Guiding principles are only good if effective in state of stress, crisis, anxiety, or any such disturbance to basic order.
As a rule, don’t speak superfluously. Don’t express more than necessary. Be compact and precise.
Let’s obviously except journal writings, intimate correspondences or any related conscious streaming mediums. Yet for the remainder of daily interchange, better err on the compact, the minimal, or even the silent.
For my part, when engaged in free-form chatter concerning general state of being, and especially by a familiar, I run a dangerous risk of transgressing the bounds of constructive speech and treading on the rocky precipice of complaints that contribute to no end; be they explicit, or vociferated with a guise of the purely informative.
I effectively wish to communicate in the same way as I wish to be communicated to.
Technology is meant to serve man’s needs, not the other way around. We are in no way obliged to ever expand our underlying nature. Man need not consume every ground-breaking innovation in ways that water eagerly consumes whatever basin it comes to occupy.
I find that simple-function devices well embody this relationship:
- A few-function digital watch
- A candle (or a flashlight)
- A paper notepad
- A radio receiver
- A record player
- A photo camera
- A phone that’s nothing but
These devices serve their function, but otherwise remain transparent. I would have to get creative to overload their use beyond intent; to become so consumed by them that they impress radical behavioral patterns upon the user.
At a natural park relatively abandoned in light of recent events, a little room at a small hut caught my attention. It was probably a maintenance employee’s room, but we used it as refuge to pass the pouring rain.
Few items occupied the somewhat deteriorated and compact rustic interior: a wooden table, a wooden bench that could double as a bed, an old drip coffee maker without the original pot, a few cleaning apparel including a witch-like straw broom, some scraps of paper, an aluminum plate and a fork.
Man doesn’t require much to exercise basic necessities and comforts.
I’ve witnessed some exceptional marvels in recent explorations:
- Moss gardens and flower beds on highly elevated mountain peaks
- Lavishing, almost fantasy-like shrubbery of foliage the size of tin cans and flower heads of anthropomorphic character
- Passing streams that come to rest in bubbly cavities
- Waterfalls over damp caverns enshrouded by fog and mist
- Cobblestone passages exhibiting a touch of the medieval mixed with the Gothic, among the otherwise tropical
Meditation … I consider it one of those independently trained components that bears fruit in endless domain. Practice it anytime and anywhere, irrespective of form, circumstance, ambient noise, duration, or bodily contortion.
You cannot necessarily eliminate a toxic element from daily life. Sometimes you must first reshape your entire existence. Consider thoroughly the importance of what you have in respect with what you desire.
Jazz standards … they bore me. And end of story. Over the Rainbow, Round Midnight, Autumn Leaves, Song For My Father, Cheese Cake, Corcovado, and even the many arrangements of Cantaloupe Island; I wish performances incorporated less predictable, less arranged, spicier motives characteristic of jazzmen such as Archie Shepp, Albert Aylor, Peter Brötzmann, Ornette Coleman, or Coltrain’s later works.
I become increasingly drawn to the rural. Something in a recent conversation with a gaucho (native of Rio Grande do Sul) particularly inspired the thought.
Somehow I’ve remained oblivious to the notion of cooking on vapor. It’s astonishing the convenience in achieving a similar effect to boiling, but yet without all the drainage that comes after.
More than ever do positive health habits serve in presence of energy drainers, economic calamities and swarms of paranoia.
Maintain daily exercise that challenges your heart rhythm. Maintain impeccable nutrition.
Attend to your offices with the standard fervor and zeal: read, write, meditate, produce, play the harmonica, pet your cat, drink herbal tea, …
You cannot derive useful metrics from within short time intervals; not the internal biophysical or cognitive; nor the external socioeconomic. Observe time in coarse fragments.
The comparison of yesterday with today bears little utility; it more often gives manifest to random factors rather than useful hypotheses. For matters of personal development, better err on a month; for historical, at least a year.
And when you believe to have adequately zoomed out, zoom out yet another notch or two.
For hikes: keep walking, even when the invariably upwards slope never ceases; even shrouded in mystery of where you’ll end up and when; even with legs fatigued, walk faster yet - for you thus transmit positive reinforcing signals to your mind.
When you do reach the top, something fantastic tends to await. It may not project externally, but having exerted respectable effort into the journey, you will conceive it as such.
If you then desire, lay down on some rock, close your eyes, and bask in the much deserved repose. You will not care for the rigid surface or the mounds of ants, for the level of grandeur you’ve attained pays no mind to such trifles.
Evoke stimulating visuals to further elevate your fatigued spirit:
- Imagine yourself on a battlefield
- or as a nomad wondering the plains of Mongolia
- or a medieval knight covering vast territory to return to native lands after the Inquisition conquests
- or an elf inhabiting Middle Earth
- or Epicurus, King Philip II, Dersu Uzala, the protagonist of your preferred adventure or vampire novel,
your house cat,etc.
Would these heroic elements yield at routine signs of discomfort?
Don’t assimilate modernities without stark necessity. Cultivate a state of time invariance. Anticipate unexpected ‘time travel’.
Be willing to make due with any available means to attend to your basic needs and extract your simple pleasures. For you can always augment your minimal nature with more. Yet the converse doesn’t necessarily apply.
Do you really wish to fill your leisure time with mindless occupations that disconnect your mind from the body? Is this how you wish to recall your existence?
There is certain harmony to the incessant dog barking that inhabits the rural. I find it somewhat appeasing and characteristic in a natural setting.
‘tis true it represents the canine’s sense of dominion; of apprehension. I’ve been thus received by menacing beasts in most random walks I’ve here undertaken.
And yet were we to separate the context from the noise, are the sound patterns necessarily more or less pleasing than a rooster’s cock-a-doodle-doo? Or coarse and out-of-tune vocals?
It doesn’t take much to perturb your biochemistry and render you melancholic:
- Shortage of Vitamin D
- The neglect of a conductive morning routine
- Overload of synthetic nutrition
- Skipping walks, exercise and stretches
Better avoid the above malice.
I found myself travelling with all three volumes of Montaigne’s essays in one abominably thick paperback binding. It is probably broader and heavier than all my electronic equipment combined; and absolutely worth the inconvenience.
A handful of short stories that’ve entertained me in recent months:
- Washington Irving: Rip Van Winkle
- Machado de Assis: Alienista
- Edgar Allan Poe: Silence - A Fable, The Man of the Crowd, Some words with a mummy
Questions, comments? Connect.