Sunday, February 07, 2016

Living Life to the Fullest ... Sigh

Search on "living life fully" or "living life to the fullest" and millions of sites come up. The top ones are those with inspirational quotes and advice on how to live life fully. The question came back to me yesterday for some reason and kept nagging at me: How can we engage more with life? We may imagine that life has a rhythm and in order to fully engage with life, we need to adjust to that rhythm and speed. But how?

Given my recent posts and my line of thoughts these past few days, it should not be surprising that my mind went back to the idea of "purposeless discipline" (see [Objectless Hope and Purposeless Discipline] and [On Time] posts specifically). I think "engaging with life" is one of those topics that you cannot approach directly, kind of like trying to hold a fish in hand too tight. Alternatively, I have this idea that the best way to improve our engagement with life is through practicing purposeless discipline.

What is purposeless discipline anyway? Suppose you decide to wake up at 6, instead of your usual 7, in the morning and exercise for half an hour and then take a shower. The idea is to improve your health and functionality during the day by starting your day with physical activity. This is a purposeful discipline. In contrast, if you decided to wake up at 6:41 (an arbitrary number) in the morning, walk around your kitchen in clockwise direction twice (again arbitrary) and then go about your day as usual, then there is very little or no benefit to this routine. This would be an example for purposeless discipline.

I have this strong intuition that lack of purpose has, in fact, very interesting implications. The most important is this: if we think of the "self" as a collection of characters, the lack of purpose provides a natural setting for those characters to work together and not against each other. Artificial purpose (devised by conscious logical mind) is  the surest trigger for creating conflict between internal characters. Once these characters begin working more harmoniously, they begin to develop a natural rhythm that ultimately results in better engagement with life! Ultimately a deep sense of purpose based on this harmony will also develop, which amounts to a deep sense of hope was an internal compass (i.e., objectless hope).

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