Saturday, 17 January 2015

Editing: How to survive the 21st century

I’m not sure if I’ve ever met anyone for whom meditating in the lotus position is comfortable. Yet the idea seems to exist that we should be able to mindfully ignore or rise above our aching back and numb backside.  If you have the option to sit in a comfortable upholstered armchair then why suffer unnecessarily? Likewise, why should we strive to rise above any other circumstance that can easily be changed. I’d rather save "rising above" for those things over which I do not have control.

The 21st century is undoubtedly one of abundance. If fact, we are bombarded daily with an overwhelming and never-ending tidal wave of data and information. Our homes are packed to the rafters with consumer goods. Our agendas are as overstuffed as our refrigerators. There is an abundance of examples of abundance.

The word “minimal” only seems to apply to our bank balances, our free time, joy and love and peace of mind, and all those other good things that self-help books talk about.

Don’t you think it’s about time we reverse this trend? Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”. How about we strive to have less of the stuff that can be counted, but does not count. And more of the stuff that cannot be counted, but counts. I am not talking about adopting any form of extreme minimalism and I’m certainly not recommending deprivation. Rather, what I’m suggesting is “Lagom”.

(From Wikipedia: Logam is a Swedish word meaning "just the right amount". Whereas words like "sufficient" and "average" suggest some degree of abstinence, scarcity, or failure, lagom carries the connotation of appropriateness, although not necessarily perfection. The archetypical Swedish proverb "Lagom är bäst", literally "The right amount is best", is translated as "Enough is as good as a feast".)

Every material object, idea or concept carries not only an intrinsic energy signature, but also a subjective energy response that is unique to the individual who is experiencing it. Think about the stuff you have in your home. Does it weigh you down or does it induce in you a feeling of lightness and spaciousness? When embracing Logam, your material possessions are sometimes a good place to start. Take it room by room, storage space by storage space. Give away, throw away or donate everything that you do not use and do not need and do not like. Purge, purge purge! Be ruthlessly selective about anything new you bring into your home. The idea is to only have those things in your home that serve a useful purpose and hold no unpleasant memories for you.

Don’t stop there. Move onto your digital life. For example, wouldn’t it be nice if your Facebook newsfeed contained only stories that uplifted and inspired you? Hiding unwanted posts from your newsfeed can be achieved with a few easy mouse clicks.

Next take a close look at your agenda. Cancel everything that is not essential or in some way mandatory. Wherever possible, avoid multi-tasking. Research shows that multi-tasking is in fact counter-productive and has a negative effect on your mental, emotional and physical health. Wherever did we get the idea that doing one thing at a time was not enough?! Ever heard the Zen saying “Before enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water”? Notice that it did not say anything about trying to chop wood or carry water at the same time. That would be the fastest way to end up wet and missing a few toes!

Now, shall we discuss our incessant intake of media? I promise you the world will not stop spinning on its axis if you stop reading newspapers and magazines, and stop watching the news. I promise that you’ll be much happier. Try it and see for yourself.

So, listed above are some of the things that are easier to change. Do not underestimate the immensely liberating effect of freeing yourself from that which is unnecessary and wasteful and overwhelming. Once you have created space in your life you will be able to face the more squirrelly aspects of the human experience. You will find it easier to look into yourself and uproot and discard false beliefs and negative thoughts. I firmly believe that awakening or emergence is a process of purging that which is untrue. It is not about adding more things, but instead it’s about discarding what no longer serves your highest interest. Emerging is about purging.

Editing is defined as the preparing of (written) material for publication by correcting, condensing, or otherwise modifying it. I believe that the process of editing can also be applied to our lives. In fact, it may be essential to surviving the 21st century.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Zane. I agree with the ideas you've expressed in this post, and I've come to know quite a few people on Facebook who are practicing these clearing methods to create more space, and time in their lives on all levels, including more mental clarity, and joy. There's so much truth to the Feng Shui system of arranging things in your life, home, spaces, and places. A well ordered and uncluttered life is essential for emotional well-being and for true happiness. It takes discipline and true honesty with yourself. Thanks for sharing.