The following is the short article I read on Episode 9 of the podcast titled “Speedy Brain”.
One morning I awoke to snow blanketing the trees and mountains. As I sipped a cup of coffee, I realized the act of looking out my window was a respite from Speedy Brain. It’s easy to forget any act committed for a positive effect is an act of love for myself. This is the entire point of a style of meditation called, “Metta”, or Loving-Kindness (which is on the Waking Up App).
The simple act of doing something for the self is seemingly uncommon. In fact, we have “influencers” and celebrities constantly cawing about The Grind and unending work ethic. Hell, most special operations veterans with social media followings predicate their existence on toughness and discipline.
Instead of wasting time or intellectual effort dismantling those ideologies (i.e. The Grind, the war for productivity, making money, etc.), let’s focus on an alternative. After all, intellectual honesty demands the question, “What if they, and society, have it all wrong?”
It’s not about being wrong or right, it’s about being happy. And an undying work ethic by definition never ends. There’s also emerging research on the benefit of including “play” in life. And the excessive amount of research on how beneficial mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude are on neuro chemistry and physiology is clear. There’s a large body of evidence historically, subjectively, and scientifically driving us to an idea that “work” and “productivity for the sake of productivity” are not defining qualities in a happy life.
What is another way? It’s best to fully understand why you have certain beliefs, and you can do this by constructing or deconstructing your personal beliefs. If we aim to construct beliefs, then we should begin with nothing. After we get through Descartes’, “I think, therefore I am,” we can move towards relevancy. If I exist in the condition of the world appearing in consciousness, then what matters within the extent of existence? Social status? Economic bracket? Education level? Sacrificing most, if not all, of who you are for an organization or a company? Is it to conduct warfare? Is it to be told what to think by authority or corporations? Is it to be told what to think by screaming men searching for coping mechanisms?
Or is it human connection? Finding and achieving peace? Understanding vulnerabilities with the self in order to non-violently communicate to the people you want to connect with, further strengthening your bond? Is it family? Or the simple concept how peace and happiness can be recognized at any given time if we only allowed ourselves a respite from the emotional prison we constantly find ourselves in?
Whether you believe in a soul or not is irrelevant. Either way there is a finite existence occurring with this meat body on this rock planet. And each passing moment is the last moment of its kind happening to completion before it’s gone forever. How do you wish to spend the time? Numbing and comforting painful emotions with accepted acts of drinking, eating, and distraction? Perpetuating anxiety by using the multitude of apps on your phone all deliberately designed to coerce you into using it more? Or, regardless of activity, be plagued with the anxiety, stress, and fear associated with regretting the past and worrying about the future?
Or will you put all of that down and meditate, sit outside, or go to bed early? The choice, seemingly, is yours. Whatever you do to work against this anxious Speedy Brain society is creating, it’s a display of love. Any healthy intention is an act of care and compassion for the self. And the means have just as much utility as the end, just like with exercise or lifting weights.
To cultivate intention, we inherently need deliberate introspection to understand, generate awareness, accept, and finally act with intention. And when we intentionally act, we not only have ownership in our story, but the acts are proof we love ourselves. And the belief will follow if you just give it time.