We complicate things, many believe this to be human nature. Or is it what we have learned to believe is human, but in all actuality is not? Recently, in listening to some Tim Ferriss podcasts and delving into the new Waking Up meditation app by Sam Harris(highly recommend it click here to get it), it’s got me thinking about thinking differently. We often conflate things and then conflate them more, creating complexity on top of complexity. So why not try the opposite. If complexity will sully our thought patterns and dirty the mind, how about we clean it up by simplifying it. A reductionist approach of finding the smallest common denominator. It’s an exercise that can offer great value and at times allow your thinking to become clearer, maybe even allowing you to see how absurd our common modes of operation are. This, in and of itself, can be incredibly liberating. So, I’ll give it a spin below as an example, but I recommend trying it for yourself.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at any point I may suggest a question to ponder, one in which Tim Ferriss put forth in his fantastic book, The 4-Hour Workweek which you can find here. Are you having a breakdown or breakthrough? You’ll find it is often the latter. I’ve given an example below but have also thrown in some questions for effect. This exercise has power. The power to calm a racing mind. The power to reset your thinking and allow you to rebuild from the ground up what would be most beneficial to your being. This exercise should be allowed to let flow, try to do it without interruption. Stream of consciousness. It really helps to write it down or type as you think it out. Clearing out the thought allows the next to flow more freely. Don’t worry about redundancy, this will happen. It is the connector of thoughts. This exercise may lead you many places. At the end you may reach a conclusion or not, and that is ok.
Ok, here goes:
We live in boxes to protect us from the outside world because our bodies are not well suited to deal with it.
We wear clothing for the same reason and furthermore other reasons.
We wear clothing to hide our form from others, or at times to accentuate it.
We belch and flatulate, so we do not explode.
We have jobs to make money.
A job is something we do, service or act, where we trade our time for currency.
Currency allows us to participate in society.
Currency is used to exchange for things that make life easier, food, shelter (boxes), things.
Things can make life easier, too many things can make life harder, as we have to tend to things.
We are animals.
We are animals who have a personal identity.
Our identity is our ego.
Our ego is comprised of what we think of ourselves.
What we think of ourselves is largely comprised of what others have told us what we are.
Before we were able to assign what we thought we were to ourselves, others conditioned us to believe what we are by their own observations and desires.
Other’s observations and actions are contaminated or enriched by their experience.
We are mostly what others have told us what we are before we were able to critically believe and decide for ourselves.
Those that told us who we are were told who they were.
Those that told them who they were had also been told the same things in a likewise fashion going back generation by generation.
Who we are isn’t who we are.
When is the last time you stripped away all of that?
Strip away the memory of what others have told you. For a moment disallow that to be your identity, whom you think you are.
Do not be influenced by it.
Now strip away what you think you are and the conclusions you’ve drawn upon yourself, or more likely sentenced yourself to.
At the core, a thinking, breathing creature. One that has the ability to program itself how it wants to. Choose to interact with other things in different manners. Can choose to participate in the game of society, or not. Can choose which set of rules to play by, or not. Can select its beliefs by creating their own or choose to adopt others pre-determined sets of beliefs
**End Exercise Example**
I hope you give this exercise a shot. It’s usually a great way to get you back on track or allow yourself to get off a track that you have been stuck on and create a new one. Doing this reductionist method, you can reprogram parts of your thinking and quite easily. In no short order does it allow you to step outside of your beliefs and understand how silly some of them are and realize the foundation which you thought to be immovable is quite flimsy. On that note for those of you out there who are looking for a great and uplifting read please check out my friend’s latest book, “SHIT THAT NEEDS SAID: SO YOU CAN KICK ALL THE ASS” by Joshua Coburn here.
Until next time, keep it simple and do your thing!