Sunday, August 30, 2015

Intentionality Again: On Not Being Frivolous

Upon reading the next tenet, my first reaction was pretty much...

You see, this is something I've been struggling with lately as it is. 
Don't be frivolous.
Even the translation at made me wince a bit: "Don't be impulsive." Not to mention the way their brief explanation resonated:
"Acting on whatever pops into your mind prevents you from developing any stability or consistency."
Don't get me wrong. I'm not really that impulsive. I'm a grown up (for the most part), but the part of my brain that flitters about from topic to topic or activity to activity is still alive and strong. I struggle with spending too much time on social media (although I'm getting better), and I've got a small problem when it comes to buying books that I don't even have room for in my apartment. I can keep myself from acting on most things that pop into my mind, but not all. I am consciously and intentionally working towards living my life more intentionally and towards strengthening my willpower, but I know I have a long way to go... thus the sigh.

Frivolity is another thing altogether. I have toys in my office and watch cartoons regularly. I named my cats for comic book characters, after all. But these aren't necessarily bad things. Lief's piece was especially illuminating on this topic:
"It is tricky to work with frivolity. First, it is easy to confuse it with the kind of openness, light-heartedness and playful childlike mind that is cultivated by meditative practice. Frivolity can seem to be a virtue, but it isn't. Second, it is possible to overcorrect to counter frivolity with an overblown display of seriousness. But the mind/heart cultivated by mind training is neither stodgy nor frivolous. The idea is to avoid both these extremes."
Yes, that is right at the heart of my struggle lately. Her advice is almost always exactly what I need, and I think this time is another example of that:
"Do a little census of what you think about and how you spend your time. How do you distinguish between what [is] frivolous and what is worthwhile?"
Having good definitions is the first step towards feeling more intentional.

So that's what I'll be working on. Until next time, namaste and all that. 

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