Hello again, this is your host Will Luden with Revolution 2.0™, the proud inheritors of the breakthrough thinking and dedication of Revolution 1.0 in 1776. Welcome.
Defocus to Gain Focus (EP. 174)
“An unexamined life is not worth living.” -Plato
That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.
Surprised by this topic? Let me share why I picked it. You have heard the saying, “You don’t get strong in the gym, you get strong when you sleep at night.” You still have to do the hard work in the gym, but your recovery allows the muscles torn down by exercise to relax, repair and grow stronger. Let’s add one more layer to this analogy; the muscles repair best when recovery is aided by good nutrition.
In the same way, almost step by step, our minds, our ability to think, our ability to think more completely, precisely and insightfully, grows and becomes much more effective when it is allowed to rest, to defocus, after intense work. “The mind is a muscle.” -Yvonne Ranier, American choreographer and filmmaker. The steps are the same: 1. You work hard with your brain, reading and thinking, or in your work. For me it is researching and creating my blogs and podcasts. That’s the gym phase. 2. As with post gym periods, sleep helps. The mind processes when we sleep, even if we don’t dream. And we can recover from mental exercises while awake by letting our minds wander away from what we have been working on–what we have been concentrating on–trying ever so hard as we wrestle with our ideas, thoughts, and challenges. 3. Give our minds the nutrition they need by drinking deeply from good books and good people.
Frequently, I will come close to completing an episode, then put it out of my mind until the next morning. When I tackle it again in the AM, I am no longer surprised that I have new insights, and new ways of wording thoughts to make them clearer and more interesting. The mind at rest not only recovers, but processes in new and insightful ways.
I also create opportunities for active mental rest here in Colorado Springs, right in my backyard, my Walden Pond. Here is a winter photo of a small slice of what I see. And, yes, active rest is a thing.
My Walden pond is Peregrine Creek (my name for our beautiful, 75’, but artificial creek with three falls), that starts right out the back door. My Life In the Woods starts about 70 yards from the creek, with access right across the road behind our home to endless miles of wilderness hills and trails. Blodgett Peak dominates much of the scene, soaring to 9,500 feet. Immediately adjacent to the Peak are the Rampart Range and Pike Nat’l Forest. If I had the hoo-ha, and I don’t, I could walk to Utah and never see anyone.
My time connecting to Peregrine Creek and the wilderness starts yards from my home, which allows me the time and mental space to challenge what I think I think as I hike. To let my thoughts find themselves before I share them with you. Duc (“Duke”), my 80-lb. Standard Poodle, is my constant companion out there.
Out in the hills is where I let go of my oh-so-important (to me) thoughts. Perhaps more importantly, this is where I go to work on letting let go of my thoughts of self-importance. And it is here that I frequently find the truth, not so much in facts, but the truth in what is important.
“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden (Life in the Woods).
Today’s Key Point. We all need to detach, to defocus from how we see others and the world. And do that regularly. And even when we are dead certain there is no time for anything but grinding away at the mission in front of us. In this detachment, this relaxing, will come perspective, calm, better thinking, strength, and the ability to forge ahead refreshed–ready for whatever may come our way. More specific to Revolution 2.0™ and political (and related) dialog, we all need to take time away from the fray. Let the brain and its thoughts settle for a while before you re-engage. If you are carrying a near-full bucket of water, and the water begins to slosh around threatening to spill over, you would it slow down–or even stop–to let it settle down before proceeding. Same thing, yes?
Here’s a couple; parting thoughts:
“An unexamined life is not worth living.” -Plato
“A life of contemplation and examination without action that changes things, is a waste of all that contemplation and examination. -Will Luden
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.