Summer is the perfect time to put philosophy into practice, especially if you're into the philosophy of doing as little as possible and not giving a fuck. Here are a few ways I'm keeping cool.
1. Keep your job.
The best way to hang onto something is by not being attached to it. Don't care if you keep your job and it will stay nicely attracted to you. Our friend was getting stressed out at work, so she hastily took two days off for an extra long weekend. When she got back, her supervisor offered her a promotion and a raise.
2. Practice taking no action.
Let life bring it to you! For example, say you want a new hat. Instead of going to the store and getting one, see if the universe will bring it to you. Then, if the hat comes and it's not exactly what you wanted, try it anyway. You will probably find the hat is better in ways you couldn't foresee.
3. Stay focused on what you want.
In every moment, you can choose to focus on what you want or what you don't want. If you are crossed with unpleasant circumstances, ask yourself what you would prefer instead. Weird example: I was hanging out with Kelly and some friends in our living room. I looked over and through the window I saw this guy looking in. I mean, he was on the phone and he's a neighbor, but I was creeped out. At the moment I was placing my attention on this dude, my friend says, "You just have to stay focused on what you want." I heard the message from the universe and switched my attention to the thought, "I don't give a fuck about what's going on out there. I'm engaged with and enjoying this conversation." As soon as I forgot about the dude, he left. I looked back towards the window and laughed at how silly life (and I) can be.
4. Refine your message.
I'm not sure how I ended up on Nicola Tweed's email list, but she sent out some great suggestions on focusing your website. Even if you don't have a website, these are great questions to ask about any communication project.
- What is the one thing you want people to know?
- What is the one thing you want people to feel?
- What is the one thing you want people to do?
5. Take heed from the The Tao Of Steve.
Kelly and I have been into Taoism lately, so this movie really resonated in a silly way. The main premise is that if you want to get laid, follow these rules:
- Eliminate desire.
- Be excellent in her/his presence.
- Retreat, because "We pursue that which retreats from us."
6. Be pure awareness.
I made this meditation video that ended up being about addictive thoughts and behaviors. "Becoming pure awareness" is a useful tool I've found for dealing with cravings. When you find yourself wanting something desperately, and in a bad mood because you can't have it, try zooming out and observing yourself. Say in your mind, "Breathe in and be pure awareness. Breathe out and be pure awareness." When you are aware of your thoughts, you are not your thoughts. You can disentangle from obsessive thinking. You can watch your life with amusement like a play. Life gets less scary and more interesting. Under all the layers of personality and preferences and memories, you are pure awareness. You are the universe looking at itself. You are everything, so you lack nothing. You are life itself.
What if we really could be happy with what we have? What if we didn't need to change our bodies, relationships, or bank accounts to feel good about our lives? What if we could just make peace with what is, and see that we already have everything we want? Here are a few ideas for entering that state of mind.
Hungover? Count to 1000. So angry you could hit someone? Count to 100. Want to have a good day? Count to 10,000. One of the reasons silent counting works so well is because it gives me some distance from worries, fears, and overthinking long enough to see I didn't need any of those thoughts in the first place.
2. Act like you're always in a music video.
I am perpetually collecting methods for being present, or "in the Now". Nothing makes me more aware and appreciative of my current reality than listening to some good jams and pretending I'm the star of the video!
3. Try this mantra: "All my wishes are coming true."
Any time either Kelly or I get something we wanted, we exclaim, "All my wishes are coming true!" Notice it, get more of it!
4. Try this mantra: "I've decided to feel good about that. It's working itself out."
Last Friday I got up late. Instead of beating myself up about it, I said to myself, "I've decided to feel good about getting up late. It's working itself out." Then Kelly and I had to rush to get ready for an 8 mile bike ride up north. Kelly asked me if I wanted to meditate before we left, and even though I felt rushed, I decided to sit. I said to myself, "I've decided to feel good about my timing. It's working itself out." By the time we finished meditating, our friend had texted asking if we wanted a ride. On a humid, 90 degree day?! Yes! All our wishes are coming true!
5. Feel your inner body.
Another technique for entering the present moment, "feeling your inner body" is a suggestion I snagged from Eckhart Tolle. The idea is that feeling your inner body helps you sense the infinite energy source from which you come, and it takes your attention away from overthinking.
As I ease through my third decade of being human, I come to realize again and again that the solution is always to meditate. There is no action I can take to make more money or lose weight. But I can sit down to meditate, remember my oneness with life, and know that everything is already perfect and in its place and I don't need to change a thing.
My current mantra/technique for not driving myself crazy is this: to each worry or concern that arises in my mind, I say, "I've decided to feel good about that. It's working itself out." Then once I've run out of worries to pivot from, I come back to the present. I say, "Breathe in and be here now. Breathe out and be here now." I do my best to be present, alert and connected to the Now, where everything is fun and there is nothing to worry about.