Discover more from Tangent
Tangent: Mixed Bag of Goodies
Meditation, Oppenheimer, Podcast appearance & Recommendations
Hello Tangentees!1 Thank you as always for reading.
We've arrived at another serving of random thoughts and recommendations.
First, I have to ask for your help. I don’t know what to name these twice-a-month emails. What do you think I should name them? Reply or comment below!
Let’s get to it!
Make my day. I dare you.
I posted a Twitter thread about my meditation experience. Here are the main takeaways if you have meditated and failed.
Don’t expect anything.
We fall into this trap of treating a meditation practice like a golf swing. Expecting marginal improvements that build momentum in meditation is like trying to find a cloud that's the same shape every day. You can't.
Meditation is about a broader surrender. Not a pursuit, but an exploration of what a more expansive you could be. Enlightenment can only be explored by engaging in practices that increase the potential for enlightened moments.
A broader mindfulness practice is about nurturing expansiveness in all areas of your life .
What do I mean by expansiveness? Maintaining equanimity, letting your energy and not your ego drive your decisions. To not compare, but observe.
Expansive beings notice more. The idea of presence feels more natural to them because they do not dwell in the past/future more than absolutely necessary.
This cannot be achieved through meditation alone. It’s about building a deeper awareness in the most mundane moments of our day. Noticing our inner dialogue, the why behind our actions, and how we feel when we are triggered by our environments.
Don’t meditate to be better. Meditate because worst case scenario, you bought yourself 10-20 minutes of stillness. That’s the prize.2
I watched Oppenheimer last week. It was spellbinding. I’m not going to go full movie review mode (there is plenty of that out there). What I found interesting was Nolan’s choice to center the movie around the security clearance process which basically became a trial of Oppenheimer’s reputation given his past ties with Russia and The Communist Party in the US. There are many other elements from Oppenheimer’s life that could be the narrative arc Nolan could have chosen.
And maybe I’m reading into it too much, but I think Nolan framed the movie this way to make a point about public discourse in this country. Quick to judge, haunted by our pasts, calls for accountability becoming poisoned with pursuits of vengeance. It goes back to what I wrote a couple of weeks ago about justice. I don’t think anyone knows what justice is really. But we think we do. And we treat people with a sense of righteousness we wouldn’t wish applied unto ourselves. Notice I said “we.”
One day you are a hero, the other a Communist-associated afterthought.
Essays Worth Reading
Devote Yourself to the Cause of Your Life by Evan Armstrong: Every writer, Evan Armstrong penned this wonderful essay that resonated it with me because of the similar circumstances by which we arrived at writing and because it is one of those essays that stops you in your tracks and makes you think (even when I don’t fully agree with all his arguments). An excerpt:
When we focus excessively on productivity, when our biggest concern is on how to “scale ourselves,” we miss the point of work—and, really, life—which is to find meaning in the daily tasks that consume our time.
The Illusion of Writing by Tommy Dixon: This piece reminds us not to believe everything we read. It can be easy to fall in love with a writer’s eloquence, insights, and experiences. But writers are fallible to preaching faulty logic and ideas that they don’t even live themselves. In Tommy’s words:
Perhaps we crave perfect people. Perhaps I’d have a bigger following if I pretended my life was perfect and I was continually blossoming into some higher being. But it wouldn’t be honest.
In the end, I know life isn't a puzzle to figure out but an artwork to wonder at.
Lost Children by Alissa Mears: This one is going to hit parents like a ton of bricks. It is about loss both literal (your child going missing, even if it’s for a few minutes), and the loss of all the versions your child sheds rapidly at the rhythm of the sands of time. Here is the paragraph that got me:
We pulled up the CCTV footage and started to comb. If you have ever looked for your child in CCTV footage, you will understand the sudden split in consciousness between the imperative to look harder than you’ve ever looked before and the understanding that what you see might end your life.
I was in a podcast…
My friend Sha Hurley recently launched a podcast that is refreshingly soulful.
In my conversation with her, we talked about the difference between happiness vs. contentment, the value of feeling, the perils of perfectionism and a few other nuggets. Give it a listen! (If you listen at 3x speed, I won’t be offended…just weirded out).
Photo(s) of the Week
I wrote about falling in love with art in Vienna last week. That took me down the time machine of Google Photos where I relived that trip through my amateur photographer lens.
Vienna is one of my favorite cities. I was only there 3 days, but looking back it awakened an artist in me that had been long dormant in my life until then.
Here are some of my favorite photos from that trip.
On your way out…
Just a little poll for you:
Until next week!
I guess I got jealous at Taylor Swift fans being succinctly named “Swifties” and I had nothing. So this is what I came up with.
Note: I’m currently doing TM meditation & I’ve found that this is what has worked best for me. I know TM can be quite dogmatic, so I’m not going to expand on it other than to say that if you’ve tried everything else and failed, maybe you should give it a try.