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Looking at your life from the outside

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

So I’ve been doing this for a little while, and I’ve found it interesting. Look at your own life as if you were an invisible observer looking at your body doing its things. Observe yourself shopping, walking, drinking coffee, talking to people. Imagine following yourself for a month. Just categorise all the things you actually do.

Are you satisfied with the way you are living your life? This exercise is intended to separate you from everything that’s going on in your head, all the things you think to yourself in those internal conversations.

I’ve found that my life is actually terribly ordinary, and that most of the things that come out of it are not very different from what happens in the lives of hundreds and thousands of other people. Most of my life is internal, lived on the plane of feeling.

adamcrossleyAlex

Comments

  • genkakugenkaku Veteran Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    No disrespect intended towards the topic, but the first thing into my head after reading it was the old silly:

    I love myself
    I think I'm grand.
    I go to the movies
    And hold my hand.
    I put my arm around my waist
    And when I'm fresh,
    I slap my face.

    On a more serious note, maybe "ordinary" is pretty "extraordinary."

    FoibleFull
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I distinctly remember when I was much younger - still at school - being with a group of friends, and observing a discussion taking place, being struck by the questioning thought, why had I been born as I had, a girl in a family of split heritages, one in Great Britain, the other in Italy... why could I speak 3 languages? I meant, why me...? I felt with absolute certainty that I had somehow inherited this position, though I could not for the life of me comprehend why... The question laid unanswered, in a small, dark corner cabinet, in the deep recesses of my mind.
    I still pull open the drawer and consider the question yet...
    So much time has passed since then, I really should have aired the question more often, pulled it out, dusted it off, and considered more deeply.
    Maybe, had I done so, my life might have taken different curves....
    Too late now, to address the haywire path I took, but time yet, to ensure a better voyage ahead, to goodness-knows-where...

    Bunks
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Looking at your life from the outside

    Hmm as karmic patterns unfold...

    I'm just a vibrating bundle of energy flux coming together by karmic glue, and what I'm doing now is just past karma working through :)

  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Gentle Man Veteran

    Um, seems to me part of what Kerome is talking about is using mindfulness.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    ...Plus detachment....

    lobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited July 17

    My initial reaction as a lifelong daydreamer who likes living within my mind, I find much of my life satisfaction as a result of my internal world rather than what I accomplish in the outer world. Also, I'm not sure that that sort of practice doesn't lead to being more self conscious and concerned about living a life that others may approve of rather than living a genuine sort of life.

    There could be something there, idk. I guess I'm pretty happy in my boring, repetitive life in part because I don't judge myself by others conceptions of what it means to have a good life. Occasionally people want to know why I don't find a good woman and get married or why I have a low status physical job below my intellectual capacity and it makes me uncomfortable and less happy to have those sorts of expectations and judgement directed my way.

    And yet, a part of me does feel that I could be doing more with my life, that I'm not living up to my potential.

    Keromefederica
  • KundoKundo Veteran Sydney, Australia Veteran

    Looking at my life in that way shows me that I'm still in samsara and no doubt will be for lifetimes to come. Kinda questioning the point really.

    Shoshin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    So am I probably. But as a famous author once pointed out, in quite a direct and poignant way, by establishing our own meaning and purpose, we can find the stability and peace we might be seeking, through acceptance, and the determination to make it count. No matter how many times we may have to do it (the Jury's out on that one!) do it with a light heart and a serene attitude. Perhaps this IS the only chance we get, so we might as well hit the high note...!

    lobsterperson
  • adamcrossleyadamcrossley Veteran Veteran

    Well @person you’re appreciated here just as you are. And I can sympathise with your situation, as I’m also in work that’s “below my intellectual capacity”, but for me it’s about the quality of life rather than the pay grade. Keep on keeping on :)

    person
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited July 17

    @person said:... I guess I'm pretty happy in my boring, repetitive life in part because I don't judge myself by others conceptions of what it means to have a good life. Occasionally people want to know why ... I have a low status physical job below my intellectual capacity and it makes me uncomfortable and less happy to have those sorts of expectations and judgement directed my way.

    And yet, a part of me does feel that I could be doing more with my life, that I'm not living up to my potential.

    Bold: QFT. Without wishing to brag, I too could be said to living a job below my status, yet I feel totally at ease and quite happy in it. My mother only just the other day, questioned my contentment and fulfilment, and job satisfaction...I think my placid insistence that I was just fine, confused her and made her wonder....

    But is there more to life than 'this'? I think it's too late to explore that option, I just have to try to ensure as best I can that, if I live into a ripe old age, I do at least have a modicum of comfort, serenity and contentment... And in the end, isn't that all any of us really want?

  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Veteran Canada Veteran

    This may be just a difference in semantics, but I think that looking at life from the outside creates disunity from yourself. A mental-emotional imbalance that can lead to serious results.
    And that what we need is MORE unity WITHOUT being pushed by it .. and more unity with others. I am struggling to find the words, and cannot .. and I may be misunderstanding what you are to say, but the feeling to look for is not stepping outside of yourself, but rather staying within yet expanding the boundaries to include that which is beyond ourselves. And then - when it comes to our emotions, thoughts, attachments and aversions ... just accepting and relaxing, rather then being swept up by them.
    We exist in the moment.

    “Everything is always changing. If you relax into this truth, that is Enlightenment. If you resist, this is samsara (suffering).”
    Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, “What Makes You (Not) a Buddhist”

    Shoshinpersonlobster
  • KundoKundo Veteran Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @FoibleFull said:
    This may be just a difference in semantics, but I think that looking at life from the outside creates disunity from yourself. A mental-emotional imbalance that can lead to serious results.

    Agree. To me, contemplating my navel is boring AF and does nothing helpful for me. So I refrain from doing it now. When I did do a lot of it, I found myself really miserable and lacking any desire to do more with my life.

    “Everything is always changing. If you relax into this truth, that is Enlightenment. If you resist, this is samsara (suffering).”
    Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, “What Makes You (Not) a Buddhist”

    Great book :+1:

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I don't think the kind of observation @Kerome is discussing has anything to do with introspective contemplation.
    Rather, I think he means the practice which has been mentioned or discussed before, of observing our lives as if we were watching a film... from a detached, evaluative point of view... It's got nothing to do with 'navel-gazing' and everything to do with recognising that almost everything we do, is laden with pointless trivia...

    It's interesting to be able to 'step back' from a situation as it is happening and observe the dynamics, the rationale, the thought-processed actions and reactions - and question our motivation, our agenda, our contribution, and thereby be able to see that, in the end, it's all 'small stuff'...

    AlexKeromeperson
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Very subtle differences ...
    Mindfulness encompasses detachment. Awareness without duality (observed and observing).

    We are not seeing ourselves in a reflecting but being the reflection not the mirror image.

    Shoshin
  • KundoKundo Veteran Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I’ve found that my life is actually terribly ordinary, and that most of the things that come out of it are not very different from what happens in the lives of hundreds and thousands of other people.

    Be grateful for that.

    personlobsterShoshinadamcrossley
  • LionduckLionduck Veteran Veteran

    =) :p B)
    any questions, just take a number..

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I’ve found that my life is actually terribly ordinary,

    Life is never ordinary .....it's extraordinary......if one knows how to look :) ..



    Never a dull moment :)

    adamcrossley
  • Lee82Lee82 Veteran Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    terribly ordinary

    Is it terrible? To be ordinary? What would you rather be?

    Kundolobster
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Wonderfully extraordinary - like meeeee!!

    image

    (I said that out loud, didn't I....?)

  • KundoKundo Veteran Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @federica said:
    Wonderfully extraordinary - like meeeee!!

    image

    (I said that out loud, didn't I....?)

    "Special"? runs away

    federica
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    It’s very interesting, if you keep this mindfully looking at things from the outside attitude when acting spontaneously or in a heated discussion, or when passion moves you. You may find yourself talking with flair you don’t usually possess, and you may find that these words coming from deep inside bypass the usual Buddhist filters on your mind.

    Passion can be intoxication, it can make you leave the bounds of truth, love and good sense. That you think afterwards, that was spoken with flair but it was almost a lie. Being deeply honest requires a strong commitment and a passion for it. But looking at passion from the outside, knowing what is going on on the inside, may make you aware of some new parts to your character.

    person
  • DhammikaDhammika Veteran Veteran

    I have spent too many years trying to be extraordinary in my work (for various therapy-worthy reasons) when the ordinary was quite enough—and a lot less neurotic and stressful. These days, I try to refocus on the task at hand. So right now, my life’s work in this moment is feeding the cat.

    Keromeadamcrossley
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    The cat believes you finally have your priorities right. What took you so long - ?!

    Dhammika
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Dhammika said:
    I have spent too many years trying to be extraordinary in my work (for various therapy-worthy reasons) when the ordinary was quite enough—and a lot less neurotic and stressful. These days, I try to refocus on the task at hand.

    I know that one, it is easy to get dragged along by what one perceives to be necessary. But often being natural is a lot better for you.

    Dhammika
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