The Pursuit of Calm: #1 Introduction
One of the, if not the most, uniquely peculiar things about being a human is that we exist as both minds & bodies. We are part astonishing machines hung off collagen and calcium skeletons, irrigated by five litres of watery plasma richly packed with red & white blood cells driven along 60,000 miles of blood vessels, by a pump that beats 100,000 times a day using power released by the breakdown of pizza, beer, butter-toast, avocados, carrots and chocolate, all tightly sealed in a one-litre vat filled with a mixture of hydrochloric acid and potassium and sodium chloride.
And yet, at the same time, we have minds that have memories, imagination, emotions and ideals, unique centres of consciousness that can blend an infinity of fears and insights, excitements and regrets into unfolding story of identify; minds that can conjure up worlds both chaos and order, that can turn mute cries into poetry and agony into arias, that can devise ideas to die or live for that crave beauty and aspire to wisdom – all contained within a 1,400gram cholesterol filled walnut encased in a silent cavity that refuses to divulge the many universes it contains.
And this is where the beauty and agony lies, as the two sides of our nature are not only very different, but they’re also engaged on an ongoing, and often painful conflict.
We all hanker to be loved and respected for the subtleties of our nature, but the reality is we’re more likely to be judged on the shape of our body, or the house we live in.
We long for calm and reason, but are seemingly continually betrayed by our capacity to seek and undertake debauchery and self-destructive behaviours.
We live in hope to honour those we love, do justice to our talents and live a fulfilled life, yet find we’re unable to avoid and resist late nights, too much alcohol and our attentions diverted to more shameful corners of the internet.
And the clincher?
Without our conscious selves having any say in the matter, our bodies have the catastrophic gall to fall apart and die long before we have got the hang of living, before we have managed to do a fraction of what we’re capable of.
This cluster-f**** of incompatibilities is collectively referred to as ‘the mind-body problem’. In short, this phrase refers to all the dilemmas thrown up for us by our dual nature as physical bodies on the one hand and as thinking & dreaming souls on the other.
At the core of the mind-body problem is the question whether there might be a way of reducing the strife between these two parts of ourselves.
How do we flourish given the dichotomy of our dual natures?
How can the mind & body be constructive companion, rather than ill-tempered, self-sabotaging enemies?
[Reference: School of Life]
This approach is at the heart of MyFutureSelf’s ‘NOWBEING’ program (current work in progress) – a process to discover ways to reconcile our mind and body so we’re better abled to live a more harmonious, calmer, healthier and less fractured and distracted life.
There are two quotes that really underpin the entire NOWBEING project, quotes that I’ve frequently referred to in previous posts. The first comes from Stoic slave Epictetus, he said “we are disturbed not by things, but by the view we take on them.”
And the other comes from Viktor Frankl, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Our ability to best view the life obstacles that we all inherently face, and the ‘tool’ we need to have on hand to best choose our response, is, I believe ‘calm’.
Now more than ever do we need to proactively propagate and practice ways to instil calm into our lives.
Over the coming weeks and months and years, my plan is to present questions & ideas, plus practical & pragmatic strategies to develop calm, so we’re better abled to not only exist, but flourish in this hyper-stimulating world that we find ourselves in.
I’d love your feedback, so please do not hesitate to let me know your thoughts.
Just to be very clear…I don’t have the answers.
You have the answers already…tucked away somewhere.
What I do offer is support & advice on how you can structure bespoke habit strategies & routines that will help ‘you’ seek, uncover and learn what ‘you’ need to live optimally.
As always, please feel free to comment & share.
Anyone that wants to catch up via Skype, zoom, or smoke signals do not hesitate to connect with me via email on email@example.com
Feel like being distracted?
Resist it…pick up a good book, play with the dog, go for a walk in the rain, or do some squats.
Alternatively, don’t listen to me, and check me out on Instagram here or Facebook here, Linkedin here or YouTube here
Please feel free to share this article with your friends and family.
To sign up, or read previous articles visit My Future Self website