Uncertainty is a terrible thing to wake up with; uncertain if we want to go to work today, uncertain about the partner we wake up with, uncertain if we are doing the best we can for ourselves. It diminishes our enthusiasm for the day, as if our car tires hit a patch of quicksand. When we are slowed down, instead of choosing what to do, we revert to old habits (and by extension, our old life): brush our teeth, have our coffee–then autopilot–end up at work again. Years go by because we become accustomed to the uncertainty, habits and worrying. I think the answer to uncertainty is audacity. Ask for that raise, apply for a better job, tell people how you truly feel, go after the things and prove your self-doubt wrong. It might feel like familiar things are breaking down at first, but we can’t create something new unless we move on from the old.
Today I’d like to talk about the concept of time and how it’s often valued less compared to money because of its intangible nature. Money is tangible and can be used to buy things that others can see: houses, cars, electronics–pretty much anything that can elevate us in our social hierarchy. But we need time (and energy) to make money; money we can always make more if we have time, but we can never make more time. At the end of the day, each minute we get back from our busy schedule is time that we can invest in ourselves.
If not yet, I hope you can begin feeling the empowerment that comes from being able to reclaim your time. And while it is true that many of us don’t have time for things we enjoy doing, it is also true that if we don’t make time for it, we will never have it. Before long, we will realize that we are becoming older; that time has slipped through our indecisive fingers. Now is the time to demonstrate courage and take back your time that is being stolen by manipulative people and useless gossip. Every moment, whether we give it to positive causes or negative feelings, our attention builds what comes tomorrow.
This article was originally posted on Medium.
“The door is there, and the key in your hand.” — Jiddu Krishnamurti
When we doubt ourselves, we doubt the universe from which we are manifested. And the universe makes no mistakes. If we doubt its ability to produce a path for us, we won’t take steps forward to pursue our goals. If we doubt its ability to solve obstacles in our path, we won’t be able to see that the “obstacle eventually becomes the way.”
Our best thinking brought us to where we are today. If it’s not where we want to be, we need to think differently. There is always much more to learn, and learning is thriving. If we grow comfortable with the way we think, we eventually seek out those who validate us rather than challenge us and our narrow way of thinking. We trap ourselves to a certain fate. But if we knew we were trapped, wouldn’t we want to search for the way out if we had even a little chance of finding it? As Jiddu Krishnamurti once stated, “The door is there and the key is in your hand.” With knowing where the key is, we just need the demonstrate the courage to deal with the unknown outside the prison walls of our familiar thinking. If we fear what is out there, we are no better off than being voluntary prisoners. But what is there to fear really, when the universe outside our reality are also a part of us? There is nothing that is truly foreign to us, because just as we were manifested, so was everything else around us by the universe. The more unknowns we are willing to accept, the freer we become. And then, we can realize our true nature and the connection of the universe.
You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean. — Alan Watts
You are enough, because you are actually many. Whenever we feel alone in our journey, exhausted and ready to give up, open your palms and look deep within to the core DNA of every cell. There, you will find the genetic memory of all of your ancestors who have succeeded. Let their energy carry you through the trials of your life, as their successes have carried them through theirs.
And when you shake the hand of another or embrace them, feel the universe within them and know that they too are on the journey of navigating the cosmos within themselves. The same spirit — The Tao, In Lak’ech, The Logos, Brahman — that resides within you, flows through them as well.
The different names for the energy that both encompass us and flow through us are like individual waves in the same cosmic ocean. The rise in the interest of spirituality during our current generation is no coincidence. If or when the next revolution will happen, it won’t be as much as tearing town physical walls as it will be for spiritual ones. The names of the deities and holy men may be lost to history, but the feelings and connections with people will always remain. Who was the greatest Shaman or Holy Man a billion years ago? How about more recent, say 10th millennium — 8,000 BC to 6,000 BC — ? It’s hard to say, but I’m sure people interacted with each other then, how we interact with each other today. Names may be lost to history, but our feelings and memories reside within us from long ago.
What our ancestors sought may not be much different than what we seek today. The human desire for connection is more prevalent than ever before, and perhaps one of the reasons why social media is so prevalent today: to facilitate creation of communities, and help people like ourselves find our tribe members. During a time where India, Rome, Latin America, China, etc. thought that they were the entire world because of geographical isolation, it was the need to connect and know about the existence of others like them that drove each empire to fund expeditions. What other motivation could be powerful enough to drive someone from the comfort of their homes, for months into rough seas?
Unfortunately, we now know how modern civilizations did a really poor job assimilating into indigenous cultures; usually ending up colonizing or enslaving them for the name of their God, profit and/or country. But it was ultimately their identities and the division of us/them that caused many of the complex problems associated with cultural ignorance. In our overall global culture today, is it a coincidence that the more scientific-minded we become, the more access we have to history, the more people seek connection with culturally different groups of other people? There may be some proof in how strong our ancestors’ desire to connect with each other was, because it seems like we are learning and more accepting of different cultures than ever before. We are beginning to see the soul of each other’s humanity.
There is much that we don’t know, nor ever will. But it doesn’t seem like life asks us much more than to do the best with what we know. What has happened before, will happen again, and will continue happening because of our vast ignorance. But during our lifetime on this planet, when we are able to see the first picture ever of a black hole in space, maybe we can dive deeper into the universe, within ourselves, and connect with the spirits of those who still continue to seek through us. We are them, they are us, but they and we are one energy, like ripples in one cosmic ocean.
Jay-Ram is a former Industrial Chemist turned writer who aims to help others use deductive reason and the scientific process to gain deeper insight into people, and create deeper, meaningful relationships between his fellow humans.
We can always improve ourselves in small ways. But when we stop believing in our ability to make a change, we begin to suffer. If we try to live a life detached from reality (usually characterized by a false defeatist mantra of “life sucks”), this can translate into trying to live vicariously through others (i.e. parents’ expectation for their children, friends expectation of friends, etc.) because we relinquish accountability for ourselves. Sometimes, we expect so much more from people other than ourselves, that we forget that we are the only person that we have the most over. The foremost person we should expect anything from is ourselves, and the rest is just icing on the cake. We all have the infinite potential to create an inspired, joyful life; but only if we believe that there is more to life than our current difficulties.
Quote: Tom Bilyeu
Whenever we revisit the past, we must make sure to enjoy the good moments as much as we scrutinize our bad moments. It’s easy to spend time scrutinizing every mistake you’ve ever made – who else besides us knows every mistake we’ve ever made? But for some reason, it’s so easy to forget the things we do correctly: the good decisions. The decisions where present-day you would be proud of younger you for making that choice. Most of us (when invited) would easily celebrate the victory of a good friend or someone else we care about, but why do we forget to celebrate our victories as greatly as we scrutinize our pain? Perhaps we’ve contlditioned to look for the faults in others, instead of improving ourselves, because the former is much easier than the latter – judging others is easy, yet changing ourselves requires a lot of failure, pain and introspection. Is there a painless way to learn? No. Pain is an integral part of the human experience. Suffering however is optional. What we choose to do with the pain is what ultimately transforms us into the person we want to become. We’ve learned to become who we are from the pain of our mistakes. Pain is guaranteed, but suffering is optional.
Whenever you have a lot of big changes happening all at once, the most important action is to focus on one thing at a time. If you try to focus on everything, you focus on nothing; so we have to prioritize. This is difficult because everything right now may seem important. But when we get overwhelmed, usually its a reminder to take a step back and remember your major goal right now. And then focus on that thing first. And then knock it off the list. The other things further down on your goal list will be there if they’re meant to be there. You won’t regret prioritizing your goals over them.
If you’re unfamiliar with Newton’s First Law of Motion, it states that an object in motion stays in motion, unless acted upon by an equal and opposite force. So how can we apply this law of physics into our personal lives?
Okay, so imagine yourself as a moving object (which you are): a person with their own thoughts and energy, going about their day and interacting with various different people and situations. Maybe you get a phone call with some bad news, or have to work with an insufferable coworker. Or maybe you got a promotion at work, or finally asked that person out on a date. If you’re like most people, your thoughts and temperment will change several times throughout the day: you’ll be in many different mental places. But regardless of how we feel, we all somehow manage to make it to the end of the day, going through the highs and lows of life.
Many of us look for ways to make our lives easier and happier, especially when we notice an imbalance towards negativity. Life can become overwhelming and exhausting. While this may be the end for some people — quitting on their endeavors or feel as if nothing is worth it anymore — this is not the case for powerful people. Because we recognize that there is no obstacle greater than the potential within us – the potential that we can convert into the moveable kinetic. The only thing that can completely destroy our dreams and motivation is any obstacle that we think that is greater than us. But there are very few people and obstacles that can equal our energy. To stay in motion towards our goals, it is important to acknowledge and believe in the inherent power within us: no obstacle is greater than you. Keep moving towards your goals, and recognize that often the obstacle is the way.
One of the things that many of us have in common is a past we cannot change. We’ve often heard many life coaches and motivational speakers talk about continuing to work on the present and moving forward, that we should keep the past behind us. As appealing as this advice may be, I feel that ignoring an important part of ourselves isn’t really complete advice. Ultimately at the end of the day when we are by ourselves and we become introspective, where does our mind go? Often to the past.
Since the past isn’t something we can change, it’s important that we look at it from different perspectives. Just like with people and situations in our lives, if we can’t change them, it’s important to change our perspective. As I sit here, I think about all of failures I’ve had in the past. For some, reflecting on things that’ve gone wrong might be debilitating and discouraging. But with the right perspective, it can be liberating. Each time we’ve failed at something, it means we’ve displayed courage and took a risk. And most importantly that we’ve survived.
We fell down seven times, but something made us stand up an eighth time. What was your reason for continuing to keep trying? And can we cultivate that into a passion that keeps us interested in life?
Bruce Lee would’ve been 78 yesterday. So to commemorate his birthday, I wanted to talk about one of his most popular sayings, of being “like water.”
Water can represent so many things: it is ever-present in our ecosystem. It can change shape from solid to liquid to gas. It moves everywhere, through many things, without doing much. It has no form, which then allows it to take the shape of anything.
In Taoism, this malleable form of water is what makes it such a common metaphor for the universe. There are many things in play in the universe – undiscovered energies, planets, stars, etc. And we as humans are also a part of this vast universe. It is no secret that one of humanity’s greatest strengths is the ability to adapt and survive. We’ve developed technology, communication and culture to find various ways to survive over the years — all products of adapting to the changing environment.
I feel that one of the things Bruce Lee talks about while advising us to be like water, is to be malleable so that we can adapt to life and its challenges. If we are complacent and rigid in our life, we take away our greatest strength as humans, and subject ourselves to a life of suffering. But to be formless means that nothing (external) defines you. You define you, nothing else. Then, our ego is minimized and we become capable of living to the capacity of our full potential. We become more aware and more powerful: two things that I would wish for everyone to be.