It is a Sunday of mid December and life feels sweet. Almost as it never did before, even if it did. I feel integrated and whole, warmhearted from the vivid connections with others. I have an inner smile of joy. Few hours ago I made love and napped with Chen. It was wholesome and now my eyes and my groins are releasing a slowly burning pleasure.
Chen and I have been talking about diligence. After we both took personality tests, it emerged that she behaves much more diligently than me. Curious, I asked. Her answer was an inspiring one that is worth noting down. She said that discipline … (it took me a long of procrastinating before coming back to this) … is important when we want to guide the experience that other people have of something we create. In this respect, diligence goes hand in had with responsibility. By the way, it is interesting to notice that I keep swapping diligence with discipline. I know why and will explain it later.
Before, let me talk about my response to Chen. I agreed with here that diligence emerges quite spontaneously for me as well when it comes down to affecting the experience of others. For example during my work Twitter, I am conscious that my code changes may affect millions of people and therefore I diligently check as much as I can that those changes have the desired ones and no side effects. Or when I hosted an interintellect salon last night, I was quite diligent in preparing it to ensure other people would have a positive experience.
However, I replied, when it comes down to being diligent for my own sake, I much less prone to indulge in it. On the contrary, I feel like being spontaneous, even messy and let things evolve. Chen’s reply was interesting. She mentioned that often when she chooses what to do, she considers the long-term benefits of that decision. She is being diligent and responsible towards her future self.
Why I don’t feel like that doing that in this period? I think it is because I am a little traumatised by having being diligent and disciplined (explaining the previous words swap) towards things that didn’t bring me that much long term benefit, especially long-term happiness. What am I referring to? I am referring to the fact that for many years I have been quite stringent with myself in terms of what I was allowing myself to and how I was allowed to spend money. I was quite minimal and a little forceful. I would design habit and routines and then regularly enforce them.
The reason this didn’t bring me that much long-term happiness and benefits, is that the underlying reason that (I assume) I was doing for was to prove to myself and others that I was worthy and mighty. For several reasons, that are still somewhat obscure to me, I wasn’t really loving myself that much. I was attaching my self-worth to the results I was reaching, to the respect others were giving to me and to my status.
Honestly, I think I picked this up from the people around me. Sadly, I think wasn’t and exception in attaching my self-worth to result and status. I think that’s a pretty common default believe in the modern society. I don’t blame myself for having done so, even if I suffered extensively from it. It’s history.
Going back to our main topic, I feel now I have a substantial amount of resistance and trauma towards diligence and discipline. But I am also starting to realise that they they can be very helpful in expressing and experiencing one’s love for oneself, others and practices. Diligently persevering can allow us to unlock certain feelings in others or enable us to experience certain slices of reality at a much greater depth.
I know it is going to take some time, and that I can take my time (Chen and I said the same on this) but I feel like at some point would be nice to integrate some elements of diligence and discipline together with the things I love. The fact that it is going to take time, itself demonstrates diligence. Because I don’t want to apply diligence and discipline to things that I aren’t the ones I love. I want the love to be driver of the diligence, and not the other way around.
I still have this voice that keeps nagging me through entire days of rest. That keeps telling me to work harder. That keeps telling me to do useful shit and to be productive. It keeps telling me that only doing that is worth. That otherwise I am sloth, I am worthless and useless. But there’s diligence in my resistance to that voice. There is discipline in my protection of myself. I know that when that voice stops, the trauma will be over. I still have some more work to do, but things are looking better.
Is there anything specific I can do more of to stop that voice? To heal the trauma? To feel both free and dedicated?
Here is one suggestion by Michael Ashcroft: “I have come to learn that it is entirely possible to 100% switch off the monkey mind. Not just ‘notice and not identify with it’, but actively get it to shut up. This can be done by choosing, repeatedly, to pay attention to the present moment — all of it, in its entirety.”
Another idea on how to do it. Apply discipline and diligence not out of mental conclusions but out of feelings and love. Accept the simplicity of your desires.
The rational monkey mind is not that skilled in commenting on our desires, motions and loves. It tries to analyse them and rationalise them but it is often just a trap that doesn’t lead much further. Our desires, motions and loves are simple. Yet we struggle so much to accept me. Yes, our strategies, plans and actions can be sophisticated and advanced. But they are merely executors of simple desires, which we struggle so much to accept.
For years, I have been applying discipline for cooked-up and complicated mental desires that were only the masquerade of simple desires that I didn’t want to accept and resolve directly. I am now a little burned out by that experience in using discipline and diligence for any other practice.
But if you look closer you will see that I am actually using them in order to accept my simple desires, to heal from this trauma, to get to unconditional self-acceptance and to cherish, cultivate and nourish the simple desires that emerges from that.