“The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being”
And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself
Well…How did I get here?
Letting the days go by
It strikes me how many are lost in the dream of life. Mindless automatons. Never where they are. Always living in the past, the future or dreams of the mind. One day at 50 these poor souls awake and wonder where their life has gone. Adam Sandler.
The best and the brightest among us lives consciously. They examine the moment and set their own course. The are trouble makers, dissenters and misfits that live their life to their own standards.
Many people awake and wish for change in their life, but find change hard after a lifetime of patterned habits.
Too many put their trust in willpower, but willpower is a fickle mistress and in my opinion willpower is worthless.
If you are hanging from the cliff by your fingertips and I leave you there for a week when I come back you won’t be there. No matter your will.
Better I think, once your life is in focus, is to trust in ritual. Ritual is simply repetitive behaviour. Behaviour repeated is the next autopilot programme and the next time you critically examine your lot awaking from the flow of life you will find yourself a happier soul.
Its 100% ritual and no percent willpower.
Live well friends. Live consciously. Live simply.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Our experience can be traced back to two emotional roots.
Love or fear.
Every action begins as an idea. Every idea engenders a corresponding emotion. A course of inaction or intertia may result from pleasure seeking (love motive), just as we are compelled to act when we wish to avoid a nasty consequence (fear motive). No matter what the thought, emotion or reaction it is either rooted in love or it flows from fear. It’s funny to think about being angry as being afraid. But, if you trace back how you got angry, or why you are envious, or if you search for the true source of your shame you can find a fear of something, someone or some circumstantial event that you’d rather not experience. Mostly we get hard programmed to live in fear. Parents use guilt and fear to get children to behave. School continuously reinforces fear as the prime motive. Fear of strangers, fear of traffic, fear of failure and every other source of fear. Work is a fear based culture structured usually as a totalitarian dictatorship. You fear your boss, job loss and being seen not to give a toss. All the while the media and the government heap fear on fear upon you. Its convenient for the ruling class because it makes us docile little worker drones. Fear compels us to conform rather than to stand out and individuate (express ourselves as we truly are). When we are fearful we are more easily encouraged to pass our personal power to a politician or a government to solve perceived problems on our behalf. Fear encourages helplessness.
Unfortunately there are many forces in the world that want a helpless hopeless afraid populace. Companies know people in this state are compliant little consumers. Governments fear not the people and employers are assured of compliant labour. Our fear based functioning at a societal level means we accept violence, war and military solutions. What better way to dispel your fear of a spider than to blow it up with a thermonuclear device? Still we know on a deeper level of our intelligence that there is something seriously wrong when peace is proposed from behind a rifle. We need to get over fear. Fear is a helpless, hopeless waste of energy. It directs us to solutions that can only bring death, poverty, devastation and in turn even more fear.
Sometimes my son will wake in the middle of the night terrified of monsters. I used to say “Don’t be afraid. There is nothing to fear. Daddy is here”. Now I say this to myself as a reminder to get over fear and act from more potent emotions (the love motive). Sometimes I feel envious and critical of a coworker, but what is there to fear I wonder? Other times I feel scared about the spread of disease, but instead I try to respond with a loving orientation feeling incredibly grateful and thankful of those medical personal on the front lines selflessly putting their own life at risk to ensure my good fortune. We are intimately connected to nature and to all of humanity. We need to remind ourselves constantly that there is nothing to be afraid of. By identifying the scaremongers we can start to unravel their motivations for roping us all into their collective nightmare.
Love or fear.
A simple choice.
“The things one is paid a salary for doing are never, in my experience, serious; never seem in the long run of any particular use to anyone”
We have a young couple that approached us about getting a mortgage. My partner’s cousin and his wife. They recently hit their savings target of 5% of the house purchase price. At this threshold the banks will lend them the other 95% in return for a lifetime of debt.
There is more emotion than ration in their decision making, but I tried my best to get four points across.
1. Run your personal finances as if they were business finances. Think asset, expense, liability. Don’t make spur of the moment decisions. Take time to think about things. There will always be another ‘ideal’ house.
2. Get a bigger deposit than the minimum 5% and you will add at least $1 m to your lifetime savings. At 5% equity a 7.95% loan with a low equity penalty of another 1% (so 8.95%) is going to drain your wealth. The $1000 per fortnight you pay back to the bank every fortnight for 30 years is virtually all giveaway money (interest). At the end of that first year repaying your mortgage you may have spent $40 or $50k, but only have paid back $500 bucks! A year of paying a lot of money to increase ownership from 5% to 5.1% isn’t inspiring. Besides there are better people to borrow money off than banksters.
3. You don’t need all those rooms. Buy a house with less rooms. It is cheaper and early on you won’t have any money for major furnishings. It can be depressing or you may find yourself buying furniture you can’t afford on credit. Buying a smaller house is a smart financial choice.
4. The most important advice is to understand and apply the example below. This is one of the only money lessons I would make sure my children completely understand. Therein lies the pathway to power and freedom in life without having to rely on winning the lottery. It is at the core of the the living simple philosophy.
You earn $100,000 (after tax) pa. In 4 years you will have earned $400k after the tax man and dipped his grubby fingers in.
Assume you managed to achieve a saving rate of 70% = $70k pa in savings or $280 over 4 years.
If you did that it means for 4 years you lived on 30% = $30k pa.
Dividing your $280 savings by $30k (your new living costs) = 9.3 years until you need to work again. Since that $280,000 is probably earning interest over the decade you can probably make it the full 10 years before getting your CV together again. Good news right?
The message: In 4 short years of economic slavery you could literally have the best part of the next decade off work or a substantial sum of money to put on a house or to put in a retirement savings account to compound until you feel old enough to retire from regular life.
Contrast this with saving 20% which only results in $20k pa savings. After the same 4 years working you have accumulated the $80k you need for 1 year off work. Depressing right?
Because this is percentage math income levels don’t matter, but if you are only on $30,000 per year you probably need to look at raising your salary as your first saving goal. It’s very hard, but not impossible to save 70% and live on 30% with such low earnings.
“Are these things really better than the things I already have? Or am I just trained to be dissatisfied with what I have now?”
The fundamental myth of our way of living is that we improve the quality of our lives through excess consumption.
This entirely unsound ideology is driving our planet to collapse. At the same time it has caused massive wealth and social inequality and is leading to the disappearance of the middle class.
We are led to believe that life can only be this way. The economy, money and our lives can only be lived as we experience it breath by breath. We are discouraged from believing that there are any other ways to share the resources of the planet more fairly. This perfect system we find ourselves born into is natural. Of course the narcissistic, greedy warmonger families that have designed everything (over successive generations long before we were a glint in the eye of our Granddad) use their absolute power to ensure the media, schools and the government reinforce such belief systems. The are not devine, inevitable or natural ideas. It is all a human construct. The designers and owners of the system spread fear and lies when there is talk of change. They generate war for profit and use crisis for social reform that enhances their grip on the power structures. They pedal a cultural narrative that suits a small few at the expense of every single other person, animal, thing, idea, concern, piece of soil, droplet of ocean, or star in the heavens. These myths aren’t enforced with pens or guns. Mostly they are enforced by your neighbour next door that expects you to act just like them and will make you feel uncomfortable when you don’t. They’ve been trained how to think, how to feel and how to react their whole lives. Not they run their programme like good little robots. To some degree we all allow ourselves to remain prisoners in a self enforced system of social ties and self conscious conformity, but we both know it’s your life and you are breaking free (or just about to).