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Lessons in Life

June 6, 2013


I try to see life as one big learning experience. So what lessons have I learned recently?

There are many things in so many different aspects of my life:

  • Attention is a valuable asset, so do not waste it on people who are undeserving or who are not interested or unable to reciprocate it in some way. Don’t think that people will be offended if you do this. People are only offended after you have given them initially too much attention and then you try to belatedly withdraw it. Avoid getting drawn in, in the first place, and you save yourself feeling bad, and save hurting another persons feelings. Save your attention, as I say, for those you judge can reciprocate it in a valuable and meaningful way. All people may want your attention, but the giving of it is a gift you should save for people worthy of it, and who will value and reciprocate it.
  • Anger is a great positive force when channeled and directed in the right ways, and when you learn to spot the signs of it in yourself early on, and when you have built up a good awareness of the kind of things that trigger your anger.
  • Possessions end up possessing you if you just have them sat there doing nothing for too long. Try to maintain an active relationship with your immediate surroundings and the things  in your environment. Anything else, find a use for, or dispose of it in some way, selling it on, throw it away, etc. A few sentimental things is fine, but hoarding a load of things is a mind killer, burdening you and giving you nothing back in return. It is only fear that has you holding on to such things.
  • Regular changes in your normal living environments, for writing and running mainly in my case, is crucial for keeping your mind fresh. Just as a hill session keeps you running on your toes. A change of environment for doing your writing, such as at a library, or even just in a different room in your house. Though there is an initial mental inertia that dislikes it, is a great way similarly to keep your mind on its toes.
  • One of my triggers to anger is a feeling of being disrespected, or not taken seriously in what I am doing. To the extent that I am often looking for the slightest sign of disrespect from someone in order to justify being upset with them and to get angry about it. The problem, of course, is when you are always looking for something you tend to see it. So I need to learn to take off these “Preemptive disrespect goggles”, so to speak, that currently color and taint all my experiences and relationships with other people.
  • Many people need, and I mean really NEED, the company of others to even feel happy in themselves. I have never understood this, being a person for the most part happy in my own company. As such I tend to misunderstand a lot of people. I have tended see them as looking to impress and impose themselves on others. But, in reality, it is generally not driven by such sinister motives, it is usually just down to the fact that many people need the company of others just to feel stable in themselves, they need someone to bounce off, so to speak.
  • This final lesson for today came from a book I am currently reading, The Fall, by Albert Camus. One of the things we hate most, and try to avoid at all costs, is the judgment of other people. No one likes to feel they are being judged for their actions. What wealth provides, the main drive and motive to it, is to provide some distance for yourself from this judgment of others. A bigger garden, a wall, a gate, all these things get bigger and build up with more wealth, they are the visual signs of this motive to acquire some more distance from the judgment of others, the thing we all fear the most. A fear that can be crippling for those at the bottom of the pile in terms of wealth, and so this is to a large extent the feeling of freedom that arises through wealth. It does not come from the things, the possessions, the lifestyle per se, but from this increased distance from the judgment of others, lessening the burden of the fear of it.

Life is an opportunity to learn, it is what living is all about, it is how we keep our minds active and fresh. Learning does and should not end when schooling ends. For it to do so is to let your mind become passive and more fixed in its habits and outlook. It makes you a bit more dead to the world. Life is a constant battle against this tendency of inertia, so keep on fighting it.

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