Skip to content

Category: mental health

Setting aside “Balance” in favor of self-awareness

I’ve decided that I’m going to blow up my freshly created 2020 goals, and tighten them up so that this year I strive for immersive/passionate focus into just a couple of things, rather than pushing a number of larger goals forward incrementally.

The main driver for this change was reading Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness‘s excellent book, “The Passion Paradox” One of the main concepts in the book is that balance and passionate pursuit do not coexist.

“Balance” is more often than not an illustion, especially for someone who is wholly absorbed in a passion. Instead of striving for balance, then, the passionate person should stribe to be self-aware. Self-awareness … is the only force strong enough to counter passion’s overwhelming inertia.

The Passion Paradox, p. 163, Stulberg & Magness

It’s with this in mind that I’ve decided to put a passionate focus into self-awareness this year. Meditation and mindfulness training will be my biggest area of personal focus this year, because I’ve come to believe that this learning and growing is foundational for every other part of my life.

In January of 2019 I started a humble practice using Sam Harris’ meditation app – Waking Up. For the first half of the year I was doing a 10min guided meditation nearly daily, and for the last half I’ve been getting in a few sessions a week. Even with this minimal investment of time and attention, I’ve seen a remarkable change occur in my daily experience. I’m able to be less reactive, more calm, and generally more engaged with the present moment. More importantly, I am able to see that these changes are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s possible in meditation practice.

What does this mean for me, practically? For now, it means that I’m committing to daily meditations and studying meditation beyond what’s included in Waking Up.

I’ve started Jack Kornfield’s free guided meditation course, “Mindfulness Daily” and will continue that for the full 40 sessions.

I’ve started reading “The Craving Mind“, wherein (from the jacket) “Judson Brewer, M.D., Ph.D., a leading neuroscientist who has studied addictions for twenty years explores how bad habits are formed, why they are so tenacious, and how the practice of mindfulness can help us to conquer the most stubborn addictions and step into a new way of being.which covers using meditation practice to break addiction and bad habits.” So far it’s incredibly insightful.

Next on the shelf is D.E. Harding’s “On Having No Head.” After that is Jon Kabat-Zinn’s “Full Catastrophe Living.”

See what i just did there?

Undoubtedly, as i move forward in this pursuit my plans will shift and change, but I’m committed to making this year one of huge growth in self-awareness.

Leave a Comment