Wonder: the key that unlocks state of mind

State of mind is the key to accessing contentment, resilience, creativity–all the things we seek by manipulating our circumstances. It looks like we will feel less frantic when we manage our time better, but the reality is that we manage our time better when we are less frantic. It looks like we will feel more peaceful and contented when we master our clutter, but the reality is that when we are peaceful and contented, we deal with clutter organically in whatever way suits the moment.

What, then, is the key to being in the state of mind from which peace and contentment naturally arise? As you may have discovered, trying to change your state of mind by effort or analysis doesn’t work. It may seem to work occasionally, but that’s an accidental coincidence of a natural shift in state of mind with the strategy du jour. There is a correlation, but no causation.

What causes state of mind to shift is insight. Some might call it grace. And while insight and grace can’t be achieved through effort, there is a way to court them: cultivate wonder.

Wonder has many flavors ranging from wide-eyed curiosity to honest doubt. What they all have in common is an open mind and the willingness to see something new. The degree to which your mind is open and the amount of willingness you have may be vast or tiny; it makes no difference. As long as you wonder honestly and with some degree of open-mindedness and willingness to see something new, you are hanging out where insight happens.

Neither this nor anything else I say is something to take on faith. It’s something to wonder about, to resonate against your own experience. I would love to know both what makes sense to you and what simply doesn’t match your experience. Please use the comments to share your perspective or feel free to email me.

What if worry were optional?

What if worry were optional?

What if the remedy for worrying isn’t to reduce the number of things we have to worry about but to see that everything we worry about is ephemeral*? As we come to really see this, we see that even worry is nothing to worry about. ♥

None of this is intended to disparage or trivialize your worries. They feel real until they don’t. And I invite you, when you can, to keep playing with the possibility that when we worry, we are responding to our own thoughts and not to the circumstances we think are a problem. It’s not something to take on faith or get intellectually; it’s an insight that arises from observation and wonder.

PS: I’m playing with new camera settings. Love or hate the zoom? Please let me know!

*A friend suggested it might be helpful to share the definition of ephemeral, so here goes. This is from Uncle Google.

e·phem·er·al
adjective
adjective: ephemeral
  1. 1.
    lasting for a very short time.
    “fashions are ephemeral”
    antonyms: permanent
    • (chiefly of plants) having a very short life cycle.
noun
noun: ephemeral; plural noun: ephemerals
  1. 1.
    an ephemeral plant.

 

Sailing through life is easier when you stop managing your experience

Too often we try to improve our human experience by managing it. We celebrate our highs and try to maximize them. We critique our lows and try to root them out. Though we do it in all innocence, all that managing and editorializing actually interferes with our inborn ability to learn, grown, and adapt. In this video I share a story about the time I tried to sail a boat with my buns by way of illustrating the futility of managing our experience with our thinking.

Why is insight so elusive even when we know what we need?

Why is it that the very insights we are so clear about needing are the ones that prove so elusive? Could it be that when we pre-specify an insight we’ve actually stopped looking for new thought?

A true insight is a fresh way of seeing. When we assume in advance that we know what we need, how it will feel when we get it, and how it will change our lives, we’re not really looking for insight at all. Insight comes when we open our minds and hearts and wills to what the Universe is actually serving up in the moment.

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