Saturday, December 06, 2014

Spontaneity, Serendipity, Accuracy and Curation

Quest 2015 Prompt from Jason Silva*
In what ways might you artfully curate your life in 2015 to occasion serendipity, creativity and awe?
Ontological designing says: We design our world and the world designs us back.
What are the linguistic and creative choices you can make in 2015 that will in turn act back upon you and transform you?
Lately, Ilana and I have been speaking to "curating" our lives: directing what we want to happen and making it happen. For instance, for me, a day off is a bit risky - so easy to consume lots of social media, even overwork, only to get to the end of the day and not have done the things I want to do and actually need to do: meditate, practice, write, exercise.

So how can I curate my life, my days off, like an exhibit - seeing on the wall what I want there - without overplanning it/overstructuring it so the exhibit feels like one of the walls at an early Paris museum?

So this question - curating to occasion serendipity, creativity and awe - takes me back to a core principle - a few of them - in Shambhala Buddhism.

1. The relationship between spontaneity and accuracy: Trungpa Rinpoche speaks to the necessity to allow for spontaneity in order to find accuracy. We so often emphasize planning/accuracy over spontaneity. But the natural order is in fact to arrive at spontanenity first, then allow accuracy to arise from that. In other words: if we are truly present, what is needed will arise.**

2. Serendipity - or magic - arises out of every situation. It is always there. Always. The question is: are we practicing - eg curating - our lives enough to recognize it? Sakyong Mipham often speaks to the fact that we already know how to meditate and contemplate - we just usually use these practices to focus on getting what we want or eliminating pain or ignoring what we don't want to see. If we use these practices - this power of mind that already exists - to see what is actually here, then we find we have all we need.**

3. Therefore, if I curate my life to allow for spontaneity, I will find the serendipity that is always there. Now the question: how do I curate for this? The answer might seem contradictory, but here Trungpa Rinpoche speaks to "intelligent spontaneity" and the role of discipline. I find the "answer" - mind you, not simple and not one-time, is practice. Doing the very things I avoid if I don't schedule them - same list - writing, exercise, meditation, practice - these are the things I have to structure (aka discipline) in order to allow for the space needed for serendipity.

As always, the questions I constantly, gently ask myself are:
Am I using this for compassion or to beat myself up?
Am I using this because it helps me feel better and be better or not?
Is this what is needed now?

I try to stay in touch with how it feels when I don't do what I want - see list above - and when I do,
that is the best motivation for me. What I do find, when I do practice, when I do curate: spontaneity arises around those structures and out of those spaces, serendipity knows where to find me.

*Quest 2015 is a "do it together" 2015 planning group happening with Jeffrey Davis. Here's a link to the video about this December 2014 curating-serendipity-group!
**I find it very, very important to state that none of these teachings are "prosperity principle" or abundance related in a financial way. I struggle with money, as so many do, and the idea here is NOT to blame ourselves if we don't have enough to eat, enough shelter, enough health or money. The main understanding is that of the daily suffering so many people experience, so much of it is mental state-based. If we can adjust our mental state, we can access clearer mental states and lower our amount of mental suffering. For most of us, that means that other forms of suffering will decrease, too. But it takes work and doesn't happen automatically. It is up to us - and up to the systems of oppression around us to get with what is happening, too.

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