“Dude, just enjoy”

As a writer, I’m often guilty of pouring out words and labeling my life. Instead of relaxing, taking in the moment, I’m fantasizing about some far away place. It’s easy to write about these fantasies and dreams because our minds can create such beautiful possibilities. What is truly difficult, however, is living in the moment, whether good or bad, and taking it all in.

On Facebook, a person commented on a photo of mine with “enjoy”. What they probably meant was “I enjoy this” but they didn’t finish the thought. Instead of letting it go, I responded with a question mark. The comment seemed unusual and I wanted to know what they meant.

Almost immediately another friend responded with, “Dude, just enjoy”. It’s taken about a year to realize the true meaning of this.

While I was walking down the beach earlier today, I thought about it and was lead back to the word “enjoy”. It’s a simple two syllable word that we throw around and occasionally hear when we order food or go to the movies. We think of it like, “here’s your ice cream, enjoy!”. Essentially it has lost its meaning because of how often we use it.

What does “enjoy” really mean? It’s when you appreciate the world around you and the situation that you’re in. It means that you’re living in the moment and loving what is happening to you. More than anything, it’s the acceptance of life in its rawest form: you’re letting the world in. You’re truly feeling the taste of the ice cream or the sand on your feet.

Later that day I went out with some friends who got really drunk. The police were involved and it’s a long story that I’ll write about tomorrow. When we were sitting down with the cops, after about an hour, I remembered “enjoy”. Our situation was horrible and we would be up staying late that night, but I accepted it as part of my life. I took “enjoy” and just appreciated the moment for what it was.

In retrospect, it’s the small moments in each day that form our lives. Sleeping late on Sunday may seem meaningless but after a month, maybe you’ll appreciate stretching in bed and laying around. After a year, you may look back and remember those days when you could lounge around the house. Those are the moments that create a life. We look back and see the bliss.

What value is as of that if you didn’t actively “enjoy” those moments? Think back to the last time you thought to yourself “Wow, I’m having a good time” or “I really enjoy this”. Chances are you’ll remember a few moments but they will be few and far between. We don’t appreciate life at its core, only in the ‘grand’ moments. But life isn’t built on these moments, we don’t have them often enough to call them common.

Life is built on making oatmeal everyday for breakfast, or the long commute to work. It’s built on working in the heat and coming home covered in grease. These are the moments that populate our lives and keep our days filled until we go to bed. They are the first breaths after waking and feeling of exhaustion after a long day’s work.

“Enjoy” is a reminder that we need to take a breath and enjoy the moment. If we don’t take in the world and relax, life will pass us by. We were too busy thinking about our next action, or what could be, that we lose sight what is happening around us. When you’re on the side of the road with a group of cops and a group of drunk friends – “enjoy”. When you’re craving pizza and you finally get a slice – “enjoy”. Don’t question it, if you do, you’ve missed the moment. It all boils down to; “Dude, just enjoy”.

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No-Mind Language

No mind is the condition when thoughts pass through your head but you don’t place any attention on them. Eventually it’s as if there are no thoughts because what you are taking in through your senses at the moment are more important than your thoughts about it.

Think about a Hawaiian sunset, how catching it is and how beautiful. When you see something very beautiful like that, it’s as if everything else vanishes from your life except what is in front of you. It’s as if your life has peripherals and you spend more time staring at the peripherals than what’s directly in the moment.

Basically no mind is this condition of the absence of thought. It’s like a clearing where you can direct your attention and make thoughts arise as needed. You can act more efficiently and get more out of life.

Much of no mind comes from removing your desire to label everything. This coffee is cold or the palm trees are beautiful. While neither assertion is incorrect or bad, we spend too much of our time labeling things that don’t need to be labeled.

Ponder this for a moment; why do we need to say something is hot or cold inside our heads. We can just accept that our drink is what it is without labeling it. We can look at the sunset without the desire to try to make it tangible. We can walk across the sand and feel the sand without the need to call it soft or hot. We can just leave things at their experience or sensation.

Much of this leans into language. For example, we make action more tangible when we explain what we’re doing. I can go through the process of walking over and picking up a glass of water without thinking about walking over and picking the glass up. We have a fixation on words.

Like I wrote before, there is nothing inherently wrong with words. However, we passively label everything in our lives. This is too hot, too artificial, interesting, boring, great, horrible. We don’t spend enough time without these words.

As I’ve started to study Danish, I learn by labeling the things in my life. For example my friend turns into min ven. After learning many words to describe the objects around my dormitory I realized that I do this in the English language as well. My mind constantly speaks to my body. “Let’s go for a walk”, “I’m hungry”. Rather than making these expressions tangible I could just do them.

It’s difficult to explain but I think by labeling everything, we remove so much of the experience. By saying the sunset is beautiful, we reduce it to a word that is too generic to describe the experience of that sunset. Extravagant, or unique cannot do it justice.

These things which are conversations in our head “wow, that sunset is beautiful” are going nowhere. We are literally thinking them to ourselves. Because we are only thinking them and not communicating with somebody else, we mental reduce our experiences to generic words. We reduce them to much less than the experience of it.

Instead of labeling things, we should just feel them. The sensation of them and what it’s like to experience it. If someone asks, reduce it into language. But if you’re trying to remember something in your head, remember it for it’s sensation and not it’s descriptors.

Experience things as they are, don’t label everything.

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Why you’re thinking too much and need to stop

Have you ever been so caught up in thought that you’ve had someone say your name and you don’t respond? They repeat it a couple times, making themselves more distinct, to get your attention. They wave their hands in front of your face and finally you snap out of whatever trance you were in.

I think that almost everyone lives their life in that trance. The degree that you are spaced out varies but ultimately you are almost always in that trance. The struggle is that one person cannot wave their hands in front of you and make you wake up because you have to do it yourself.

Everyone exists in this trance, where they don’t pay attention. Their mind consumes them and they narrow their vision onto one thing. It’s as if we put binoculars on and stare at one thing – which blocks out everything else that is happening.

In our society, we highly value analytical thought. Or, simply logic. Everything in our existence can be quantified and analyzed until we can determine what it means. We do this because we think that once we understand something, we can control it. If we deduct the reason why we think something happens, we can cause it to repeat (if it’s beneficial to us).

We get so caught up in logic and idolize it that we get clouded with illusion. We start to believe that if we think about something long enough, we have the power to control it. We believe that if we could think of every possible reaction to a situation, we could make it work out in our favor. That’s why we spend so much time thinking of every different way to react to a situation.

However, this power is an illusion. In reality we have incredibly little power to control events and make them work out in our favor. Our ability to analyze has led us to worshiping thought and neglecting something called no-mind. By idealizing logic, we have done something incredibly illogical.

We have caused ourselves to live in our mind constantly attempting to solve problems and think through situations that may never happen. We all seek happiness and well being but we plan for it rather than live in it. If we do this or that, we could be happy. We must think of how to do something to have a good life. The truth is that we have well-being threaded into our existence and if we stop thinking, we can experience find that well-being.

Many of our problems stem from dealing and communicating with other people. When we encounter an emotional problem, we, often more times than not, try to apply logic and solve it. We think that if she moved her dress this way, she must hate us now. We try to apply logic to something that logic cannot solve. Not everything is done with an intent and you cannot deduct every movement from another person.

Logic is this sense is toxic. It erodes the mind because in other situations we can solve the problem simply by thinking about it. However, not everything works off of simple cause and effect – things exist spontaneously. It is an illusion to believe that the more we think, the more likely our solution will work in these situations. Or that the longer we think about something, the more likely we will be able to make it work out in our favor.

Our society equates logic with power, and we believe that we are weak without our ability to think. So when we come to situations where logic is useless, we still elect to continuously analyze it. We don’t understand that sometimes there is no reason. Because of this, we cannot use reason to define something that occurred for no reason.

To solve this problem we need to clear our minds and arrive at something called “no-mind”. This occurs when there are no more thoughts going through a person’s consciousness. That means that thoughts and emotions can pass through the mind, but the person doesn’t attach to them or think about them. It’s like the thoughts are there, but the person doesn’t actively think of them. The thoughts just flow through them and they are detached. Essentially there are thoughts without a thinker.

When have you had no thoughts? Are you able to stop thinking? Let your mind simmer down and when a thought arises, let it go. It doesn’t matter how important you think it is, just let it go. If you practice this, you’ll arrive at holes in your mind. There will be periods where there is no-mind.

Once you accomplish this, you can live life and experience it. You cannot live life in your mind and you cannot control everything. You cannot solve all the problems and apply logic to non-logical situations. By surrendering your control and detaching from your thoughts, you can learn that not everything has to work out in your favor. No amount of logic can control everything.

When you surrender, the illusion of power (or lack-there-of) vanishes. By realizing that you can’t control everything, you realize that you don’t want to control everything. Life is lived by the spontaneity of it.

So when the next time you try to interpret why another person does something, realize that logic doesn’t always apply. Even if you hate to hear it, you can think too much about something. Don’t get caught in that trance because life isn’t about thinking and controlling, it’s about living.

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