With the year 2020 coming up next – I think that with the passing of yet another decade – we are right now on the verge of something exciting and fresh! According to many trend reports, we will soon witness significant changes in our consumerist culture and as for working life. Now is the time to start planning for future crops based on the harvest of last year.
But what strategy would be useful in setting the best goals for the now beginning 52 weeks streak until 2020 – in one’s personal life, as well as beyond that question?
Hermann Hesse has infamously proclaimed that “Wisdom is nothing but a preparation of the soul, a capacity, a secret art of thinking, feeling and breathing thoughts of unity at every moment of life.”
Hesse was the author of such novels as “Siddhartha” (1922) and “Steppenwolf” (1927), and many others, with antagonists who are usually portrayed extremely lonely and quite unhappy in general.
In the story of “Siddharta”, a young man embarks upon an epic journey to find the true meaning of existence, and to find himself. The Brazilian author Paolo Coelho has since written a similar, popular novel about the same topic called “The Alchemist” (1988). I have read both books when I found the topic of existence relevant to me. A Finnish author called Mika Waltari has also discussed these questions in length and in depth in the excellent “Sinuhe The Egyptian” (1945) and many of his other fiction books.
The most important message of this type of subtle literature is to live the life you love and to love the life you live. Life is, after all, what unravels and happens to us when we are busy making other plans.
The biggest obstacle most professionals face right now at the workplace as well as in their personal lives seems to be every-day routines.
We are all receiving everyday bias in the form of notifications from all directions, being all the time available and bombarded by yet another important direct message, private message or yet another important email every 5-10 seconds and so on and so forth.
With the daily 8 hours usually spent on sleeping, and the 8 hours at the office, and with the remaining 8 hours to spare to enjoy the time with family and friends – it is evident that many people now suffer of stress, regardless of their current social status and financial situation and moreover especially so if they run their own business.
I intentionally spent the past holiday season by myself at my Kallio apartment, with my bengal cat Frank as my only companion. Over these lazy 5 days of surfing the waves on my sofa, I regained the inspiration to watch a few films I like and to read a few books new to me in order to develop further.
I started the streak with the movie “Koyaanisqatsi” (1982) – a meditative movie with an excellent Philip Glass soundscape (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koyaanisqatsi).
The film is surreal, and succeeds in portraying our current society’s failures. After this one, I felt like I needed something on a lighter note for next. So after this, I spent an enjoyable few hours more watching once more the classic family movie “The Straight Story” (1999), directed by David Lynch (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Straight_Story).
But what really triggered me to write this blog post, incidentially, was revisiting Emir Kusturica’s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emir_Kusturica) “Arizona Dream” (1993), a movie nowadays perhaps best recalled for Johnny Depp playing the lead role (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona_Dream). It was precisely watching this thrilling and epic 3-hour film for the third time that inspired me, among many other things, to examine closer the concept of time in this blog post.
Watching the three movies mentioned in this article, I conclude that time, in our society, has become the luxury commodity number one for many – unrivalled by anything money can buy. Echoing this, in most meditation and mindfulness as well as yoga traditions it is paramount to focus on the present moment for many reasons.
With the velocity and the diversity of life and with the limited asset of time being scarce in general for anyone – perhaps we as the people inhabiting this awesome planet should get more critical towards the politics of things we are doing, and even more so, how we spend our time here…? I think that this question is most essential for our overall wellbeing and happiness.
We are already very organised mass. This is what matters for all kinds of activism in my opinion. So, to get involved, ask yourself, what kind of things you want to do, and from there on, create a map of proactive action towards the goal ahead. This quest seems simple enough to execute by anyone. I take the time to do this simple mindfulness exercise daily, sometimes even multiple times. I find this to be the most useful method in taking on the many challenges of everyday life. I wonder as I am not a seasoned practitioner of mindfulness, if other people will find this technique useful or not. To me, this method, however, seems to work best.
Mohandas Gandhi, the key figure and leader of the non-violent Indian revolution, would meditate every single day for at least a few hours, prior to being assassinated in 1948.
Many of Gandhi’s fans and followers did not believe that, as it was, he was a busy man leading India smoothly on with the non-violent revolution from under colonialist rule of the European countries.
So – if a man like Gandhi, involved in many things, and with tons of daily tasks, could take the brief time to meditate, why not give it a go right here, right now.
Let’s take a deep breath then after the previous exercise… and level up the game with another one. Now what I would like you to do, is simple, and the technique stays the same with the scale of the passing of time, however, transforming.
And let’s tackle the obstacles of moving on to the next exercise at first, prior to investing time in it. To me, Gandhi was highly likely the kind of man who would love to invest a bit of his time to do this as well. We now need to take on the challenge of space. And by that, I mean your surroundings, that may interfere with the next, second exercise.
Meditation and mindfulness, at present, at least for the majority being interested in these activities, seem to be the kind of activities that require a completely silent space to begin properly practicing, or an app to give you a steady flow of notifications upon taking the time to practice this activity.
I think it is worthwhile to ask ourselves every now and then if we are really headed where we want to go next and what to do with the limited time here that we are given.
So why not do yourself a favour, and head on to your favourite location where you can relax for a few hours. Staying at home is ok and absolutely and heartfully recommended for this exercise. You can also attempt to do this when you are travelling if you can find enough undisturbed privacy. Office spaces, however, are not recommended for this one.
You need a full 2 hours to complete the exercise.
I suggest that you be seated comfortably at that location and that you switch off your notifications or even completely shut down the electric appliances nearby. The technique will be the same that we used previously. There can be background noise, silence or music surrounding you. Other people may be present, but I suggest that this simple exercise be taken without vocalizing the experience or engaging in conversations.
It is important and paramount to be completely comfortable with the way you breathe and to take this brief and passing moment for yourself for the second exercise.
Prior to setting out, make yourself as comfortable as you can, and I suggest having a glass of water at hand for this one, or, if you prefer, drinking a glass of water prior to starting the exercise. In case you have no energy to do this straight away, make a mental note to try this one later this week or later this year. It does not really matter if you also add this one simple exercise of 2 hours to your electric calendar – you can schedule the exercise at any time if you like to, if you like it.
We are about to upgrade the game plan once more.
In case you begin usually by focusing on the breath, it is more than highly recommended to start by that. My suggestion is to also take a moment to think about the velocity of things and the concept of time at first. In case that feels challenging to you, I suggest that you do not proceed with this one at all, and you should put this off until a later date.
I suggest you now take 2 hours to not to plan the upcoming period of 2 years and to not think about past events. To me this seems like a worthwhile activity, and a comfortable scale to practice with.
In case, during the exercise, you will, however, drift into plenary thoughts of the upcoming events, attempt to bring the focus softly back to the present moment.
Note, that in case you find this whole concept to not be a suitable approach to mindfulness and meditation yourself, you should likely not attempt to proceed with this third exercise at all.
Today was an extremely busy day for me, and I have now happily spent the remaining two hours of working at my laptop tonight describing my simple and deviant approach to mindfulness meditation in this article for your pleasure. Now I will now put off the second exercise for today – and take it on to re-schedule the session for tomorrow with a brief walk in winter nature. Hope you have enjoyed the article in question – and even more than that – that you will find this article of use to plan your activities.
Wishing an extremely happy, motivated and a proactive new year to all!