My ongoing self-improvement

We are said to be flowing streams of consciousness, or are we? What reality do I really occupy other than the immediate moment, which itself is brief and fleeting? How do I find that elusive peace that all of us so desire? As the new semester begins to set its course, we are all afforded an opportunity to start with a clean slate. Our “whiteboard” need not be impregnated with anything that we don’t put there ourselves: pain, jealousy, envy or regret, to name but a few. These emotions limit our opportunities for self-improvement. The secret, I maintain, is to find yourself in the present and yet cast a determined eye to the future.

That being said, the past must be placed in its own context: it is “the past” and cannot be changed — get over its mistakes and plan for the immediate and the future. I am a true believer in concretizing images of an exciting, positive nature. It is easy to let the wandering mind project something negative and promulgate it into a fearful and unnecessary memory. An example: recently, as I was edging our car into oncoming traffic at a red light, I held out my hand to slow the approaching vehicles. The light turned green and I proceeded into the flow. In the process, however, I did not pay attention to the cars already moving to my right. The mind just assumed that I was part of one continuous movement. One car had stopped, however, and I nearly hit him. This image stayed with me for several days, the aftermath, the complications, the time, the cost: useless. I must learn to stop negative projections: no fear. This can be extended into life itself. I believe that we must not exist in a continual state of anxiety, but in a state of love: seeking the positive and dynamic experiences to fill each and every day.

The article Stateless Mindset goes further by promoting a complete cleansing of the mind before any new thought or conversion. It suggests that you, literally, enter into a conversation or situation with no antecedents. This is something that is very difficult to do: to be truly clear. “This is what our lives are like. We are constantly holding information, frustration, ideas, tension, requests, and needs of a thousand different requests each day. Every email, every call, every text message, every open browser tab, every interaction with another person, every text message … it all builds up in us until we are overloaded. Imagine if you forgot all previous requests. Those interactions died, faded away into the ether. Imagine if there wasn’t the weight of thousands of request and interactions on your mind right now. Imagine they were gone, and you had a blank slate. What would this blank slate feel like — just this task, just this person, just this action, just this moment?” (1) It certainly is an interesting concept with some limitations, for sure. Please attempt this for a day or so and reflect on what you have experienced.

For a bit of lightheartedness and fun, the piece Ragtime, Stride and Dixieland Jazz discusses Ragtime music — its rise and its demise. During its heyday, “Even classical composers like Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky turned out pieces that incorporated the heavy melodic syncopation and march-like ‘ooompah’ beat of ragtime. The movement’s undisputed icon was Scott Joplin (1867-1917). His death marked the end of one epoch and heralded the entrance of a new period: the Jazz Age. We should be truly thankful for all innovative music for music is the singing of the soul.” (2) The great French novelist and thinker, Victor Hugo (1802-1885), (3) leaves us with a thought: Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

A closing thought: I am always impressed with those who seem to have “control under pressure.” This is, sadly, from an historical perspective, not always true. Many of the iconic figures in history struggled with their own demons. The answer, I believe, is to bring it back to me, to the self. My grandfather used to say, “This won’t matter in ten years.” Many times this was so, so true. Life, however, has to teach us those lessons, doesn’t it? (Parts of this essay were first punished in January 2014.)

To sum up: This week, we spoke about music, fun, and our stream of consciousness.

To be noted: Being one with everything means experiencing a supernatural bond with the entire universe. A hot dog with everything means experiencing a supernatural bond with mustard and sauerkraut.

Just for fun: Martin Spitznagel – Maple Leaf – Scott Joplin

This week on your energetic walk, please contemplate the concept of clarity in your daily life.

Every day look for something magical and beautiful

Quote: Look for the moments that punctuate your life with joy and grandeur — these act like “launching pads” that propel you to even greater heights.

Footnotes

1) Stateless Mindset

2) THE EVOLUTION OF RAGTIME & BLUES TO JAZZ

3) Victor Marie Hugo was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic Movement. He is considered one of the greatest and best known French writers. Outside of France, his best-known works, arguably, are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, 1831