thinking

Reflections

Some thoughts on quality


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“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.”

Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

First, some thoughts on quality.

Today, Sunday, I feel compelled to talk about so many things with you, but first as I just said, I need to talk about quality, because it is that single attribute what defines this whole process, called life.

A concept seems easy to understand in our heads don’t you think?

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We, after all, comprehend phenomena in the realm of our unique consciousness but when it comes to set a concept into words and we try to illustrate the pictures from our heads, into others, that right there, becomes the tricky part.

What is the solution for that difficultness?

Quality.

Quality is the aim to do something  the right way.

Quality is admirable because it is self-explanatory, everyone can feel it or understand it even metaphysically.  Sometimes we don’t know how to explain the why a work is a work of quality but we just know deep inside.

To do anything with quality is to do it right and we all know what that right is, we feel it.

When we make the decision to act with quality there is no confusion, there is no hesitancy, the choice to do it right has already been made and so no explanation for action is needed, there is just right action.

When we act with quality, the feeling of how we are using our time can get counter-intuitive. We tend to make the supposition that time is scarce, so we better hurry, thus sacrificing quality.

Quality needs time and patience, as long as attention. What’s counterintuitive is that acting in a hurry and without care, is actually slowing us down.

By not taking the decision to act with quality and being half-there half in other place, slows us down because by doing something good we only have to do it once, but do something bad and you’ll stumble into the same problem again and again.

Let your work, work on you.51a7fb95d69a284ee9eeb72a27644eb7--photography-art-night-photography

This is a rather profound recommendation.

Let your work, work on you. Everything you do or make, is an opportunity to be better, inside and outside.

It’s just as true that everything that is done badly or half-heartedly will work as well in the inside and the outside and not precisely in a good way.

Everything we do matters. Matters because it betters or worses not just ourselves, but the whole existence. Everything is connected. When we act with quality, we give quality to existence.

When we are washing dishes to give an example, there are two ways of doing it, correctly, or incorrectly. If you don’t put your full attention and care to the task at hand, you will not treat it fairly and will not let it work on you. If you don’t do it correctly the inner work (lesson) that the action can teach you will be wasted.

Everytime we are doing something we have an opportunity to practice patience and presence, to practice diligence, to practice everything.

Practice is all there is, there is never going to be a moment in which the work is done. We can only strive to become better and better at what we do and as quality is prefered in our lives than mediocrity practice is the only way through which great and better quality can be achieved and everytime we discard an activity and don’t put our effort in it, we are wasting our lives in mediocrity.

Living is an activity and better said an art, it is something that Seneca said, takes our whole lives to learn.

We can practice right now, this is why quality is so important, in everything we make, everything we do, everything we are needs to be constantly perfected and in doing so we are living as best and qualitatively as we can.

Hurry up and live.

Seneca

chess-1Quality is admirable and speaks for itself, I don’t have to tell you how to live your life best, that is something only you know, but bear in mind the concept of quality, because you know what a life of quality is. Apply it, apply it to everything and quality will start surrounding your life.

Life is fractal every small deed is part of the bigger deed. The details make the whole. Take care of the details, they are not time wasters, they are time savers, know this and quality will be effortless and more importantly, you’ll make your life and others, lives of quality.

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Reflections, Short mornings

How much control do you think you have?


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There is something soothing about writing every morning for 10 minutes. Just 10 quick minutes. There is not a lot that can be said in such a short amount of time but it helps to keep thoughts in order.

Wouldn’t you agree that the natural state of our head is chaos? Where do all these thoughts come from?

Can you control the next thought that is coming to your head?chaos.jpg

I don’t believe you if you said yes, they just emerge, without our permission.

Who are we really? The thing that observes the thought or the thought itself? I believe the answer is the thing that observes, that notices it, we are our consciousness. We have to be, because if not, how else could we be aware of it?

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I find the fact that we can’t control the next thought confusing when I try to think stoically. The great ones (meaning Seneca or Marcus Aurelius) tell us that we have control of our emotions and our thinking.

But, when was the last time you decided to have a thought, the last time you decided to think what you are going to think?

It’s impossible, by thinking at least. We cannot think our way out of emotion either, emotions come and go and we don’t decide what to feel and what not to feel. At least at the moment they emerge.

So then, where is it exactly that we have control? Lately I’ve been thinking that control of ourselves and deep stoicism is not in the mind. It’s deeper than that realm. You cannot control an emotion at the level of the mind. When we are thinking, we can resolve whatever problem we are having in the mind. It’s just a matter of the number of questions asked, trust me, the answers will come.  But, when we are having emotional stuff going on inside, like fear, anger or whatever it is, and try to resolve it with our minds, we are doomed. It is not the same level of interaction (thinking). That level of thinking happens either intellectually or emotionally and we need to difer what is needed. 

I do think stoicism is the best way to own ourselves (whatever the hell we are). But we have to think deeply, not just at the level of the mind but of intuition and emotion as well. Right in this moment, in the present.2700

Now, we are getting somewhere.

We only have this moment to act. If we want to resolve the emotion we are experiencing right now, with our heads, we would just spin our brains ad infinitum, which is what happens must of the time. It’s the incessant chatter that we know is not going anywhere in specific.

Emotional intelligence: “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

The first time I encountered stoicism in my life I tried to control the emotion or my thinking to the point that I became exhausted for trying to control the uncontrollable. Emotion and thoughts will come and go and they are there for a reason. We are not supposed to feel happy the entire time. However we are constantly sold that being happy and ecstatic the whole time is the way to be. 

We have to have an aim, the tension inside us produces that, produces movement and striving towards something .

Deep stoicism is about control, we can only have control right here in the moment with engagement. This is why I think the secret for control is awareness and attention, to be here as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, above time. The only time we have to do something is right here. When we experience an emotion, we deal with it in the moment. It comes to be a problem of understanding. If we don’t want to understand ourselves or the world, we cannot resolve whatever it is that we want to resolve.  

How is it that we understand something? Understanding is deciphering how or why something does what is does. It is a matter of truth, a matter of how reality is actually happening or at least as close as we can get to it. Truth becomes our aim. 

The work of control reduces to being a work of the moment, continual understanding 2630429-ZUXILJLB-7and acting based on the present moment.

This is why the stoics argue that living in the present moment is fundamental. There is no other moment to work on something like now. The secret of control is engagement. We can control being aware of what is happening so we are not running to keep up with what happens inside us, but be as close as we can get to the dialogue of feelings and thoughts we are having with ourselves and with the world, so we can guide them towards truth and purpose (something which is beyond ourselves).