My cat is better at yoga and breathing than me. After some garden exploration, she sits down on the couch, stretches her back and slips into zen mode.
Stretching chanting, breathing, exercise, gongs are all about achieving an animal state. That animal state is the same state your cat or dog produces in two seconds while sitting on the couch.
Don’t confuse the animal state with spiritual development. Work on the latter separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom.
Stay social and stay connected to people. Nurture old and new friendships, especially the old ones. If you are a man, then carve out man time. If you are women, then make time for other women.
Time with friends is as important as exercise and eating well. Time well spent with people you are close will counterbalance stress, anxiety and other vices.
Make it happen and build the habit. The sign that you have the muscle memory is that you’ll miss the interaction when it’s gone. Start now and organize something this week.
I used to think that when it came to time spent with friends and family that quality trumped quantity, but since having kids and losing more discretionary time I’m changed my mind.
Quality moments are hidden in time spent together. Little, daily routines like taking the kids to school or a trip to the supermarket sometimes create fresh memories. Maybe it’s a fire engine rushing past on the way to school drop off, or sharing a joke in the check out queue with my mom. The same principle applies to friends. Don’t wait for the right moment to hang out like a special dinner or a birthday celebration. Pick up the phone and pop in for a catch-up. ‘Popping in’ is underrated in the US, partly because people have walled themselves off in suburbia. Break out of the trance and start spending time with each other again.
Over time many small moments will be like the mortar between the bricks of a well-built house.
Christianity is an excellent example of how a message or record of events can go viral. A charismatic founder who beats death, an inspirational message filled with hope about life after death, forgiveness, betrayal, early adopter evangelists who spread the word and convert new users. The key to growth was the distribution channel called the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire had an efficient postal system and Roman roads which connected communities with information. It was the postal and transportation system that spread the word.
It still works like that today with what we are call Fake News:
A compelling story that people want to believe. Rabid believers spread the word with clicks, likes, retweets and forwards. Instead of Roman roads, we have Facebook and Twitter that is then turbocharged with paid advertising. Social media doesn’t create the lies, but the platforms have made falsehoods more prolific.
15 years ago it was the FWD FWD FWD FWD email you received from a second cousin’s uncle. A quick delete, filter, and block was easy and he message was contained in an email distribution list. In 2018 dishonest content is way better networked via friend connections, and recommendation algorithms than a plain text email from AOL or Hotmail address.
It’s encouraging to see YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook cracking down on bots and false stories. I think the truth will win, but it’s going to need our help.
So what can you do?
- Click with compassion
- Verify the source before you share a story
- Pay for your insights and news, don’t read the free stuff. I recommend the Washington Post
- Don’t click on salacious headlines
- Block and report the trolls
- Don’t feed the daily outrage machine by piling on
Certainty is your enemy and doubt is your friend.
Certainty is healthy, but don’t let it deafen you.
Doubt is your counsel but don’t let it paralyze you.
Don’t be the person who is confident and always wrong. That game won’t last.
People interpret politeness as a weakness.
People interpret bellicosity as strength.
True deep power is inversely proportional to the amount of huffing and puffing you see in a confrontation. Boasting is a manifestation of insecurity.
Move slowly, be gentle, be kind and breath deeply. Still rivers run deep. Don’t let them see you coming.
Follow someone new each week. Preferably someone outside your network. Scratch and peck through replies on a high-quality tweet thread and you’ll find some contrarian views.
Follow people you don’t agree with or who activate you. Their ideas will pop the bubble around you and might learn something new. I’m not talking about the trolls. I mean people who are using evidence-based facts and bringing the receipts.
Follow the authors you enjoy. Most of them tweet these days. The authentic ones control their feed and write their own stuff. Unfollow anyone who has a whiff of a PR shop managing their feed.
Follow directors, producers, and screenwriters of the films you like. That’s where the good stuff is. On the other hand, most actors read lines someone else wrote for them.
Cable news entertainers are not journalists. Stop feeding the beast.