P N C O

Mostly photography, with the occasional philosophical contemplation

Self-Improvement

2 Comments

Self Improvement

Like so many of us, at one time I became somewhat obsessed with the idea that I could improve myself all the way up to enlightenment. I was convinced that I was here to make that realization and the best way to do it seemed to be improving myself on all levels. So I started reading a lot of philosophical and spiritual books. Also I started having some mysterious and unexplainable experiences which seemed to come from a different world. I was intrigued by my own success and it never came up to me that these things could just happen by themselves.

Alan Watts explained my situation to me in a video on self improvement. As a start, he pointed out that our whole educational system – and after that the business world – is only occupied with the idea of improving and growing. In school we get grades and degrees to show that we have learned something. But instead of seeing the learning as the real goal, the degree has become the goal in our society. So the curiosity of a child who just wants to learn about the world is seen as bad and is replaced by the insatiable mantra “improve yourself and you’ll become the best”.

The same goes for work. When we work because we like what we do, we tend not to focus on the money we earn with it. The money is not a goal in itself, but is a necessary good since you need money to survive and eat in this world. So far there is no problem with money. The problem arises when the money becomes the goal. The reason why you started working in the first place (e.g. because you like making good clothes) is pushed to the background and is replaced by the need to earn as much money as you can. Success is no longer measured by your ability to do what you really like doing, but instead is measured by the amount of money you can accumulate. More money means more improvement.

But it’s just an idea in our head. What if there is nothing to improve?  What if the world happens to be just as it is right here, right now? We’re in constant conflict with this idea. Because we feel the need to improve ourselves, we’re unconsciously telling ourselves that we’re not good enough. We think we need to overcome all our flaws in order to be a good person. But what if it is actually perfectly fine to have flaws? I’m not saying we should stick with old and toxic behavior; we should try to let go of the idea of improving ourselves.

Just look at growing up as a child. As a child, you’re not busy improving yourself and yet you grow. It’s a basic characteristic of human existence: you are born as a child and inevitably you will start to grow and learn. It’s part of being human. And it explains why we are so curious by our nature. If we can see that there is nothing to be improved, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with us at this moment, we can start to relax and breathe. We can start to observe the world in a new way. There is no need to look for something to be improved. Why make the world a better place, if it is ok right now?

To me this is a powerful mirror. If I look at my own situation; I think I want to help other people. What does this actually mean in the light of self improvement? It still reflects that I want to improve myself, helping other people being the disguise.  So I still believe at some level I need to improve myself in order to be whole. But where is me? If I look I can’t find it anywhere. The world seems to be rolling by itself just fine!

*The quote used in the image comes from the website https://www.tinybuddha.com

Advertisements

11: Being one with nature

Leave a comment


Last weekend i did a course called Deep Ecology which is inspired by the work of Joanna Macy and Arne Naess. The following poem is all about my experiences of last weekend

Being one with nature

We come together
To share our concerns

Overwhelmed by our common fear
At first it is painful to admit
Will there be a future?

Speaking out our truth and worries is liberating
I am concerned about what we do to our planet
Why do we chose to remain ignorant
When profit comes before people and planet?

It is difficult to listen to what everybody has got to say
Despair, courageous words, anger and deafening silence
We ask for guidance and wisdom – what is happening right now
Is impossible to ignore at the same time too big to comprehend

Allowing all of this to be with us in the present
Opening to the totality of experience is a gift in disguise
Through pain and suffering comes space for joy and peace

I feel a strong connection with nature and the planet
Spending time contemplating in solitude
Realizing there is no true separation

Letting the heart of nature speak
I feel grateful to just be here

Being one with nature

 

 

 

2: Follow the Heart

8 Comments

As you take your first few steps
Know mother´s always there
Right behind you helping you out
She guides you along the way

Be brave my little one
Let go of fears and doubts
In this sacred dance of life
Go beyond all suffering

Be strong my little child
Just enjoy the ride
Trust and follow your own heart
Then nothing’s left behind

We were all young one day
Learning from mistakes
So if you fall to the ground
We help you to stand up

There will be pain and tears
And joy and happiness
So whatever you become
Don´t take life too serious

Listen to your own heart
It´s the wisest thing to do
All you need to know is there
Just follow it right through

Trust and just let it all go
The loving heart will flow
Trust and follow your own heart
There’s nothing else to do

The heart, she waits for you
Are you coming soon?

The heart, she calls for you
Can you hear her too?

© PNCO 2017


7 Comments

Job Interview (II)

As i promised to some of you, i would come back to the job interview i had last week. I knew yesterday that i would receive the answer yes or no today, so i mentally prepared myself for both answers. I mentally rehearsed both conversations and monitored how it felt in the body. When i was sufficiently sure that i wouldn’t be too upset, i knew that i was well prepared for today.

Pretty early in the morning i received the phone call i was expecting. It was not my job to be. The other candidate had more juridical experience and they choose him/her. So as i heard the manager say that i didn’t get the job, i realized that the practice of the day before did its magic. I was calm and was even able to ask a few questions on why they didn’t choose me. No stress, no disappointment, just an immediate sense of acceptance and of letting go.

So altogether it was quite an interesting ride. If i had gotten the job, it would have been very good as i would have had to learn many new skills and also do challenging things like speaking in front of (large) groups. I knew that there was a lot in it for me to learn. I also knew that i could not tell whether i was really suited for the job, as it was so different from what i do now. But now that i don’t got the job, its time to refocus to the work i’m doing and continue that and see what else is in store for me.

Focusing on equanimity has been the true lesson here.. no matter what the outcome, don’t focus on hope or fear but just remain aware and mindful of what is happening. Saves me a lot of stress and wishful thinking 🙂


2 Comments

Thank you, Mark Cavendish

Thank you, Mark Cavendish

Yesterday just before going to bed i read an article about a crash which had just happened during the Olympic omnium (a discipline within track cycling) involving multiple Tour-de-France stages winner Mark Cavendish. After reading some comments on Twitter i found a video of the said crash and i was surprised there were no consequences connected to this crash.

I felt it was injustice and went to bed. But then i started reflecting on what was happening inside. I realized that i was judging a situation on which i had absolutely no influence. And in my mind i was already condemning Cavendish. By contemplating on this feeling, it made me realize that no matter what the reason for his move were, it wasn’t up to me to judge.

So instead, i started shifting towards feeling compassion for Mark Cavendish instead. Whatever caused him to make his move, he wants to be happy just as i want to. Perhaps he thought he could win gold through this unorthodox move? As i concentrated on letting go of all this second-guessing, i realized that i just didn’t like the move. I thought the move was irresponsible, dangerous. But this move doesn’t make him a bad person. It began to feel more and more as an act out of ignorance. And i realized that i’ve made quite a few of those moves in the past myself. I was able to separate the act from the one who committed the act and realize that there is a difference between the two.

In the heat of the moment we’ve all made mistakes. Would i want to be condemned for mistakes i’ve made in the past? Or would i rather be forgiven and shown compassion and understanding, so that i can learn from my mistakes?

So in retrospect i realize that i have to thank Mark Cavendish for this opportunity to accept what i dislike and actually have compassion for just that.

Learning from the Sunset

2 Comments

IMG_3351_2-caklein2
Creative Commons License

Today i learned quite a lot by making photographs and there is so much more to learn! Won’t bother you with all the details, but i found some great functions in lightroom and elements which really helped me to enhance this picture (it had chromic abberation to name one thing)..
Other than that, i found out its important to know your way (had to plough through mud, while i could have used an easy access path nearby) and that some research before going to a place at sunset can help too (could almost find no place to put my tripod where the trees weren’t blocking the view lol). Other than that, it made me happy even though i only kept one picture out of the many i took..

Song Thrush

Leave a comment

Zanglijster

This youngster was waiting for his parents to bring it some food.. it just sat on the branch, not doing anything – neither did it move. I still have a lot of practice to do, cause the head isnt sharp enough imo.. but i’ll get there. So if there are any bird photographers out there, who can help me increase the quality of bird pictures.. please let me know! Curious what the best settings are for bird photography (e.g. what ISO, AV or TV etc)