Practising Mindfulness

“Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.

Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

“Come on, girl” said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. “We monks don’t go near females,” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”

“I left the girl there,” said Tanzan. “Why are you still carrying her?”

Zen Koan

Mindfulness is something I highly recommend.

It makes you more peaceful and it can help you sleep.

Mindfulness is the active practise of turning off mental chatter, pulling yourself out of the day dream and focusing fully on your current experience.

When you practise mindfulness you begin to notice every blade of grass as an amazing wondrous universe in it’s own right. You notice the uniqueness of every pebble crunched under your boot. The incredible architecture screams out to you. The beautiful bird’s songs are no longer ignored.

By starting to practise mindfulness you will realise just how much of your life you live in a fairyland of your imagination. Worrying about how to control the future or beating yourself up over past events. Both are merely ideas. They are not real. They are simply your personal mental fabrications. Unimportant distractions unless you decide otherwise.

If you ever have trouble sleeping draw your mind back from swimming in the sea of thought and simply notice your experience. The feel of the sheets, your breathing, the darkness, the quiet. Before you know it you will be sleeping peacefully. Whatever you think about the practise of mindfulness it sure beats counting 10,000 sheep.

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A clever form of slavery

“The distinguishing sign of slavery is to have a price, and to be bought for it”

John Ruskin

In ancient times conquered people became the slaves of the ruling class. They provided the labour that ran nations. The slaves had little freedom and failing to follow orders would likely result in death.

Ultimately this system became unsustainable. As slave numbers grew slaves began to rise up and demand a better deal.

The next version of slavery provided slaves with more freedoms. They were paid small sums for their efforts. They could have separate dwellings from their masters, they could raise families, learn trades and they could eventually buy their citizenship and free themselves from slavery.

Again this system was not sustainable. Once slaves tasted a little freedom they wanted more.

Next bourgeoisie allowed the proletariat the right to farm their lands. In return for working the land and making it productive for the landowner the serfs were allowed to retain a small proportion of the profits to raise their family on.  Again this system was unsustainable. Hard working plebs rose up and disposed of the ruling class. In this model the people eventually realised that they were little more than slaves to their lords. The unfairness of the structure inspired mass action.

We now have a much cleverer system. It is so clever in fact that if you describe our current system of slavery to your pleb friends they are likely to become quite angry with you for pointing out the obvious truth that we are all slaves.  The current system has enough real and perceived freedom and enough distraction that people never contemplate the parallels between their life circumstances and experience to that of slaves from olden times.

The cleverest part of this deception is the invisibility of the ruling class. The slave owners, the people farmers or the modern bourgeoisie. They are of course the hideously wealthy central banking families who have things set up so that they own the world as if it were a giant casino. No matter what happens they always win.

If we were to awaken throw off our manacles and rise up, we might overthrow a government (or two). A new government would quickly be reinstated and those politicians would quickly become beholden to the families who ensure that there was no real systematic structural change. George Carlin jokes that the bankers take new presidents into a dark room and show them a never before seen angle of the JFK assassination. They they ask the president – “Any questions?’ to which he or she replies “Only 1. What is my agenda folks…?”.

While superficial things appear different when politicians change we would are still be required to labor from dawn to dusk. Our wages do not improve. Our freetime does not increase. Our quality of life gets no better. Fairness and equity between the haves and the have nots does not increase. Needless war for profit does not cease. Our earth does not become any cleaner or better protected.

The system and the owners of the system continue to thrive irrespective of the revolving door of politics.

Our masters most important outcome – the slavery of our children is eternally ensured.

Corporate Culture: Fear!

“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway”
Steve Maraboli

In an elevator travelling up to work a woman I work with admitted that she had not slept the previous night.

Before going home she had received an angry email from one of our colleagues. The managing director wanted to see them both in his office this morning.

As soon as the doors opened she dashed off looking very stressed.

It all seemed very trivial to me. There is nothing that could happen at work that would cause me to lose sleep.

Most people’s worst case scenario – losing their job – isn’t all that scary to me.

Like them I have a family to support, but unlike them we have been fortunate enough to realise the need to decouple our earnings from a salary from a corporation. We also realised the importance of having low or no debt.

Economic freedom makes one pretty relaxed about the whole work stress experience.

The city

“At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”

Alan Alda

There is nothing really left for us in the city.

We have no need to view Hollywood movies that emphasize the absolute worst elements of western culture through another rearrangement of what is essentially the same plot and story.

The electromagnetic energy fields from cell phones, and other electro-technical devices blank out  the earth’s natural Schumann Frequency (7.83 Hz) that heals, empowers and enables life. All life including ours.

The toxins and fluoridation of city drinking water disgusts us. It is mostly the deception that flouride in water can prevent cavities that I find repulsive. We yearn for a clear healthy country stream with water that don’t require expensive reverse osmosis filtration systems.

The built environment of the city is so dirty and artificial. What nature there is is tightly controlled by the city plan. All water is fenced off and climbing a city tree to read a book can lead to incarceration. City officials just don’t seem to like people climbing anything.

People in cities are so pressured and stressed. They forget themselves and become angry and highly competitive where they may otherwise be kind, considerate and collaborative.

Our senses have become blunted in the city. Our experience is tightly constrained within acceptable limits.

It is all just the pattern of life. We are entering the next stage. Some of you will have passed through this stage. For others it will be on your horizon. Distant or imminent.

The cycle goes:

Grow up.

Pursue a good education.

Matriculate to the city.

Get a great job.

Earn a lot of money.

Start a family.

Change your values.

Lose your work only focus.

Become disillusioned.

Forgo the city.

Move to the country to raise the young.

Relax into the pace of life.

Retire surrounded by family.

As I near the end of my first week of full time work, after having been part-time for a long time, I know that this way of living is not compatible with what I believe is the purpose of our life. As I’ve said before the purpose of our lives, all of our lives is to be happy.

One cannot remain happy if the majority of the activity of every day is incompatible with happiness.

It is time we changed our life again – all for the better I think.

Wasting money at work

“When you concentrate on agriculture and industry and are frugal in expenditures, Heaven cannot impoverish your state”
Xun Zi

This morning Ms Simple said to me “You know what? I usually spend more money on workdays, but there is really no need to spend any money at all. There’s no point working part-time if I blow it on lunch or coffees. It just means another year I’d have to work to recover the lost savings!”.

She packed her lunch and planned to get free coffee from work.

Her thinking is spot on. We have goals and dreams that require finance and the more we save from work and other incomes the easier and sooner we can get there. We considered both working full-time and putting our kid in day care. Two full-time salaries would help to achieve our investment targets very quickly, but in the end we both chose to work longer in part-time roles so that we could live a good life right away.

We felt it was important to construct weeks that allowed us to achieve our financial goals while also having plenty of time to pursuit things that we enjoyed more than sitting in a cubical looking at a digital window.

Let’s face it that time you spend in a cube farm is an utter waste of your spirit. Why not mix that experience with much more fulfilling ones?

 

Surviving on distraction

“War, like entertainment, is just a distraction”

Barbara Ehrenreich 

If all of the media outlets in the world are linked together and owned by the same few and everyone in the world gets most of their information and education from these very same root sources then nobody is terribly well informed. The populace at large can easily be pacified and distracted through news events and other brainless forms of entertainment like video games, movies and TV.

The worst distraction in my opinion is military-political theatre that is always in our face over the last decade. It’s just a charade of conflict for profit designed and delivered in ways that galvanize public support for more conflict (and even more profit).

All this distraction just stops people from looking at the picture before them.

Just what is that picture?

Our jobs provide just enough to ward off starvation and disease, but not enough so that we are fulfilled or empowered. We are paid just enough to make sure that our circumstantial discomfort is not so great that large numbers of us rise up and create new circumstances for ourselves or worse – collect together and create an evolution of civilization.

The tragic truth is that if the resources of this blue rock were evenly distributed we would all be millionaires!

Every African child, every starving Bangladesh family, every 711 worker could easily control $1,000,000 of resources. But, we aren’t millionaires aplenty. We are worker bees serving the Queen (who herself is a servant to the rich few). In the end both the Queen and the pawn ends up in the same box no matter the role they played in their life on the board.

And the monopolies, well they collect an even more uneven share of the loot.

Instead of turning on the TV when you get home tonight find some time to think about what matters to you. Consider also whether you should have to struggle like you do to survive in a world that is so plentiful.  The hideously greedy wealthy overlords, the architects of our social and financial structures, have designed everything for their gain. Our experience has been deliberately designed to reinforce unacceptable institutionally imposed inequalities.

The worst secret hiding in plain sight is that for the most part we meekly obey and accept their system as our own.

Worse still are those who are so ensconced they can’t see through it. Maybe they see the poverty or the environmental destruction, but these are marginalized and largely disregarded as an inevitable consequence of living the good life.

Who are you really working for tomorrow when you go to the office or the factory? Are you getting a fair share of the profits from your efforts, creativity and energy? If not why not?

Better question – what are you prepared to do about it?