Why do people like to talk about what’s right or who’s wrong all the time?
And when you think about right and wrong, emotions come with it. When you think about being right, you feel great and you feel like you “won”! But when you think about being wrong, you feel sorry and shameful.
And how do you define right and wrong? From the society? From religion?
So the society says e.g. it’s wrong to steal. Then we accepted that stealing is wrong. And when you steal, you feel sorry and shameful.
What if the society says stealing is the way of living? What if the world tells you stealing is the currency? Then you won’t think that is wrong, and you would feel great to steal because you did it to survive.
That’s just an what-if scenario.
But on our day to day lives, how do you define right and wrong? And should you define right and wrong?
At the end of the day, it’s only a difference in perspective.
How many pairs of shoes do you own? 5? 10? 20?
And when people ask you, “do you need all 10 pairs?”
You say “yes, few for work so I can change up the styles, then 1 sport shoes, 2 pair of boots, 2 flats, flipflops… ” and you find reasons to reason the needs of those 10 pair of shoes.
But really, do you actually wear those 10 pair of shoes? Regularly?
Why do we possess things? The camera, the next model of the phone, the handbag… Advertising makes you think that “hey the current model of your phone is outdated, here is what a new one can do.” or “This camera has much better function than the one you have now.” Oh. and don’t forget seasonal sales, which used to be twice a year and now it’s turned to twice a month. We feel like we are in deprived, and that we needed to update, upgrade and get the new. This doesn’t just apply to things. It also apply to our mind.
When we start getting rid of things, letting go, when we see how little we actually need to survive physically, the magic also apply to what we need mentally, it makes us realize how much more we can do when we strip down to only what we need, to hang on only to what we can’t do without.
What we need, not just to survive, but to thrive.
what are the very things that you cannot live without?
What is the reality? Is the the very things we see, touch, smell, taste, hear when the moment we open our eyes and wake from the day? When we are in conscious, does everything we make sense of at that time and space make it a reality?
Everyday we consume with our eyes, our ears, our noses, our tongues and our bodies other than through our mouth. And for every second our brain can only consume 20 information at a given time and space. Without us being aware of the whole process, every second we subconsciously choose and decide what we want to see and hear and smell etc to shape our reality.
Everyone of us has our own version of it. And there’s no identical match. Some overlapping reality, but no 100% the same.
And now this is the fun part.
People often think, reality is the truth. But in fact we can all change our own reality, when you tweak the process above. When you begin to actively choose and select what you consume and what you think. It’s like choosing what to wear for the day from your closet.
The whole picture changes.
The mind tricks you, but you can also trick the mind.
When you listen to music, most of us go for the lyrics, or the melody. And we sing along with it, or humming along with the it.
Now try, try listening to what the base is playing, just try to extract the tones and cords of what the base is doing, or the piano, or the violin, or the guitar.
Shift your focus.
It’s hard, but it’s an addiction. An addiction of concentration. Because you need to filter out the main voice. The loudest voice. And concentrate and listen for that smaller voice, what it is doing, its place on this piece of music.
And in this digital world, we have to constantly sift through information, people and things that are although “loud”, but make no necessary values to us.
And centre yourself.
Ask yourself, what is valuable to you instead?
So try it. And train yourself. You’ll get better at filtering out the unnecessary.
“We are all gonna die soon. Make the most out of your life.”
We all heard that saying. But honestly, how much of that sentence has seeped into your bones and make you really feel and understand what it meant?
I guess you’ll never get it fully until life hits you. It’s like what people say, “you’ll know when you become a mother.” When you have experience death, or near death, but more importantly, when you have experienced the FEELING of death – that is, the lost of hope in living, from whatever cause, it could be bankruptcy, lost a loved one, lost your home, whichever. Then you wake up. There’s this sudden rush of adrenaline that runs all over your body and you suddenly get it.
“We only live once.”
You get it.
Once. And time is ticking.
So, is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? kinder? more compassionate?
Decide. Breathe in…Breathe out…and decide.
“The presence of an object is required to make its absence felt.” -Adrienne Rich.
In Taoism, there’s a similar concept of “have” and “don’t have”. You must understand “have” so to understand “don’t have”. It’s like opposites, they work in relatives: tall/short, happy/sad, fun/boring etc. And I guess this is a way we find out what and who is important to us. When we haven’t experienced something, we don’t know, because we never had it, or tried it, so the absence of it makes no difference, because there was no presence. And it’s actually OK, to live like that. Stay the same. And you stick with what you know and don’t know.
But we change. Things change. Even though we don’t actively look for new experience or new things, they come to you from behind. It can be a friend is leaving town, or you lost your computer. And it is only then, the absent of it, the amount of frustration in missing it that tells you how important that thing is, or that person is, to you. Sometimes frustration is small, and you find solution quickly, or you forget about it. But sometimes, frustration can feel like a part of you is missing, it’s to heart, and there’s nothing you can do unless you have it again.
It’s all relative.
And passion, passion is what you feel frustrated the most when you lost it.
Everything has a scale.
Whether that’s with people or with what you do.
Some people you meet, but you are just passers-by,
and that’s all that.
Some they become your friends, but then you fall apart,
and that’s all that.
Some they come to give you some lessons, and they are like your mentors, they enrich your life.
Some are your soul mates, they understand you well, and you find your life incomplete without them, you keep them for lifelong.
You can’t control the people you meet, but you can control what you do when you meet them. And how that scale evolve, you let it be.
Some work you do, they are just a momentary of inspirations,
and that’s all that.
Some are what you want to experiment and try out,
and that’s all that.
Some you feel resonate with and you can do it for a much longer period, it feels as if it is part of you.
Some you feel it’ll influence others, and they will influence more people.
Some things look admirable but in fact you don’t really love.
You can’t control what you love to do, all you can control is to follow your heart and find the work you truly love. And how that scales evolve, you let it be.
Since when we use languages to communicate? Why is that our default way of communication? Words – yes those very letters that you are reading right now, the combinations of those letters – W-O-R-D – which you made sense of what it means from learning, maybe in school, maybe from experience, maybe from reading. I don’t know. And as you read this, you understand what I have written here because of this “common language” that we speak of.
But why don’t we use pictures to communicate? That’s what people do in ancient times I presume? E.g. They draw a picture of a “mountain” and do some actions and people understand that he’s going to the mountain. And e.g. when we learn what an “apple” means, often we are given a picture or a real object to refer to so that we know ok, this is called an apple. And then when someone tells you about something e.g. “Michelle goes to McDonalds for hamburger.” Your brain may go like this (in split seconds):
A picture of Michelle pops up, and then the picture of the logo McDonald, and a picture of a hand holding a hamburger.
Isn’t it even more straight forward to use pictures? You get to know what type of hamburger she’s having, and also what Michelle looks like at that moment. And if you don’t know what McDonald is at the beginning, you get to know it from the picture. So much more details. And no confusion. Or maybe it’s the fussiness and the gaps in languages that leaves room for people for imagination and that’s why we use languages?
It’s a love or hate relationship. You love it because it gives you all these possibilities to connect with the world. There’s no geographic issues anymore. Anything that you put on social media people around the world is able to see, and watch, and read. And that’s a joy, in some sense, because you can truly connect with the people who resonate with you. And it’s like a big ass library, which you have all the access to. But you also hate it, because to be good at it, you will have to be constantly, 24 hours, 1440 minutes, on it. Information is uploaded every second just on 1 platform. And if you have 4, imagine the time spent on it and trying to catch up with all the information that’s there, trying to absorb them in, and replying, responding and the online interactions.
Social media is going way too fast. It’s swamping your head. And you feel you have to catch up – what’s this person up to, who’s that guy? what’s new to this? What’s everyone discussing about? No one is going to take information more carefully anymore. No one is going to read photographs more preciously. Sweep and that’s it. 3 seconds?
At the end of the day, you fight to strive a balance between being in this world and not getting lost in it.
The heart doesn’t lie. The mind might trick you, lie to you, but the heart doesn’t. Who makes you feel warm, who makes you feel calm, who makes you feel irritated, who makes you feel loved… It’s the heart that speaks the truth. Not the brain. Often the brain lies to us so much that we can’t even tell the truth. We trick ourselves into believing this is how we feel. It’s often the case of should vs. want. But what if you can’t distinguish them anymore?