Defining a purpose or what gets you through the day

Everyone needs a reason to do anything in life, but does it mean that everyone is selfish or just being mercenary about it? Not really, everyone just has needs, be it about self-gratification or in contributing to the welfare of others.

Whatever the reason involved in why a person does something, the main importance to me is this ‘need’. Why focus on this one quality when there are so many things to discuss about the human condition? Well, ‘need’ by itself is clearly the impetus for the self-serving purpose behind those other elements which color a person’s choice in doing things one way or another. There must be a ‘need’ to do things, seek knowledge, understand things/events/people/etc. Curiosity alone can only motivate us to go so far, there would require another element to push us; as a person or people, to go beyond our limits of the physical body, the mind or of our own understanding – our place in the universe, the limitations of tools, the complexities and mesmerizing power of music/drama/poetry/writing. All these and more are possible, because we have a ‘need’ to pursue it, to invent it, to create it, and especially to nurture it.

This yearning and all-encompassing drive is our passion, sparked by our curiosity and given shape and form through our on perseverance and hard work. Everyone has this gift, whether we use it or not, it is entirely dependent on how the individual and their circumstances and choices on how to lead their lives.

I watched a recording of Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk on TED on February 2009, and my initial reaction was that she was a very funny speaker and a brilliant writer. However, her description of the Creative Genius as an external spirit that visited us from time to time, was what captured my imagination as I found it really thought-provoking.

If our geniuses are visited upon us by divine spirits, then we would supply the drive, the energy and determination to do what is required of us – to dance, sing, act, write, build, craft, paint, etc. This divine gift guides us to our optimal self, granting us a glimpse of the divine, providing us with a union with said divinity for a short span of time. With this mindset, the artist would yearn to reach for it time and time again, knowing that it was not of themselves that their art came from, but from the divine. The artist would then become yielded vessels, as they seek to reach that divinity, each and every time they go on stage to perform, stand in from of an easel to draw, or sit before a computer to write. Their passion will drive them to reach for the divine creative spirit, in order to attain this pinnacle of artistry that they’ve never reached before by themselves.

So for people to create or invent something new, their Need or Passion would be required to drive them to reach out to these Genius Spirits as they come by and visit us.

This passion is in everyone, we just need to ignite it again, as it was when we were younger. When all our hopes burned bright in our hearts and dreams wove through our thoughts without fetters that society, work, life and time having taken its toll on us. Without this passion driving us, the Genius Spirit would might as well just be making noises at us, as we wouldn’t be driven to create anything.

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Some Pictures…

Just posted some pictures of my time on Bali, was on business so I didn’t have much time to explore and take more pictures of the place.

During whatever free time that I had there, I visited several locations that were breathtakingly beautiful. The vistas were formed from volcanic activity in the past and had crafted rocky break waters and mesmerizing rock pools. I was only able to take about 100+ shots during this time, and have posted some for viewing at the Bali Experience page, will post more at a later time.

Hope that you’ll enjoy them.

Ave

New Horizons

A break in the clouds lets a ray of sunlight shoot down from the murky grey sky, bathing the sea and ground, with warmth and light.

This to me is a sign of hope to come, a respite for the continuous downpour and a source of warmth.

This beautiful sight makes me very introspective, as it tells me that I’ve let myself become lost and used to this downpour in life, and I need to regain my center. I need to know who I am as a person again, and what I want out of this life that I’m leading.

I need to analyze my talents and strengths, then determine the course and actions that’ll be required of me. To ensure that I would be able to do what is necessary, to regain my momentum and move forward again.

This doesn’t require much navel gazing, just a pen and paper. I just list down all my capabilities as a person in one column, and all my professional capabilities in another column. In a third column, I list down my weaknesses. Everyone needs to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses, building up on the former two strengths, but not get bogged down by the latter.

Why this exercise? Well, this is to determine what changes will need to be made to my life; personal and professional. These two lives intertwine, co-existing with each other, for some people there are no differences, and they find that it isn’t necessary to separate them. However, this isn’t quite true, as who we are as a person, should not be defined by what we do for a living. A person is defined by their memories, hopes, desires, fears, and dreams. These qualities may overlap in both our personal and professional lives, influencing and directing a person to make a choice in both personal and professional life, in order to meet an immediate or future need and/or desire. However, they may also come into conflict with one another.

A person who makes career choice over their personal life, would consider personal and family time to be only a rest period in between work schedules. Flexible work hours or work from home scenarios allows such a person to reduce this rest period even further. Where time spent working can be extended beyond the average 8-9hrs work day to 12-14hrs, as working from home allows the person to work at their own pace and across different timezones. Alternatively, a person who chooses their personal life over their career, make decisions that revolve around how much time can be spent not working, this may or may not be a good thing. It is dependent on what the individual considers quality of life, and should be satisfied with the choices made to achieve that lifestyle.

All these qualities cumulate into a choice, which an individual will continuously make in their lifetime. Especially when it is time to change how a life is being lived.

I’ve taken several steps in this direction to make changes in my life, 1st by learning discipline – discipline of both mind and body. 2nd by focussing on what is needed (not wanted) to be done in my personal and professional life to ensure that I can sustain a quality of life that I’m willing to accept each day. 3rd by understanding how and where my personal life will intersect with my professional, and ensuring that there is sufficient balance so that I am not overworking or spending too much time on personal agendas.

These steps for change can’t and won’t happen all in a day, but will occur over several weeks, months and years, and is usually an ongoing process of reviewing and making adjustments along the way. Changes may be great in a few weeks and months, but it is the sustainability of the change that is more important than the change itself. After all, what matters if there’s a change now, but a person reverts to their old self in a few months time.

All this may sound like a very long winded process, but I find it necessary as long term habits and practices are hard to break or change, and new ones take time to cultivate and retain. Change that comes quickly, tends to be devastating and cataclysmic in proportions, while changes over time allows a person’s body and mind to adjust and adapt to it.

It will also help me in developing patience, perseverance and compassion, as I’ll need to be patient and forgive myself when I fail part way, but still persevere to pick myself up and work at it again.

Thinking of Waffles…

Was feeling a bit lost on Saturday morning, not sure whether its because I didn’t have anything planned for the day or that I should’ve had something planned to get done.

It started just after I got up, and decided to look for some place that serves GOOD Waffles. I seem to have a very clear memory of having had really good Waffles, memories filled with a clear and vivid image, aroma, taste and texture of the waffles.

The waffles have to be fresh from the waffle iron, so it’s hot enough to melt butter. The crust should have a nice crunch to it when cut with a knife or bitten into it. Leading to a soft center that’s still piping hot, and then combined with the melted butter and maple syrup – simply heavenly.

This caused a slight problem for me, because I can’t remember where it was that I had those waffles. I’m even having trouble remembering whether the place I had these waffles was even in the same country I’m in now. Did I have it on one of my business trips, vacation or any other  regular day?

How can this be comfort food, when I can’t find it??! Isn’t comfort food supposed to make you reminisce about the times when I had it, where, when and with whom? Then why is it that I don’t remember anything about this experience, only of the waffle themselves.

Looking back on the day, I realized that I just needed to be comforted, because I’m in a ‘place’ where I’m making long term decisions in my life and just needed to be reassured that all is well in my world, and will be well in the near future.

Relieving stress through eating, not the best coping mechanism we have, but it works, as we seek to comfort ourselves by retreating into our own world.

Comfort food does provide a psychological contentment, a respite from whatever that was bothering you at the time. Allowing you to shrug off the worries and cares of the moment, for a simpler time. A time when you were much younger, or when you were cared for and looked after. This is usually triggered by the smell and taste of the food, which is one of the strongest memory association tools that a human brain possesses.

The First…Meditating on Nothing

Travelers

Travelers from a distant shore

Starting a blog tends to be the hardest part of the process, I’ve been told that once you get past the 1st hurdle, it gets easier.

Well, getting past it has been harder than usual for me. Started my WordPress account 2 weeks back, and still nothing comes to mind, no topic of discussion, no idea, nothing at all…

So I decided to start with Nothing, and work my way up to Something.

Nothing, that has been the focus for mediation for many people, as we’re told to empty our minds, not to think of anything. However, as human beings, we can’t do that. Our conscious minds always gets in the way, it fills up the ’emptiness’ with chatter, observations, criticisms and such. The only time when we usually reach quietness in our heads is usually when we’re asleep. However, that’s not really the case at all, we’re not in our heads when we’re sleeping. We’re usually dreaming, and everyone dreams, even when they can’t remember it.

So going back to Nothing, since we cannot deliberately shut down our consciousness, we need to distract it with ‘Something’. Magicians do this to us all the time, by tricking us to focus on something else, so that we won’t see what has been done right in front of our eyes – a trick. All these are diversionary tactics to get the audience to focus on something other than what the magician is actually doing.

So in order to meditate, we need to trick our brains to focus on Something that will quiet down the chatter in our heads. So what is this something? Mainly its words that mean something to the person, that may be part of their core belief system or it can be a statement that is positively uplifting to them. Notice that these are something that the person would take in as a positive aspect to themselves. The reason being, you cannot meditate and focus on yourself when you’re angry, furious or in an all out rage.

Meditation doesn’t always need us to be in a lotus position, we can be walking, lying down, ironing our clothes, mowing the lawn, jogging, playing sports, and even swimming. There are so many ways and means to meditate, but there must be a reason to do so.

Dancers, Athletes, Soldiers and Martial artists have the most compelling reason to meditate while going through their training and competition, that is to get into the Zone (which is basically a Meditative state where thought and action are one). Familiarity with meditation will allow a person to fall into this Zone quickly and also on demand. This is mainly because they would be familiar with being in the Zone, knowing what their capabilities are while in it. Meditating helps us to focus on reaching that state, by shutting out the chatter or self-doubt, laziness, injuries, and fear. Once all these are out of the way, the conscious mind can focus on specific instructions to act, react and define a course to reach the goal, leaving the subconscious mind to move the body. This is the slow motion or time awareness sensation that one has when in the zone, where our perception is operating faster than our bodies.

For people in vocations that don’t require physical action, meditation can help in providing clarity in focus. By removing any mental chatter, our minds are able to perform more efficiently in thinking through a task, decision or action within any vocation. A reduction in self-doubt and data digestion alone would provide a person with an improved work performance, as there would be less processing and deliberation needed in their mind.

We’re living in the information age, where information overload is a reality, and our human mental coping mechanisms are barely coping. Our ability to multitask activities, conversations, and thoughts have expanded, but our ability to focus have not been refined. So meditation is needed more than ever in this day and age, as we need to ensure that our minds are given an opportunity to quiet down and rest. When we’re meditating, we are able to be a Human ‘Be-ing’ as opposed to a Human ‘Do-ing’.