactose intolerant 😅 lest you wanted to go for a hospital visit.
A Mighty Oak Tree
No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.Carl Jung
I hope that users of the app might learn more about themselves to see the other side of a position they are standing, the possibility of one’s construct of reality and potential muddled vision of the self or uncovering what is unacknowledged deep within.
Having a Sense of Humor Makes Things Fun
Life is funny and absurd 🤷♂️😂 when I start to get an idea of what this life is about and who am I from all these people throughout the ages are saying. I don’t have one word to describe it but life just does what IT likes.
Also, you might get some funny or just plain wacky quotes because those the what the authored have written or experienced. Don’t get shaken. Try not to take things too seriously, I hope you’ve cultivated a good sense of humor growing up with a quick wit like the Buddhists and Zen practitioners.
Write, Read, and Research
I find journaling helpful to me as I can write down my thoughts and feeling. Then goes back to it to review at a much later date or build upon it when something new is found later.
Obsidian is a knowledge base software I used for all my notes and journaling. It’s helpful to record down what’s weighed on my mind and I own the notes because it is saved as MarkDown format (.md extension) and can be open in any text editor in the future if the software goes defunct.
This series of posts are all written on Obsidian first then brought over here for finalizing before publishing.
Other than writing down things, you could let what you learned simmer. If things do connect you might gain a sudden realization when you do the most mundane of things like sweeping the floor, washing dishes, having a shower (best place to ponder things over), doing exercises, or cleaning your room.
If you’re a ferocious reader and aggregating data is your forte. Do it.
I use a mix of approaches to further strengthen my understanding of myself and the world at large.
Seeing My Own Bullshit
There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.Carl Jung
I don’t know I gained any sort of enlightenment yet but I’ve come to understand this fact. I am better at seeing my own and others’ brands of bullshit. From within to others and what the society projects outwardly.
A better understanding of what I might be ignoring, what I’m biased of, catching myself in negative thought patterns, and what I am holding tightly on is a refreshing new standpoint.
Before I started this soul-searching journey I held onto a lot of preconceived notions (images) of myself and of the world that upset me which I have no idea why initially. Alan Watts clue me in on this particular human behavior, is that we’re hung up on ideas and concepts of our own making or taken from someone.
Then, much later I discovered these are images from Krishnamurti lectures. It makes more sense now. I’ve made fabulous images of not just myself but everything else. Unconsciously using them to judge the world and thinking they are real while hiding what is real in plain sight.
It is very liberating to finally notice this invisible layer that is distorting my reality. I’ve been slowly unearthing and deconstructing them.
How Long Does It Takes?
I don’t know. Things usually take time to recognize and realized because every one of us has some deep-rooted fears and conditionings as we grow up. Some might get the nature of reality immediately like a snap of a finger while some still won’t get it until they are laying on their deathbed.
Do know this, it’s a continuous process even if you do realize the truth. What this “truth” is to you I’ve no idea but I think everyone would reach a similar place eventually.
Tying It Together
The quote is used as a starting point to investigate and enquire about ourselves. No more, no less.
If we all could question our deeply held images then we might gain clarity over our problem and circumstances. The results would make us all able to come to a greater understanding of ourselves with the world.
Thanks for reading the 6th entry in a series of 13 in total. The next post is Should Life be a Puzzle to be Figured Out? if you wish to continue the story. See you there!