Long walks help me think. Sometimes, I’ll walk and dictate my thoughts into Evernote, where I keep my journal. I created these notes on July 8th, 2019.
Why are all of the events of my life important? What is the giant meta pattern that ties them all together? That brings meaning to my life?
This is why we need story. This is why we need myth.
Hypothesis: our life is really only what we physically do. The literal movement of our body through this material plane. Even when you think you are doing something digital, you are really only doing what your body is physically doing. Your fingers move across a keyboard. Your eyes gaze at a screen. You speak into a box (your phone) alone, with a digitally-created illusion of being in the presence of another person.
This is repeated hundreds of millions of time per day: everyone’s sitting alone, with the illusion of being connected.
Most of what we do in life we do alone.
We can be doing the same things, but person A is 100% joyful, and person B is 100% miserable.
“How you do anything is how you do everything.“
In other words, perhaps it’s not so much what you do, but how you approach whatever you do. The energy you put into it. Do you bring joy, enthusiasm, a sense of adventure, a sense of anticipation? Or do you bring misery, sadness, frustration, boredom?
We are meant for joy, enthusiasm, and a sense of adventure and anticipation. This should be the foundational mode of operating in life. Perhaps for me, that is the answer.
Stop searching for some grand experiment. Stop searching for the thing that will make you famous. Or rich. Simply live at peace with what life has handed you now. You do not know if you will have any other moments than this one.
Wait: what’s that? A realization that it’s July 8? What meaning has my mind attached to that? The 4th of July has passed. July is almost over. Summer is almost over. Life is almost over. And I haven’t done the things I want to do.
These are distortions of consciousness. Things that consciousness has held onto for some reason. Mistakes, perceptions of mistakes, people, events, places. Perceived missed opportunities. This is the stuff anxiety is made of.
I remember that time towards the end of college. I was going to graduate soon. One morning I woke up very early, before dawn. It was a beautiful spring morning. I had a sense of so much joy, so much enthusiasm, so much adventure for life. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I just took off running. I ran all the way down to the Boulder Creek Path, as fast as I could, full of joy. It was the earliest I had been up in months—perhaps my entire life. And I remember just thinking: this is how life should be. Every moment of every day should have this level of joy, enthusiasm, and gratitude. A connection with all and everything.
What if, “What should I do?” and “What do I want to do?” were traps?
What if I consistently asked instead: “Who do I want to be?” And “How present do I want to be” and “how awake can I be?”
Who do I want to be today. How present can I be now? How awake and alive and enthusiastic am I in this moment?
More being, less doing?
What if I lived a day BEING more and DOING less?
Yes, it’s the old cliche, “I’m a human being, not a human doing.” But hearing words and understanding them are two different universes.