Living beautifully or living efficiently.
When lockdown is behind us do we go back to the way things were?
Is this the best we can do?
Do we strive harder and faster and eventually burn ourselves from the surface of the earth?
Or do we change and create an art piece from this weird and wonderful experience of life?
Our quantitative addiction has lead to a worshipping of efficiency, order and regularity. We seem to be focused upon living like a goal oriented machine whilst treating our earthly chaos as inconvenience.
Efficiency, order and regularity is predictable in an unpredictable world. Therefore we pitch ourselves against the waves rather than flow with them. Maybe recreating the world is a lot easier than we think, and perhaps it comes to be by living beautifully from day to day.
What does it look like to live life beautifully?
The first thing that came into the discussion was rest. Why is it that some of us feel guilty taking a break or resting when we feel tired? Why do we only rest when we are sick?
Can we make rest beautiful, can we celebrate the time we take to nurture and care for our bodies?
What is the best way to rest?
One human brought forth the art of doing nothing. Sitting still with no screen drawing our attention is quite a rare sight these days, unless you are at a Vipassana centre or camping in the bush with no reception. But still we mostly find something to draw our attention away from doing nothing.
Whilst working as a barista in Melbourne, I would ask my customers;
How do you rest?
Do you feel rested?
I am not sure how efficient resting in front of a screen is. Let alone resting beautifully.
One human in the group suggested that rest might come from a single point of focus whether the individual is doing or non-doing.
The the changing of focus inhibiting the individual’s ability to fall into a state of flow. Once in flow there seems to be a perpetual energy that can stimulate a person for days to come.
What does living in flow look like?
Imagine you are in the ocean bobbing up and down with the waves. Watching how each wave gradually breaks or closes out in one huge crunch. As you observe you see an opportunity to ride the momentum of the wave and you make an attempt but it closes out or you lose you balance and fall off, tumbling into the water. Up for a breath we try again until we catch that wave and surf its momentum onto the shore.
At present we are in the water but we don’t seem to be aware of the collective movement and rhythms that are happening around us. The opportunities are present yet our awareness is elsewhere, projected into the future hungry for a never-ending goal or dwelling on the past when the first wave recognised was missed or came crashing down around us. This dwelling on the future or the past creates depression and anxiety as discussed in previous sessions.
Maybe we only get tired when our awareness of the present moment is missing?
Perhaps the only effort needed is to become present, find that single point of focus, disappear into flow and then the energy is self generating and we never get tired again?
Maybe the flow states are rare? Or infinite if we are eager enough to find them?
What has us exhaust ourselves by changing focus, dwelling on the future or the past?
Why aren’t the opportunities of the present obvious?
This comes down to story, or ideas (the past) blocking the present realisation. We think we know everything and how everything will play out so what’s the point of even trying?
We are exhausting ourselves, lost in our apathetic, short attention spans whilst navigating a literal matrix of ideas and stories and not seeing the world as an ever changing mysterious ocean of infinite waves of momentum full to the brim of possibility, opportunity and magic.
So what is living beautifully?
Being aware, seeing the opportunities and possibilities of flow, imagining the world into being rather than oppressing possibility and opportunity with the past. Seeing challenges as opportunities to discover new beauty in ourselves and the world around us. It seems to be a lens in which to perceive the world. Creating a positive feedback loop that creates a beautiful life.
I see us living, without complexity, the daily actions around eating, looking after our gardens, environment, animals and each other whilst taking time to play and create with every moment. Perhaps this way of living has lead us to where we are now?
Perhaps I am dwelling on the past with rose coloured glasses?
Without intention we have brought ourselves to this destination of complexity that has fortunately given us the objective view to look back and see the utopias we were born from. Not having the ability to go back, how do we take this realisation forward into a more beautiful world?
Living beautifully is perhaps living without burdens, no regrets, an acceptance as to the way things are, no identity, but constant unwavering mystery, dream, that we find ourselves a part.
Living beautifully is embracing the unknown with curiosity, trust and surrender.