Knee Deep In Flowers We’ll Stray

LittleManWithinHave you ever felt dull? The kind of dull that washes away beauty? Most people have. Some people have.

The mood could be described as a blah sort of feeling. It’s the feeling that drives lottery ticket sales and drug and booze industries – as if money or oblivion could make a difference to indifference.

At such times, when we feel dull, we may wonder where is my mind without realizing that’s what’s wrong. We’ve been sucked into the vacuum of our light-bulb heads.

When someone is stuck doing something that numbs the senses, when someone is stuck like an egg in an in an egg-carton world, it’s easy to forget how amazing it is to be alive here and now. If we’re reminded of the mystery of life while in such a mood, we get annoyed. We think, Yeah. I know. I know. Smell the roses. Blah. Blah. Big deal. Go away. Leave me alone. Smelling the roses feels like a vapid platitude. To see another person happy is to feel resentment. To hear advice from an optimistic fathead is reason for murder.

At such times we’re reminded that we’re social creatures so people push themselves to be with others and then feel irritated. There isn’t anything anybody can do to alter our mood. This is a project for the self. Solitude may be necessary, but then, even if alone, we don’t enjoy ourselves. We are lost in ourselves. The outside world doesn’t exist or we find fault with it.

Humans are plagued by a dry-rot of unhappiness. It’s not because of poverty, unemployment, sickness or death. It isn’t for lack of health care or education. Unhappiness of the kind described has a definite cause. Few people realize that it can be removed with the power of one’s will. It’s so easy that it isn’t.

Because we don electronic blinders and plug our ears with noise, we feel separated, but what if – what if – the world outside our bodies didn’t start at the edge of our skin?

Try this experiment. Stop what you’re doing and go outside or look out a window and imagine that the outside world is not separate from you. Imagine that the air in your lungs is the same air outside your lungs and that you are permeable. Imagine that what you’re made of is the same thing that makes up rocks, trees, and flowers. Imagine a flower, a rock, a blade of grass is as much you as your fingernail or hair. You don’t have to believe it or tell anyone. It sounds crazy. Just enjoy the notion without over-thinking it.

tulipsMoments of unhappiness come when we don’t notice anything outside ourselves. We get into a vicious circle of immediate thoughts and practicalities.

When you forget to lose yourself in the contemplation of the outside world – the not-you, or all that stuff all around – that’s when unhappiness strikes. We go on a head-trip. There will always be a part of yourself that can’t get out of thinking about itself and yet, only by losing yourself in the absorption of the world outside can you grow happy.

Madness comes when inward visions lose their imaginative outwardness. The more you can concentrate on the outside world, the more your real identity grows. You are an earth-creature just like other earth-creatures.

The next time you feel dull, take a break from what you’re thinking and look outside. Concentrate on the mystery of your being alive at all. Imagine the world outside your body is your outward vision. What’s outside is going inside. Call yourself a lonely soul with a sense of relief. Only the lonely soul can go into the outside world day by day.

With a calm and prolonged satisfaction, drink in your surroundings as if it were a mirror of yourself. Imagine tip toeing through tulips. Hear that song. Imagine being knee deep in flowers and you are.

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What’s your philosophy?

duck close upIf you’ve reached adulthood, it’s probably clear to you by now that everyone has to face good times and bad. There are ups and downs and how you deal with them depends on your philosophy. Whether knowingly or not, everyone has a philosophy. The trick is to keep it simple. Find a philosophy that’s right for you.

With the Philosophy of Enjoyment, from The First Step to the Will to Enjoy, the goal of life is simple: to enjoy.

This isn’t to say that you enjoy yourself at the expense of others – that leads to trouble – or that you are more important than other creatures – you’re not. That’s where kindnesshumility and sensitivity come in. Helping others to enjoy can be enjoyable and if you hurt others, they might hurt you.

It’s a ping-pong thing.

one purposeAll creatures are alone, together. Whether duck or human, it’s appropriate to enjoy. If enjoyment is selfish, then every living creature is selfish. Even helping another could be construed as selfish. It’s all in how you look at it.

The keys to enjoyment are found in sensual awareness and contemplation. You don’t need a particular lifestyle with lots of possessions or acquaintances or admiration from the crowd. You don’t need luxury. Those things might be enjoyable, but they’re not necessary.

Professional philosophers debate the nature of enjoyment and happiness, but you know what it’s about. You know when you are enjoying yourself and when you are not. You know that when others are not enjoying themselves, its better when they are.

If you have a philosophy of enjoyment, morality is simple. What is good is kind and what is evil is cruel. It’s what children know. It’s natural. Trouble rises when people get unnatural.

ant hillImagine that you are a cloud hovering above a city. What do you see? You see a few people enjoying themselves in a park (a few sky watching), but the majority are busy acting like ants in an ant-hill or wasps in a wasp-nest. Why is that?

People act like ants and wasps because they’ve lost touch with enjoyment. They’re busy for the sake of business. In the battle of life, they think it’s a survival-of-the-fittest game. They don’t realize that survival for the sake of survival isn’t what it’s about. Billions survive to survive. They conclude that life is suffering so they go about doing just that. They get technological, industrial, mechanical and electronic. They lose touch with nature. They choose virtual over a real. They favour artificial intelligence over biological intelligence.

One reason for ant-hill behaviour relates to the type of person each unique individual is. There are basically two types of people. There are saints and there are earth-creatures. People get lost between two extremes. This isn’t about science or religion. We’re talking about your enjoyment! Let’s break it down.

A saint’s mind is fixed on pity. Sadness is the prevailing emotion. Others are the priority. Suffering love is the ideal. Personal enjoyment for the saint himself is irrelevant. Saints thrive on abstractions, not sensations. A saint is sad about the tragedy of life because there is poverty, starvation and disease. Saints feel sorry for people but not themselves. Saints feel superior. Saints aren’t funny. They don’t laugh at the absurdities of life. They take life and death very serious.

saint or earth-creatureEarth-creatures (including humans) are the opposite. Happiness is the prevailing emotion. Self is the priority. Earth-creatures are happiness seekers. They understand what drives other selves to do what they do because they have a self and they do it too. They live sensuously on food and drink. They try to ignore tragedy and focus on beauty. They like to laugh. Humour helps them to enjoy life. They know that ecstasy comes and goes.

rainbowEarth-creatures enjoy the lightness of being. They value humility. They live for sunshine and rain and rainbows. Despite death, disease and starvation, earth-creatures can experience moments of elation from simple things like a drop of rain, a kiss, a kind word, the sight of a happy dog wagging its tail, a country road, a piece of bread and jam, a hot beverage, a friend…

So, what’s it going to be? Which would you rather be: a saint or earth-creature?

What’s your philosophy?

The Art of Day-dreaming

daydreamingThe Philosophy of Enjoyment combines the sensibilities of a Walt Whitman or Leonard Cohen – poetical – with a Charlie Chaplin or Jerry Seinfeld – comical. The basic idea is to experience life sensuously (like a poet) and lightly (like a comic). Life and enjoyment are synonymous, but just because you’re alive doesn’t mean you’re enjoying it. For some people death isn’t hard: life is.

But if you practice the art of day-dreaming, even when life is hard, it’s still enjoyable. With a poet-comic sensibility, you can have ecstatic moments without having to do anything but relax, observe and chill. It’s a matter of practicing a few mental tricks.

The first trick is to focus on your senses. This goes back to earlier posts like “Getting Small: Concentrate” and “The Will To Enjoy: How to be more conscious“. Stop what you’re doing and ask yourself: What am I seeing? What’s that smell? (Is it me?) What am I hearing? tasting? touching?

Look from the periphery of your eyes. Go discreetly into a zone where you meet your surroundings. Beyond everything that you think you are, you’re still just a sensuous organic unit. People get a false sense of superiority. They let their senses get dull through lack of attention. Life becomes an abstract affair.

Look to the animals

Watch the way a dog or a cat sniffs the air (ignore how they sniff each other). Watch their ears. Watch the way a sparrow looks around and listens. Compare that to how people stare straight ahead or at electronic devices.

sensuous feelingGo outside or look out the window. Slip out of a miserable mock-reality into a real reality of secret thoughts that only you can have. Allow yourself to day-dream about nothing in particular. You’ve had lovely sensations wafted upon you in the past. Remember those. Create those again. Feel yourself somewhere between boredom and bliss. Enjoy a thousand vague and delicious impressions.

Relish every morsel of food and drop of drink that enters your mouth. Relish every idle, dreamy and carefree thought that you have. Work so you have time for leisure. Make introversion and loneliness your strength. Make weakness your strength. Experience every nuance of country-roads, gardens, old walls, leafy lanes, wood paths and twilight harbours. Devour life and defy it to get in your way of enjoyment.

In situations with difficult people, study them from your observation post (yourself). Experiment with yourself. Imagine seeing out of their eyes. You don’t have to love them or like them, just be kind to them. Sympathize with them. Everyone’s doing their best to feel enjoyment. It’s just that some people don’t get it. They can’t laugh at themselves. Enjoyment eludes them. Help them. If you feel annoyed, ask: What’s funny about this? Look at people with a comedian’s eye – not be be mean, vulgar or glib – but to help yourself enjoy them and yourself with them.

good humorPicture yourself as the Good Humor Ice cream man. Switch from serious to good humorous. Alter your default settings by first focusing on your senses and then tell yourself to lighten up. Do something silly. Be free. People really are quite funny especially when they’re not trying. The grand trick is to never have a single day without impressing into your memory stuff like a particular road, a specific tree, a particular treat, flights of birds, gusts of wind, interconnecting rain-rings in a puddle, hot afternoon fragrances… whatever! Don’t worry if annoying things happen. Of course they happen. Annoying things always happen. Train yourself to get beyond them and be amused by them.

Beyond your five senses, humour could be your sixth. There’s nothing unseen about it. It’s available to everyone. You can’t help seeing what you see, but you can shape how you see. Combine your Walt Whitman Song of Myself with your Charlie Chaplin A Dog’s Life.

humorIn an annoying situation, you have two options: You can get all serious and feel ill-treated (not enjoyable) or you can be light without care. Ill-treatment is nothing to you. What do you expect? Who are you anyway? Nobody. Just another body envelope. Why not be the light? The trick is to be absolutely determined to enjoy yourself. Don’t take yourself or life too serious. You know how it will end. Force yourself to enjoy. Will it to happen. Play music that gives you a charge of courage to forge ahead. Go Buster Keaton on everybody. Sing, “Don’t Bring Me Down!” to yourself without care for who hears. Let “Enjoyment!” be your battle cry. Plunge into the experience of living. The water’s fine, even when it isn’t, and when it isn’t: It’s even better.

Enjoy.

The Beginning of Wisdom: just a bowl of cherries

great_blue_heron_2The beginning of wisdom is to keep up your spirits in spite of everybody and everything. The trick is to find a comfortable observation post within easy reach – yourself – and to watch. Think of yourself as a Great Blue Heron on the look out. You’re on the look out for enjoyment.

There’s only two parts to the Philosophy of Enjoyment: a self and an object to be felt. Make it a habit to enjoy. It is your secret priority. No one else needs to know. Don’t boast about it. Don’t be a cheerful phoney or give advice. You’ll annoy everyone. You know that enjoyment is what life’s about. It’s why people do what they do. On this little blue dot filled with natural wonders – blue skies and sunshine – you are here to enjoy. Why suffer? Have a philosophic mind so that whatever you’re doing and wherever you are, no matter how nice or difficult, at least you can think in the right way.

Imagine you’re attending an event that is tedious. You’re at a table with strange people in a hot and ugly room. You think the people are petty and pompous, but there’s nothing you can do. It’s a work function and part of your job to be here. It’s the price you have to pay for food in your belly. In such a trying situation, what can your Philosophy of Enjoyment do to help?

First, your philosophy reminds you that you are dedicated to enjoyment. Why shouldn’t you enjoy yourself? Why feel miserable when you can feel happy despite these annoying people? Life is short. This ugly scene is an opportunity to wrestle with life. Are you going to let these people get to you? Of course not! Use your will to fight for your right to enjoy yourself.

wherever you are you can contemplateRemember your dedication and then become sensually aware. Look around. Where are you? What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? Imagine you’ve just arrived from another planet. Notice something small like your glass of water. Pick it up and take a drink. It tastes bad, but it’s so bad that it’s good! Look at the glass. Do you see the tiny fruit fly floating in it? Priceless. Now look at the people. Study them. Don’t be afraid to secretly stare. They’re too self-absorbed to notice you.

Imagine putting on a hat. It has a blue heron feather stuck in it. The imaginary hat reminds you to not take yourself so seriously. Who are you to judge these people? Are they not here to enjoy themselves too? Maybe you can help them out and in so doing, enhance your own enjoyment. There’s nothing quite like helping someone else to enjoy life. It is its own reward.

bowl of cherriesWith your stupid imaginary Philosophy of Enjoyment hat on, remind yourself that although there’s no need to love these annoying people, it is equally unnecessary for you to despise them. Force yourself to enjoy them. Repeat: Force yourself to enjoy them! See the humour in their annoyingness! Enjoy their pettiness! Enjoy their pomposity! Enjoy the humour in the situation. They’re perfectly pompous! Isn’t it great? Enjoy exquisite moments of perseverance. Enjoy the colours that you see. Enjoy the humorous absurdities of it all as if it were a show. The chief thing to do is to be forever losing yourself in the enjoyment of embracing it all. Life is just like a bowl of cherries, but don’t be surprised to see a few rotten ones.

That is as it should be. Enjoy yourself.