Thursday, December 22, 2022


Song: Windam Hill's William Ackerman, "Pacific II"

One of the most profound insights I've gained from mindfulness meditation is that I naturally react to just about anything and everything. Not just news, loneliness, mean comments online, people not answering emails or texts (one of my two main causes of suffering I'm trying to mindful away), crazy people driving, the quirks of my computer, people being inefficient (especially with money). But how people's garbage cans are arranged on the street or how loud someone is talking when passing by the house. And honestly, most of my reactions are negative on one level or another (anger, sarcasm, scorn). 

As expounded on in Losing My Religions, evolution has sculpted us to be unsatisfied, constantly reacting, always competing, always striving. But by understanding how our mind works and studying the contents of our consciousness, we can alter our genetic and cultural programming (to a greater or lesser extent). 

We don't have to react to everything. Most of our reactions don't make us better people and don't help us to make the world better. Indeed, spending emotional energy on the latest outrage by Elon Musk (et al.) actively makes the world a worse place -- first by adding to the negativity, and second by taking time and energy away from where we actually can make a difference. 

Again, this is discussed in more detail in Losing My Religions and the recommended books therein (specifically, Why Buddhism Is True.)

Here's to a more mindful 2023! 

PS: Somewhat related: the "All News is Bad News" section of this, which actually relates very good news! Water is cleaner, forests are back, etc. 

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