Thursday, March 19, 2009

Missing the Point of Human Existence

Another list (because I'm a lazy writer).

1. I feel like my writing skills have gone down the tube, because I haven't had to write much, in terms of school papers. I also used to be an avid journal-writer, but I got sick of my own naggy voice and the lists! I wrote in them (lazy). But oh, if I could write a blog a day, plus a letter to a friend (short emails have given way to even shorter facebook comments), plus a few creative lines in a notebook, I think I would be much happier, if I could get over my laziness. 

2. Where does laziness come from? Is it genetic? Environmental? I'm convinced that Psychology, Neuroscience and Physics can explain everything. I think I spent so much time being lazy as a child (all I did was read and watch t.v.) that it built pathways in my brain for "laziness" and now trying to change those pathways is difficult. And objects at rest want to stay at rest/objects in motion want to stay in motion. I think we will always choose the path of least resistance. So in order to change these pathways I'd have to practice not being lazy for a set amount of time everyday for a month (isn't that how long it takes to form a new habit?). I know I can do this--I've changed my behavior in other ways lately: putting clothes away after I wear them instead of draping them over a chair in my room (I got rid of the chair). I've also been watching less t.v. too.

3. Yes! Less T.V.! Believe it or not it was an Oprah episode on T. V. that made me think twice about my habit. There was an episode about simplifying your life, and one suggestion was to create physical and mental space: i.e. watching less t.v. and cleaning out clutter. So for one day I didn't watch t.v. and it was great! I listened to This American Life online instead (four hours worth, which I guess is another time-sucking activity, but not as bad as t.v.), and listened to music (easy activities with a newborn). Also, brother H's recent visit introduced me to the wonders of watching t.v. shows/movies selectively on Hulu and Netflix. So now I am watching less t.v. (maybe 0-1 hours per day), and listening more. I found myself getting antsy watching my favorite thursday night shows (The Office, 30 Rock, Kath/Kim) last week because they weren't as interesting as listening to T.A.L., which I think is better for my ADD brain then television...
Also, since I have a kid now, I'm more aware of the negative messages/images on t.v. I can't stand the noise of commercials (stop shouting at me, Billy Mays!) or seeing a dead, bloody body each time I turn the channel. What does this do to our psychological state (subconsciously?). Also, I'm convinced that the rapid images and loud sounds on t.v. can cause ADD/ADHD/and autism.

4. I think this is a good time of year to create space. I love Lent because it's a time of reflection, and trying to eliminate the superfluous junk from your life. Every year I try to do something Lenten, whether it's reading some sort of spiritual-themed book or trying to eliminate a bad habit (I never quite do well with these, but it's the thought that counts, right?). I haven't missed Ash Wednesday mass in the last 5 years because I go to the Gonzaga student mass at 10pm, which has been led by this amazing priest there, who gave the best sermons I've ever heard. He basically recycled the same sermon every year, and every year I would take notes in my journal because they were that interesting and uplifting (I miss mass most of the year b/c of bad priests/sermons). He said things like "To fast means to 'fasten' yourself to something you enjoy, or something that will make your life better." There was no fire and brimstone, no guilt in his sermon, just uplifting ideas. The idea he was getting across was the same as Oprah's: if you eliminate stupid stuff from your life you create space for better and greater things.

5. Speaking of Oprah and Lent, I've been skimming Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. I've been skimming it because a lot of it repeats itself (okay we get it: the ego is bad!) and some of it is just made-up b.s. with no research behind it (okay if you're a spiritual advisor, I guess). But I've written down a few things that I think are right on, such as his definition of sin (which I've always thought was a problematic word. I think religious institutions want you to think sinning equals eliminating the fun things from life such as dancing, drinking, having sex, swearing, etc.). But here's the best and most satisfying definition I've ever heard: 

(from Greek): "To miss the mark, as an archer who misses the target, so to sin means to miss the point of human existence. It means to live unskillfully, blindly, and thus to suffer and cause suffering" (pg. 9).

Wow, isn't this ironic? He seems to be describing the history and present state of the Catholic Church (and other world religions as well). 

I also like this:

"Whatever action you take in a state of inner resistance (negativity) will create more outer resistance, and the universe will not be on your side: life will not be helpful....
When you yield internally, when you surrender, a new dimension of consciousness opens up. If action is possible or necessary your action will be in alignment with the whole and supported by creative intelligence" (pg. 58).

Okay, as a side note I have to admit I read cheesy books by Wayne Dyer and Sonia Choquette, but this statement above is similar to quotes I have written down from the above new-age authors. Here's something I wrote in my notebook from WD's The Power of Intention and Your Heart's Desire by SC: 

"You attract what you focus on."

Meaning, if you focus on the negative aspects of your life (I'll never get my dream job/house/spouse...) you attract that negative energy from the universe and you will never find your dream job/house/spouse. But if you focus and imagine in your mind's eye positive things (like visualizing your perfect house or state of health, etc) you will attract those things.

To me, this makes a lot of sense. I'm realizing that during the past few years I've been a negative person (again, I think t.v. adds to my negative emotions). But since baby E (I swear I visualized having a baby and it worked! I was convinced for a while I was infertile....) I've tried to be more positive, even if I feel tired or crappy or crabby. 

My last post was very negative and crabby. I'm also realizing that my ego gets in the way a lot. I think if I focus less on the product (making great art/publishing/showing at galleries...) and more on the process, it won't matter if my work never leaves the house. Rushmore is one of my favorite movies because of what Max Fisher says towards the beginning: "Find something you love to do and do it for the rest of your life. For me that's going to Rushmore." Now I have to find my Rushmore.

Anyway, I've babbled for too long. These are just some of the things I've been thinking about lately.