TL;DR: 144-character summary
Originally Written: 28-Jul-2019
Word Count: 1478
Read Time: 5 minutes
The Backwardness of Pursuit
“The more you try to be certain about something, the more uncertain and insecure you will feel.
The converse is true as well: the more you embrace being uncertain and not knowing, the more comfortable you will feel in knowing what you don’t know.”
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
Certainty is how we think we are right about others and cast judgments before getting a chance at reading the full page of what someone has to say. It is looking for headings to a paragraph and theorizing what is to come over wondering what is in store.
We do not try to collect data for a survey we don’t plan on using its results for. If you’re asking for feedback on something, it means you lack certainty about your own findings and feelings.
Certainty is Certainly Something
If we have certainty around something, it means we have a chain-link fence built around a concept that rebuffs the perspectives of others from penetrating the ideas and values we protect. But if we put up a chain-link fence of certainty, then what we are doing, ultimately is kill our values by casting them into stagnation at risk of significant turnover in thought.
Having beliefs about ourselves is the most enabling and disabling thing we can do, but we must generate some to survive, to register as alive. A person incapable of generating new ideas about themselves is likely to register as brain dead, or at least dead to the world around them. However, what ages us fastest is the inability to tend to these gardens in our minds as we become more set in our ways and what we allow to bloom becomes more limited in variety.
Our Minds Are Gardens - Tend to Them
Life teaches us to tend to the gardens of our minds in ways that have us hold onto the strongest ideas about ourselves the longest, turning over only what is necessary in order to maintain the status quo. However, it also limits us when we do not challenge some of the ideas we have developed about ourselves when we allow enough ideas to generate an identity. When we create an identity for ourselves, we have created a complex. A complex of ideas that all must be protected, a garden system of plants all inter-reliant upon each other to survive. Some of these complexes help us to survive in ways that are only necessary during extreme conditions, but become immediately of disservice once the weather turns fair.
Having a thorny garden of cacti is how you develop an identity that prevents others from getting in too close in a way that can hurt you, but it isn't exactly the most enjoyable garden to water, or look at.
In fact, it doesn't get watered much.
We pay less attention to our own lives as we observe the lives of others and foster jealousy or envy over the gardens they get to maintain. What we invariably do from this act is water the gardens of others by feeding them attention we are not giving ourselves. All the while, our minds grow weeds and what flowers we have wilt as they suffocate from the ingress.
Every minute of every day you are planting new ideas, strewing seeds across a fresh plain.
Many of them do not take hold and grow roots, but the ones we put attention to are what stand a chance of surviving.
When we generate ideas of jealousy upon observation of someone else, what we are doing is fostering attention to what will cause us to drive them and others away. When we confront the fact we are watering such feelings, we are able to change the way we see our garden's weeds for what they are: a chokehold of comfort preventing us from working on the shit we have to work through, which is sometimes just a bunch of dirt.
We Are All Dirty
Dirt is amazing because it is basically just carbon, but it nurtures what ultimately brings forth life in this world with each new global breath taken by the plants and animals occupying it.
What is certain is that we will return to it one day, everything above that is unpromised.
When you choose to stand up and give attention to your garden, what you are doing is confronting yourself as the gardener. Even if you think yourself the homeowner to the house of your mind and victimized by a guest who trampled it, you still own your own garden. Trauma survivors and all.
Every gardener has their own garden, but if you give them a chance to work on yours they will invariably craft it into what they think is beautiful over your own vision.
No one can create the garden we see we could have but ourselves.
When we allow others to shape our lives, we become passenger to our experience and, at times, feel like we are in the driver seat to our emotions. What this does is cause us to not accept responsibility for our choices and actions over blaming someone else for the messes they created in our minds.
I'm not really good with plants, I don't think many are. But developing a habit of consistently tending to our garden with mindful thoughts, tending to the weeds that invariably arise in real-time, and routinely planting new ideas for ourselves is how we achieve what we're ultimately all wanting for ourselves all the time: pleasure.
Happiness is a trick, with the deluge of media we consume would have us be miserable over actualized because then the machine doesn't get what it needs to keep running.
The joys of life are not experienced in having the most beautiful of fronts, but in having sustainable fruits and vegetables in the back that nurtures the soul occupying the house of your mind. Chasing the dirty lows over meaningful highs are how we get back to self and this practice is something we must spend our lives working on. We must tend to and kill off the ideas not helping us, and demolish the systems of complexes we have built up like a fortress to defend ourselves.
Change Happens Piece Wise
We need to make space for ourselves to grow, but expecting an overnight reinvention for ourselves is folly and fortuitous. Mainly because we cannot decimate portions of our gardens without impacting the ecosystem of our minds. Taking on our largest complexes can be like razing the entire Amazon rain forest - we're going to lose our breath if we cannot deal with the pain or shame that comes with such levels of self-effacement. This is why we must work on ourselves piecewise in order for our egos to not feel like they've just lost everything.
The more we develop our emotional intelligence, the more we develop an ability to cope with such feats, but the mind needs a system that supports such endeavors. There are just some plants that are not going to grow in the natural soil that is in your yard. Sometimes we have to spend a long time cultivating what would otherwise spring new life quickly once the soil composition is just right.
The fruit of a plant is the last thing that grows, but when we don't see results fast enough, we lose focus of what we're trying to do, which is something worth caring about. When we cannot extract meaningful results from our inputs after a set amount of time WE think is permissible to achieve our goals, we can have a tendency to uproot such ideas about ourselves as competent human beings. As capable at doing just about anything we set our minds to.
Oftentimes we forget that failure is a consequence of trying. We only make mistakes on things we'd otherwise want to be right about, but we cannot always be certain about our next steps. In fact, we cannot at all.
It is only by establishing we cannot be truly certain, ever, do we find solace in our minds from chasing certainty as a feeling.
Certainty does not exist and it only does in the minds of those who do not yet have vision to themselves as human. Acknowledging your humannes is to acknowledge you have an expiration date, at least one that is going to be considered your longest of shelf lives. We ourselves carry many ideas inside of us, but we ourselves are just ideas.
One day the idea of us as alive is going to be plucked from the minds of the world as we all fade. A legacy of turnover is better lived in the present than preserving in the past as meaningful, only to wonder if one will ever live again.
Today is all you have, your plains of dirt await.