Newsletter Number Seventeen

Hazy memories of Osaka, why you need to be bored, and how to deal with your emotions

Links to this week’s articles:

-          Travel Diaries #18 – Osaka

-          Feel the Tension

-          Boredom

Hi all,

Thanks all again for reading and ‘hi’ to any new subscribers.

First up this week there’s the latest story/travel article about my trip around Japan. This time I’m in Japan’s second city, Osaka, which is a convenient train ride from its neighbour Kyoto. My memories of Osaka are much different to my memories of Kyoto. Different places definitely have their own innate character, which can be as distinct sometimes as the characters of individual people. Think of Paris compared to London compared to New York compared to… wherever the hell you’re from.

I wonder if these two cities, so close in distance but so far apart in terms of their own characters, had such a strong effect on me that my entire mode of being was affected was entirely different. Or, maybe my impressions of the places were coloured by the fact that I’d gotten tired, and lost. Or maybe I’d just read too much – about Kyoto in my youth, about Osaka in online travel guides and informational guides and such – and my own preconceptions wrote these articles before I’d even got there.

Read on here to find out: Travel Diaries #18 - Osaka

It’s been a while since my last newsletter so I’ve bundled together two more shorter articles which overlap in subject matter:

First, one on Boredom, and why we need to let ourselves be bored. Boredom is a sense of discomfort we feel when we do nothing, and the modern world at this stage exists as a series of plugs for every single possible source of discomfort we feel, and every occasion in which we might feel it. We fill our time now not with solitude, and the things it brings us – peace, contentment, creativity, connection with others – basically what used to exist as the space in which we fill ourselves, now we have a series of gadgets and snacks to fill our time anyway. And it is to our detriment, I believe.

The discomfort we feel when we’re bored often causes us to react, in an automatic way, as we would scratch an urgent itch. This is caused by emotions surging through our body. Emotions don’t have good or bad attachments – it’s us who give them that. One of the benefits of meditating is that you learn to recognise, observe and feel these surges of energy without reacting to them. It’s not the ‘point’ of meditation, but it is one of the side effects. To that end, you could look at meditation as practice being bored.

Read about it here: Feel the Tension

I’m going to add a couple of new things this week:

I’m going to starting including links to other sites, articles, videos, newsletters and books to my newsletters. Just as there’s so much stuff out there to learn from and enjoy that I’d like to share.

First, a video of S.N. Goenka, the founder of the worldwide Dhamma centres which teach Vipassana meditation. It will give you a bit of an overview of meditation, and might shed some light on what I’m talking when I talk about feeling emotions.

Also, a challenge:

Practice doing nothing. Not meditating, or mindfulness. Just do nothing for ten minutes. Or don’t even time it. Stand in the back garden, or somewhere in your house, and do nothing at all. Don’t think, don’t ‘meditate’, don’t ‘observe’.

Don’t rush back inside. Don’t check how long you’ve been standing or sitting there. Forget I even told you to do it.

Just do nothing.

You can put your hands in your pockets too if you want. Or don’t.

And let me know how you get on.

Thanks for reading, and let me know if any of this resonates with you as I always love hearing your comments, and will reply to any I get.

As they say on the weather: Bye for now,

Gav


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