‘Thinking matters’, draws on stories from Annette Jahnel’s, nine nomadic years , during which she road tripped the planet solo.
Purposelessness is the greatest threat to our society. Purposeless people, purposely products, purposeless activity.
I have always been just a little envious of those people who seem to have popped out of the womb knowing what their purpose in life is. Tolstoy once said that our purpose is to serve humanity. After all my searching and tearing away the unnecessary fluff of my life, I have come to believe that our purpose is to improve humanity. We are constantly told that our technology is progressive and is improving humanity. I have my doubts.
I think what technology is doing is removing focus, there is so much new information constantly flooding our brains that in trying to keep up with everything we lose focus, purpose and commitment. It is only when we have focus, purpose and commitment that we can make something grand of our lives, and of humanity. One of the advantages of brain training is that it gives us focus, with focus comes purpose and this results in commitment. When all three come together then we are unstoppable.
But focus on what? We live in an age in which we believe the whole universe is just waiting for our instruction. With this kind of possibility at our fingertips, and the freedom it promises, why commit to anything at all?
Why commit to one course of action, one item off the menu of life, when every new day opens the possibility of more and more possibility? Why commit when the world of social networks allows us to flit from one interest to another with the click of a button?
We can only be focused, committed and purposeful when we know our minds. Until we take the hard step of knowing ourselves we are merely following the suggestions and instructions of others. There are many paths to self-knowledge and they all start by becoming consciously aware of our thoughts. This is achieved by focused mental practices that allow our thoughts to flow freely, as we learn to allow ourselves to observe our thoughts dispassionately. Like any new skill, learning to still the noise in our heads requires daily practice. By stepping out of the noise, we are able to observe our churning habitual thought patterns, and make focused decisions to change them.
We all want to change the world for the better, but often we stand on our soapboxes and say it is they who must change. The truth is we cannot change them or the world , the only thing we can change is ourselves, and that is hard.
To change/progress is difficult, and to bring about lasting, progressive change for the betterment of society requires a small change in thinking. We often lump change and progress together, but that is not necessarily the direction change will go. Change is just change, it has no bias towards positive progress. That bias must be put in place by our purposeful focus and commitment to a progressive goal of improving humanity to be in harmony with itself, all other species, and the environment that supports us.
Remember that your thoughts shape your life, and our collective thoughts shape the world in which we live. Make a positive contribution.
My Year of Beds, book