The revelation of a new idea. Good advice from a friend. A fresh plan. Use of a new service.
Each day brings so many choices, and so many good ideas and opportunities. If we open our eyes and hearts, we could follow a thousand paths and happily make no progress.
I read the Tao Te Ching, I listen to 365 Tao, I write for Tao Daily, I scan the headlines at Lifehack, Lifehacker, Tiny Buddha, and Harvard Business Review. So many ideas, so much inspiration. It’s not possible for me to implement everything I might learn.
It’s about focus. Contemplation can be a form of meditation.
If you spot a good idea, if struck by inspiration, take time to contemplate what it might mean. Write notes. Sit and focus on what this idea might change for you, on what action you might take.
Set a reminder to review the idea in a week or so. Make time to sit and contemplate again.
With ten thousand possibilities and countless distractions, it’s helpful to deliberate over the ideas that strike you.
Image credit: Pekka Nikrus
A little pause goes a long way, or rather, it holds you back from going too far.
Before you speak, pause; before you act, pause; before you judge, pause.
Some may tell you to ‘think before you speak’, but what should you think about? There are too many possibilities to contemplate!
So pause. You may not know exactly what thought to follow or what action to take, but that’s OK; no one expects you to have all the answers. We should not ask for certainty in this world.
If you’re taking part in sport, or driving, or labouring, you may not have time to pause before acting and reacting, but hopefully you’re in your ‘flow’ and so you’ll act accordingly – wu wei.
A pause will save you from misspeaking, and that can be invaluable. A pause can help you listen, and that is priceless.
Image credit: Derek Swanson
“If it wasn’t for disappointment,
I wouldn’t have any appointments”
Snowball in hell, They Might Be Giants
Without discounting the value of hope, I suggest that disappointment springs from expectation. Our expectations set a prediction, and while it is wise to consider future ramifications, it is foolish to build upon foundations not yet firm.
But the feelings that come with disappointment can feel very real and may drag us down, sapping the very energy we need to deal with the actual situation.
When pained by such feelings, it’s helpful to recognise the root cause of the disappointment, and the cause of the situation – and then take action. A plan, a decision, a step in the right direction.
Wallow for a few minutes in sadness if necessary, but then change the state of your body and the state of you mind. Make a list, make a decison, accept the ‘feedback (which is all anything ever is) and adapt.
Image credit: soozwhite
I like to plan. A few points in a list, a few ideas, a few risks, and I’m all set to create something, start something.
Sometimes it’s best to just get on with things – take ‘massive immediate action‘ and really go for it.
The right action at the right time is no effort at all. Things fall into place and it is as if it was ever so. Consider wu wei and tzu-jan, always.
“The wise lead the people by following behind.
When the task is accomplished and the work done”
“the people all say:
‘it happened to us naturally’.”
Tao Te ching1, verse 17
I experience mental blocks around some of my work. I’m good at planning, I’m good at starting things, and I’m less enthusiastic about finishing things. I hear that a good team should include a ‘finisher’, and I can see why.
My mental blocks hold me back from returning to a project or piece or work. I fear the amount of work I need to do again, and fear being unable improve my initial offering. I avoid starting on this second phase of work.
In reality, once I get into the second phase it’s never as scary or bad as I feared. My mental blocks waste countless days, yet had I simply begun I could’ve completed the work in no time.
“Approach the difficult while it is still easy.
Deal with the big while it is still small.
The difficult tasks of the world
must be handled by starting what is easy.
Great undertakings must always start with what is small.”
“Therefore, the sage never strives for the great,
thus they achieve greatness.”
Tao To Ching1, verse 63
1Version: Kari Hohne
Image credit: qtouch
When I want something, I ask myself ‘why’.
I seek the most honest, basic answer. Once I’ve reached the base of my desire I can batter make a decsion, and act. Sometimes, I want something for superficial reasons (shoes to impress clients, to fit in with office culture, et cetera) and that’s OK. I buy the impressive shoes, and laugh at myself and the world I put myself in.
Sometimes, the things I want, I already have, but have neglected.
Part of me would like to own land. Why? To free myself from other people’s physical power over me. Why? To have a place to call my own. Really why? To demonstrate my worth and to feel secure.
It would be healthier for me to develop my self-worth without regard to physical things and what people can see, and to work on my insecurities. I could have a big house on my own land and still be disturbed by other people’s powers (compulsory purchase; new railways; flooding; zombie attack) and still feel insecure owing to my past.
It’s not the land that I desire, it’s the prestige and security.
It would be better to be comfortable with people however they percieve me, and to be flexible in the face of uncertainty. The stability and security I crave, I already have, if I just shift my focus and see how well rooted I am in my network.