Sunday, October 16, 2016

Living Intentionally or Whack-a-Mole?

Has it ever seemed that, coincidentally, something that was on your mind seemed noticeably on the minds of others?  When you first thought about yoga, or volunteering to give back, or specific ideas about relationships, or avoiding sugar: why were others headed down the same path?

I'm no conspiracy theorist and I don't suffer from paranoid personality disorder, assuming there is such a thing.  I'm just noticing, again, that we might be sheep in people's clothing.

Some of what I notice seems to be developmental.  People of a certain age, which psychologist Erik Ericsson kindly referred to as a 25-year span he called middle adulthood,  will be thinking about what kind of mark they will leave: their legacy.  It's as if our consciousness knows that the body has a limited shelf-life, and is preparing us for its conclusion, even if the nudges are subtle or subliminal.

My friends and family who are grandparents and parents are preparing the next generation as best we know how.  Those who are not parents are reaching out to be Big Brothers or Sisters, or mentors, or some other role in which they can offer the wisdom and caring that somewhat demands to be launched, not unlike the cork on a champagne bottle. Maybe, then, it's partly biological and evolutionary.  And maybe, then, that's also why people in the 20's and 30's might be laser-focused on relationships, pro-creating, survival of the species, etc.: activities that dominate their line of sight for quite some time. Focused not because of media or social input, but because it is primal.

There is, however, a whole other aspect to what we think we choose to pay attention to that suggests that we may not be doing that much choosing.  The same way that we may go online to research an unknown word or fact, and find ourselves watching videos of cats ambushing toddlers or ducks befriending dogs.  There are a lot of sound-bites headed our way every minute.  And sometimes, the listening is not of our conscious choosing. 
Like the arcade game "Whack-a-Mole" do we just whack at whatever pops up?

Most of us have news channels that we follow, and some of us may feel that those sources are pretty unbiased, or as close to unbiased as is out there.  For me, I had accepted that bias, feeling that it was at least biased on the direction in which I wanted to lean: rationalization at its best. Do I listen to learn, or to simply reinforce my position?  Am I learning only what the media presents to me?

There are alternative news outlets that focus on good news, a not-so-trending concept.  The,, are a few.  Even if these will leave us short-changed to participate in the office water-cooler discussion, adding them to our dose of input might at least put some optimism back in our hearts.  And really, what difference are we making by getting all riled up at the standard daily news noise?

I pulled on this topic thread when I noticed that I was drawn to the concept of non-duality, and started to feel a bit like I was following well-placed bread crumbs.  I decided to put down my reading material, stop my obsession with new authors on the topic, and turn off the stream of others' ideas and tune into what I believe is my own (all of our own) ability to know what's true by spending more time being aware, and less time thinking.  My mind has been in charge of me for a long time.  I'd like to bring it forth when I need it, and not have it using me for its whims and distractible inclinations. This is one of the benefits of meditation.

I pulled the thread further (almost able to knit a sweater, here!) when I heard a few of my friends talking about the same topic: scaling back on the accumulation of stuff and simplifying their material worlds in favor of experiences.  I again thought, is this a coincidence of time-in-life, or is something afoot that is planting seeds?  And this something that may be afoot may very well be a positive something. If we are all tied together, perhaps one string is plucked and we all reverberate.   My intention is to make time every day to block out the input and check-in with my Self and acknowledge the Awareness that I am, and also noticing my time spent on things versus my time spent mindfully.  Baby steps towards intentionally living: towards Being. 

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