Sunday Musings

Why we do the things we do? Hmm… probably a wrong question to start with. We do a lot of things subconsciously, a lot of things because they are part of what we reflect outwards, few things deliberately. The things I am referring to here are our thoughts, actions and emotions. Right now I am trying to meditate with my eyes closed, breathing and searching through these past two weeks. Why? Because I said a lot bad things to someone I know- retaliating. A few years back or maybe more, it’d be fine and it wouldn’t upset how I act or what I say. Even now sometimes I do think that dropping to other person’s level and lashing out can be a good way to deal with certain individuals- especially narcissists and individuals that exhibit psychopathic traits or are perhaps psychopaths.

Obviously it is better to keep away from such people, however, we cannot always choose who we encounter in our lives and if I were to personally take a long look back, I think I have learnt a lot from some of the people I wish I hadn’t encountered. These individuals can be a good test of character and resilience. People are tested through other people. It’s part of human society. Life is not a bed of roses… certainly not for me in the present haha… but this doesn’t mean that there is nothing in life to be grateful for. Rather gratitude should always be first… we are always blessed with a lot of good. We just have to open our eyes and mind, feel the gratitude in our hearts. Life is not easy… life is a challenge and if you are not challenging yourself, you aren’t living up to your potential.

Every time I start writing, my mind just tries to delve deeper into the philosophy that has shaped my thinking so I have to take a step back and refer back to what I am trying to write instead of what I want to write. Would it be a good thing to just write out all my thoughts and how they are layered? It’s what I do in all my blogs… perhaps because of few recent encounters I am unable to. What gets to me is the fact, that I let my ego and old behaviours control me. It’s easy to drop to other person’s level, especially when other person is mean and malicious. I retaliated because I was perturbed. I was mean and harsh, said a lot things that I didn’t want to or think of. The blog sometimes is a cool way of letting out what’s going through my mind… let it all out and re-centre myself so that I can focus on the process and not outcomes. Our thoughts, emotions and behaviours our intertwined… how we act out is what gets filtered into other aspects of our lives. For example my writing and thoughts right now, in the present moment are distressed by recent encounters. This will filter into other pursuits if I don’t examine it and let it settle in my subconscious. So hence why, before it happens… I address it. I have given myself enough time to feel whatever happened. In the last 3 weeks or so… I cannot say that I have been focussed on following the process, routine and staying disciplined. So perhaps these are the reasons why my behaviour during the encounter though somewhat calm initially, couldn’t remain so.

When things go awry… it is time to take a step back, look at the discipline, routine and practice. This is what I am always to trying to achieve more in… measure myself against. A quote I love says, be grateful for the blessings you are blessed with and be grateful for the blessings you are denied. Therein lies divine wisdom.

Here one might think- am I denied a blessing because I don’t deserve it? This is surely a wrong way to think about it. A better approach would be to think, what would I be like had I been blessed with those things? Recognising the extent of evil and chaos that I could perhaps fall in, …. if I invert this, the way I am currently thinking about it or what I mean by it is, “You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.” (J Clear) In trying to take a step too many, there is a greater chance of temptations and evil within us side tracking us or make us shoot for the wrong goals. Hence why, before we set out to create order, we create order within ourselves.

I cannot take back the words I said, however, in future I can show better display of character. That would be a good step forwards… in the present moment, I can show and feel gratitude, cherish the good people. Most of all… staying focussed on the process and routine.

Welcome New Habits, Bye Bye Old Habits

Good habits and process compound. If you were to seek results, it’s the quickest path to lose sight of the goal, lose motivation. Especially when things are not as smooth flowing as per your expectations.

Most of us either overestimate or underestimate our abilities. It is better to underestimate as that keeps you in constant check to improve every day and focus on the process. We overestimate our abilities/capabilities due to one of the following: lack of knowledge, not enough experience, and overconfidence.

It takes time, consistency, and persistent effort with discipline to patch up routines, process; creating learning loops that put you on the path of incremental progress.

From my past experiences, habits you want to eliminate require a minimum 3 months to get rid of. This being the tough period which requires many other aspects such as replacing those habits with new habits, creating new interests or hobbies. Furthermore, getting rid of bad habits successfully also means knowing yourself and the cues that can trigger those habits to resurface. E.g. the place, the people, time of the day but more than these factors if you can recognise the cue that your hippocampus signals to your emotions and thoughts for the cravings is the first step in not falling back into the old habits. Our reward seeking hippocampus and amygdala which triggers emotional responses play a big role in emotional arousals, cravings etc. Ultimately, as a responsible individual, you should learn to not point fingers and find reasons as to why you fall back into the old habits, and instead, take responsibility for your actions. You control your actions, you are given the choices whether to perform those actions or not, whatever they may be. Here, of course I am talking about the things that are under our control and things we can influence.

The 2nd step would be changing your thoughts about those emotions, and those changed thoughts should propel you to take action that stops the bad habits from coming back. For example, if I crave unhealthy food, I will usually feel hungry too. How then, do I stop myself from eating unhealthy food? I may tell myself, that what I really need instead is water or a healthy sweet. Most of the time when we are hungry, what we really need is water. Once I change that feeling with a thought, then it is followed by the action. In doing so successfully each time, I could essentially train myself to recognise these triggers and create a process thereby which, I can stop the cravings for unhealthy food. Doing it over and over and through repetition of a minimum three months from my experience, it is possible to train ourselves to completely overcome a bad habit. An alternative to this step can be, action preceding thoughts and what we think about our emotions. Actions therefore lead and mind follows. You can tailor it for yourself and see what works best for you. I being, more a cognitive type, use the former approach more but obviously it’s a mix of the two, because a lot of the times actions provide the opportunity to reflect and then, they can be tweaked, improved and/or replaced with something different. Important point being we don’t know until we try change.

Over a period of time, even if you don’t reach your desired outcome, the progress and improving process will definitely be noticeable, so long as you are doing something right, using expert advice/help and taking help and support from those around you. This is just a moment of self-reflection for me personally, by writing this down, I am trying to peek into my own mind as if I were looking at myself as my own student. haha this is what solitude leads to… you become your own teacher, you become your own student, you become curious about different emotion, you have thoughts about those emotions and then you try dissect them, improve on them, think and reflect. Writing this out seems a bit hilarious but fun at the same time. Thank you Lockdown haha

I will keep this short and sweet and not jumble it up too much as this is not an expert advice, just a moment of self-reflection.