Day #5 : Yesterday
A couple of things happened yesterday.
Event #1 : A cat was friendly to me. This wasn’t random.
Cat is hungry + I have food = Inevitable friendship.
It has happened once before but not to this extent. This cat was really visibly pleased with my presence. You learn to let things go when you’re in the presence of cats. With cats, love is a bit detached and subtle. It happens at a distance. It is not as physical and “colourful” as with dogs. But hating the cat for not being as vibrant and affectionate as a dog is egotistical. The cat doesn’t have to like you or stay with you. It is independent. You will learn to not judge and you will become less needy for affection which is a good thing. The independent cat will teach you how to be independent.
Event #2 : Habits are the key.
I realized that ploughing through work doesn’t actually work unless it’s some sort of a physical labour. To be highly productive, you have to be in the optimal state of relaxed focus. This, I’ve noticed, can be developed and sustained over a long period with discipline, habits and routines. If you have to do something and you hate it, set up a routine where you’ll do it for just 1hr of the day initially. That 1hr is where you have to face your fear and no matter how ugly, walk through the mud. Slowly as you traverse this path more, it becomes manageable. That’s what I realized. No matter how much I try, I can never possess the ability to develop interest in a given task at will and sustain it. Eventually I will have to fall back on discipline and habit to get shit done. As Elliott Hulse says, “Motivation will get the ball rolling but to keep it going, you need discipline.” Habits are the saviour. They are the key to building momentum and increasing productivity. This is it. This is the one thing I’d tell myself 2 years ago if I had a chance. It will never be perfect. It will never be the right moment. You will never be able to sustain the love for the work. But to achieve the level of productivity, which I know you love and crave, you need to eat the dirt voluntarily and slowly get used to eating it and then increase the amount of dirt you eat. It’s like Dumbledore drinking that poison in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. It’s voluntary enslavement. You don’t like to do it but you just do it because it’s necessary.
Somehow I’m afraid if this writing is taking away from the core of what I understood and want to convey. The bottomline is this : You have a project you want to finish. There are usually two things you need to do to finish the project. Learn what’s necessary and do what’s necessary. For learning, you have to deploy the techniques from Accelerated Learning by Brian Tracy. And once you know what you’re dealing with and all that’s required is for you to just put your head down and get the work done, what you need to do is establish a habit/routine over time where you set aside 1hr work sessions for doing the work, eliminate all distractions, and then just spend that 1hr doing the work. Initially it will be hard and you are desperate for that 1hr to end so that you can escape this fucking hell of a prison. And that’s what it is. It’s a self-imposed prison. And ironically, you will find salvation and freedom from your imperfections in that prison. I’ve noticed that by doing certain things, the hardship you face in that self-imposed prison can be reduced drastically to such a point that you will actually look forward to it and enjoy it. These things include :
- Daily Meditation : I’m currently doing 15min meditation everyday. I’ve ramped it up from 10min because the experience itself was so enriching. I leave the session feeling peaceful and centred. Untethered is the word. Being aware is definitely the key. I’m going to meditate a lot more daily in the future. Thankfully I’ve established a routine and a discipline to sustain the habit of meditation. Meditation is really good for getting into state. It brings focus and awareness.
- Health & Fitness : I do 20–30min yoga/stretching and other exercises in the morning after waking up. I also walk a lot and sometimes do cardio in the evening. Keeping my body fit has definitely put my brain active. Exercise is your ticket to getting everything aligned.
- Reduce Toxic Intake : This is key. I became conscious of this recently when I re-read the book “Deep Work” by Cal Newport. In that book, Cal talks about how you need to Drain the Shallows in order to develop the cognitive capabilities to work deeply on demanding work. So I’ve stopped using facebook/watsapp and reduced my “daily entertainment” to just 1hr of watching lengthy(20min) youtube videos like stand-ups or documentaries or other insightful/scientific/knowledgeable videos. I haven’t watched a movie on my laptop for a couple of weeks. When this knowledge is ingrained in you that clicking on random entertaining videos and feeding them to your brain will deplete your mental resources, you tend to stay away from the toxins. I’m a stimulation addict and the only reason I’m even able to do this is because of the level of awareness/consciousness/mindfulness that meditation & routines have brought into my life. Somehow mindfulness meditation reduces your level of neediness. The true yogis are fine with just closing their eyes and living their life. They don’t need anything to happen.
Event #3 : I snatched a stick out of a dog’s mouth.
I’ve been spending some time with dogs regularly. Dogs are evolution’s gift to mankind. They have been wired to give you love no matter what. They can help you get into proper state. That kind of mutual love with dogs has brought so much colour and happiness in my life.
Event #4 : Started reading “Inner Engineering” by Sadhguru.
I’ve been trying to get self-control and trigger the required emotions at the required time for some time now. It is evident from my articles here. I’ve read all kinds of books to learn this art of controlling your own mind so that you can, let’s say, spike interest/excitement before working or bring in calmness when in distress or stop the feeling of suffering. Books like “Emotional Intelligence, “Focus : The Hidden Driver of Excellence”, “Awaken the Giant Within”, NLP(Neuro Linguistic Programming), Subliminal Conditioning, Subconscious Mind Power, Visualizations, Affirmations etc. When I heard Sadhguru saying how Inner Engineering can help you design your inside(mind) the way you want to, it piqued my interest. So I’m reading the book to find out more. I learned of his enlightenment experience as a young man on the Chamundi hill. Looked up some of this on Youtube and other folk have also said that they’ve experienced true bliss or “enlightenment” when they could no longer identify who or what they are and who or what they aren’t.