With Focused Attention Comes Love

"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone." – Audrey Hepburn

"In order to control myself, I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature." – Bruce Lee

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In 2019, more than any time in human history, one's primary concern must be: What can I do to become wiser, every day? Wisdom discovers the flow of truth from authentic experiences. Wisdom allows one’s experience in the world to come into focus with acceptance, obliterating one's conflict with reality. With understanding, one encounters her emotions with equanimity, and her attitude towards the world becomes more compassionate.

"You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip, and it can crash. Become like water my friend." – Bruce Lee

This kind of focus allows one to think clearly, rationally and logically, to slow down and examine one's circumstances more closely with childlike curiosity, flexibility, and resilience.

Clear, precise, and gentle awareness opens the heart and mind to the miracle of conscious existence. From this posture, possibility expands and opportunities to create flows forth. Creativity is an elixir; it's the healthiest stimulus we have.

The system we live in today uses the science of division and contradiction to control us. Our socioeconomic system programs us to think and behave in ways that will support the system. Our education does the same, and as we socialize, we are being programmed to join or form groups that conflict with each other. This conflict also supports the system. So we must learn what this system is, we must become wise to it if we are going to learn what freedom means; if we are going to learn how to improve our society. We must redesign our system of conflict and remake it as a system based on wisdom.

Wise people, are compassionate intellectuals who are always learning and teaching – they are committed to curiosity and to helping others; they are individuals without egoism; they hold their knowledge lightly with a sense of epistemic humility. Wise people also notice where their thoughts, expertise, and emotional reactions originate. For them, the world is symbiotic and interconnected. Community and relationships are integral, valuable, and even potentially dangerous, which is why they focus on health. Healthy societies are peaceful and secure; they minimize conflict with other cultures through positive interactions. Is it time that we transcended war in favor of compassionate, positive relationships designed to improve the health and welfare of life on earth. This must be done no matter how impossible it seems to us today. How else can our children have a prosperous future? Would you give your grandchild a world without elephants, without fresh air, good food and kind people?

"Man is the creature who does not know what to desire, and he turns to others in order to make up his mind. We desire what others desire because we imitate their desires." — René Girard

To consistently become wiser one must be concerned with physical, emotional, and intellectual health, and practice deliberately and systematically to improve in these areas.

I listened to a podcast recently that made me wonder why I quit meditating twenty years ago. As I thought about it, an epic, personal story began to emerge, one that I hope to share someday.

How the brains of master meditators change

The scientist joins The Ezra Klein Show to discuss what he learned from bringing the Dalai Lama to his lab.

Richie Davidson has spent a lifetime studying meditation. He's studied it as a practitioner, sitting daily, going on retreats, and learning under masters. And he's pioneered the study of it as a scientist, working with the Dalai Lama to bring master meditators into his lab at the University of Wisconsin and quantifying the way thousands of hours of meditation changed their brains.

The word "meditation," Davidson is quick to note, is akin to the word "sports": It describes a huge range of pursuits. And what he's found is that different types of meditation do very different things to your brain, just as different sports trigger different changes in your body.

There are wisdom traditions in every culture across time. Wise people can be straightforward, sophisticated, or conventional.

Sadhguru may look like a textbook, Indian wise man, and regardless of his unique talents, he has worked hard to develop his wisdom. I am always skeptical of people with power, but there are influential, thoughtful people in the world who can be trusted. What do you think of his insights in this video?

Here is another perspective on wisdom.

Morality In The Age Of Artificial Intelligence: Why Do We Need Wisdom To Lead In The Future?

We live in a society that encourages us to think about how to have a great career but leaves us inarticulate about how to cultivate the inner life. The road to success is definitively paved through competition and so fiercely that it becomes all-consuming for many of us. It is commonly accepted today that information is the key source of all being; yet, information alone doesn’t laver one with knowledge as knowledge alone doesn’t lead to righteous action. In the age of artificial information, we need to consider beyond data to drive purposeful progression and authentic illuminations.

We need wisdom and compassion to develop a sustainable and just human civilization. At present, we are still far from achieving such a society. We have made material, scientific and technological progress at a fast rate over the past one hundred and seventy years, however, very few of us understand its cost to public health and the health of vital ecosystems. What's more important is that we are far from understanding how to deploy our scientific and technical knowledge with wisdom and compassion. And this, we must learn.

Let's all chose the path of enlightenment. Allow me to paraphrase a Navaho prayer:

All day long, in wisdom may you walk

With wisdom on your right

And wisdom on your left

Wisdom ahead of you

And wisdom behind you

With many wise friends, teachers, and students

May wisdom sustain and motivate you

And may wisdom be your gift to share

Through your actions in this life

And may your wisdom linger for many generations to come

And, as always, I hope you will read, "The New Human Rights Movement," by Peter Josephs. You will find wisdom there also.

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.