Silence, Essentials & Peace

Some unedited thoughts:-

Silence has become too hard to find. Too many thoughts these days. Mind always wavering. Just want to tune it off and go blank. Too much of everything I guess. Need to cull a lot out of life. Only the essential to be left. I liked when Harold gives away everything in his pilgrimage and walks with nothing but the minimum to get by never even packing food for the next day (from the book ‘The unexpected pilgrimage of Harold Fry’) . There’s a lot of baggage we carry with us. There’s some reason too – that baggage gives us identity. We identify ourselves with it – what are we without it we say to ourselves. But, every step we take adds only more baggage. Every step becomes laborious.

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The Pursuit of the Inconsequential

Those who know me or are following the blog know that I love reading. Last year a friend asked how many books I might have read in my life? Averaging at 3 books per month, at 36 a year, I’ve been reading regularly for 16 years now, So, I told him that I might’ve read around 500 books till now. Not a great number but I was still proud. This year I decided to note down all the books I’d be reading and started off with the list in January. But, what started as a counting exercise soon became a hunt for numbers. How many can I complete this year? This month? This week? How many pages can I read today? I enjoyed the challenge for two months, but, ’slowly started dreading it. I simply did not want to read anymore, ’cause now it was anymore about reading a book but about reading it at a pace I didn’t enjoy. There was no more time to re read a few passages because they made such sense or because the language was beautiful but only a pressure to complete this and move to the next. I did not start reading to complete a goal. I just loved reading and happened to complete a good number of them. But, with a new ‘number’ goal in my mind it didn’t matter if I enjoyed reading or not. All I wanted was to hit target.

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Everyday Karma Yoga

I read Swami Vivekananda at the age of 16. To be honest, I don’t remember much. But, one section of his complete works stuck with me for a long time, it was his views on ‘Karma yoga’. Back when I started to piece my life together to make some sense to the present where I’m still struggling to make sense, I’ve looked back to his account of Karma yoga many a times for support (no, it is not a kind comfort, but a very rude one). For a 16 year old, and a 30 year old struggling with the idea of ‘life is meant to reach god or serve people’, his insights into karma and work have been very helpful. Though, I don’t mean to write on the Swami’s views of this yoga, I’m piecing here a few points on Karma yoga which have been very helpful to me when I just had to justify moving on from a painful episode of life or to remind myself that ‘this too shall pass’ in a very jubilant one. But, before we start, what is Karma?

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Omnifocus Core Perspectives

There’s a great deal of discussion on the internet if the traditional ‘context’ is dead due to the ubiquity of mobile phones (read computers) and internet. Contexts such as ‘computer’, ‘online’ and ‘phone’ seem to have lost their relevance. Add to this all those other abstract contexts such as ’think’, ‘energy’ – which just dilute the traditional concept of a context further. When I moved from Things to Omnifocus I was quick to create perspectives which filtered my tasks to show how Things showed them – in Today, Next, Scheduled & Someday views. My workflow was to use Today and Next perspectives to find stuff to do and Scheduled and Someday to plan. My workflow was simple – get done with what’s in Today and move on to Next to find tasks.

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How to avoid the ‘Comparison’ trap?

One day he had it enough. The last straw broke his back. Despite knowing what he saw on social media was just one Photoshopped facet of a person’s life, he couldn’t stop from comparing. He cribbed, cribbed and cribbed his heart out. “Am I a loser?” he asked me. Knowing him, I knew he wasn’t. I sympathized with him. Talking to him, I confessed that even I fall into this trap often. Ten, fifteen years back your friends’, acquaintance success was something you came to know when you met them or through someone, and you thought about it for sometime, you’d either be happy or jealous and move on. It was easy to forget. But, nowadays, social media is in your face. It’s difficult to forget. Everyday we see one or the other friend scuba diving, posing before the London eye or at the Niagara, buying a new car, a new house, partying in a pub, getting promoted, starting a new company, retiring to a villa. With all this happening around us, we against our best judgement end up comparing our lives with them, even when we know that all of it was not done by one person, and analyze our life against theirs’. We fall short and end up feeling miserable.

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