“Well-being is attained by little and little, and nevertheless is no little thing itself.” — Zeno
Our current world moves fast.
Few are the moments of deep reflection. Do you remember when was the last time you had a deep insight coming out of nowhere?
As when you’re walking through the woods, or even through the city on a lazy Saturday, unencumbered by the week’s hectic movement and the infinite to-do list, a powerful reflection about your life, and everyone’s lives, for that matter, emerges out of nowhere?
It’s magical, and it feels right.
Whenever you have something like that happen to you, you feel you are standing in the right place, in the world, spiritually and physically.
But we’re terribly busy, of course, and it is hard to come about those moments. And when those moments finally come, it is kind of scary, being alone with your soul, without distractions. We’re scared of what our souls have to say.
And so we want to forget ourselves. Our busy life is really a symptom of our fears put together. Just yesterday, I was having a chat with a lady, and she was telling me how terribly bored she became during spring break, she wanted to get back to work, to have something to do. And fear not, I thought, for there is always something to do.
Netflix, Instagram, work, scrolling, watching, working, buying, doing. But nothing we do deeply. Not much of what we do puts us in a place where we have to wonder about what truly matters, at least for us.
Ask anyone that question (what truly matters?) and most will not have a coherent answer, just thoughts they rather not think about for fear of stirring their soul’s ponds.
We are distracted, and we crave distraction.
We’re left in a kind of dumbfoundedness. Like a deer with the car lights, waiting to be run over, too stupid to even register what is happening. Information overload.
Going back to the depths
The solution is to go back to the depths.
If you don’t want to be the deer waiting to be run over. You need to wake up.
But what are you talking about? I’m up and going! Look at everything I am doing every day! I feel you. I also think that way. Living in Mexico City, working every day, I feel rather awake as well! But I’m not talking about that type of wakefulness. I’m talking about spiritual wakefulness.
Right now, I managed to wake up early after a couple of rough days I just wasn’t able to get up and sit down to do my creative work. I told myself I needed more sleep and so I slept for another hour, which left me about half an hour to sit down and work on my creative endeavors.
I am now sitting comfortably, without watching the clock (so many times at least), with a full hour and 15 minutes to think and finish this article. I can go deep for a while.
It will sound cheesy, but I actually need to do this. I need to write and think and develop the ideas I read from the magnificent books I read. Such as What Matters Most by James Hollis or The Shallows by Nicholas Carr. Amazing book I’m reading right now.
I feel I can contribute by sharing the ideas I read elsewhere, that touch my soul, and I think it is important to put them out there. This matters to me.
What matters to you?
Now, it is true that wherever it is that you want to go deeper, most likely, you are going to suck hard for a while.
It doesn’t matter, for you are doing this to feed your soul, not an idea of outward success. This is a common mistake. We buy a guitar, to give an example, and the first thing that crosses our minds is ourselves playing in front of the family or a huge crowd, instead of the juice that knowing how to express yourself musically will give you.
Whenever I grab my guitar after a hard day at work, ahhh, it’s a soothing and great moment for me. It fills you up. It is the same with everything you do deeply. Do it for what it will give you inside, not outside, and you’ll get the rewards the moment you do it.
“In the end I [realized] that I had no choice [but to write]. I couldn’t do anything else. When I tried, I got so depressed I couldn’t stand it. So when I wrote yet another novel or screenplay that I couldn’t sell, I had no choice but to write another after that. The truth was, I was enjoying myself. Maybe nobody else liked the stuff I was doing, but I did. I was learning. I was getting better. The work became, in its own demented way, a practice. It sustained me, and it sustains me still.”
Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro
I wonder what would happen if we all cared so deeply about what we do? If we weren’t constantly running away from what we know is our best self?
A brave world no doubt, a brave species, ready for our thrones in the suns.
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