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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Majesty of Mindfulness
March 11, 2016
Hot Springs, VA
“What if you could be more than you ever thought you could be? To be better than you thought you could be? Would you do it?”
- Paul Rosenberg, A Lodging of Wayfaring Men
The S&P closed out Thursday at $1,989. Gold closed at $1,273 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $37.84 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.93%. Bitcoin is trading around $4212 per BTC today.
The 2016 presidential election cycle is now in full-force here in the United States. The yard signs are out, the politicians are demagoguing, the talking heads are raving, and the neighbors are arguing.
"We need a socialist in office!", some say. "We need to stick it to the Chinese!", say others. "We need a knowledgeable leader who can get things done!", others chime in. "We need more irish creme in my coffee!", says I.
In my view, politics is a distraction for individuals at the micro level and the bane of human civilization at the macro level. Politics runs on fear, anger, hatred, envy, and intolerance - the emotions that bring out the absolute worst in people.
Though I pay no attention to the media coverage, I am quite sure this presidential election has been dubbed "the most important ever". As was 2012... and 2008... and 1912... and 1824... and 1789. We are always just one election away from Utopia.
So I am dipping into this archives today in honor of this most important election cycle. What follows is an essay I wrote nearly two years ago as I contemplated the world from the perspective of a soon-to-be father. This essay ran on Zero Hedge at the time so it is a little longer than my normal entries - sorry Rachel!
Mindfulness is a rare quality in our world today. There is little need for Mindfulness within the halls of the great and mighty institutions of society. There is little time for Mindfulness within modernity due to the demands of the rat-race, the allure of consumerism, and the overload of electronic stimuli. There is outright disdain for Mindfulness from the ruling class sitting atop the collectivist pyramid.
Yet Providence smiles favorably upon the Mindful.
Mindfulness is neither flashy nor fashionable and its power is not of worldly nature. Mindfulness does not presume superiority and it does not seek recognition. Mindfulness seeks only harmony – harmony of body, mind, and spirit.
Mindfulness is careful, but not timid. Mindfulness is confident, but not arrogant; strong, but not domineering.
The one who is Mindful understands the power of consent and thus does not consent to anything that disrupts the harmony of Mindfulness. The power of consent is derived from the fact that one’s reality is ultimately a construct of one’s choices. The Mindful one recognizes that he has dominion over his thoughts, emotions, and actions. Reality is merely an intersection of the three.
Because he is aware of the power of consent, the one who is Mindful chooses everything; he is not swayed by external forces. The one who is Mindful takes great measures to avoid all manner of toxins that would serve to disrupt his harmony. He avoids toxic food, toxic drugs, toxic thoughts, toxic words, toxic schools, toxic music, toxic television programming, toxic news, toxic people, and toxic politics.
The one who is Mindful embraces self-education, self-reliance, and self-governance and he rejects those who would seek authority over him. The Mindful one recognizes the hubris and the ignorance of those who claim worldly authority over others. He knows what they do not – that this life is not a trivial event in search of fame, fortune, and power. Nay, this life is an interconnected part of the very fabric of the Universe through which the human spirit has an opportunity to grow in transcendent wisdom. It is an opportunity to observe a very small section of Space-time within this massive Universe.
Those who seek power and dominion over Mindfulness are the same ones who seek power and dominion over the human spirit. They claim authority over the Mindful one and seek to govern every aspect of his life. They ultimately seek to convert the Mindful one’s infinite potential into blind servitude.
Look back through history and you can see that they who seek power over humanity have been at it for a very long time. The dominion-seekers are responsible for all of the wars that have raged since the dawn of human civilization, for the institution of overt slavery that existed for most of human history, and for the modern institution of covert slavery that is perpetuated by central banking and fiat currency. It is they who murdered the most enlightened of the Mindful throughout history, from Socrates to Gandhi, and even the one called Christ. The power seekers revel in fear and servitude and they cannot tolerate individuals who practice the art of Mindfulness.
Despite this, Mindfulness remains calm and centered. Mindfulness understands that worldly power is irrelevant in the bigger scheme of the eternal Cosmos. Mindfulness recognizes that external worldly conflict is but a reflection of the battle that rages within each sovereign individual. It is the inner battle that matters, for the external conflict will fade from existence once inner peace is achieved. Mindfulness quietly focuses on winning this inner battle without any need of praise or recognition.
To the worldly onlooker, Mindfulness appears weak, callous, and cold. Mindfulness offers no refute or explanation to these charges, but the Mindful one is fully aware of the strength that flows within and the flame of love that burns at the core. The Mindful one understands that the same flame burning eternally within him also burns eternally in others. Mindfulness knows that all of life is interconnected; that each individual is nothing less than an eternal spirit of humanity manifesting in a gloriously unique way.
The Mindful one recognizes that there is no ‘left’ or ‘right’; there is only Liberty or Tyranny.
Liberty leaves the individual free to wander in whatever direction calls out to his spirit. Liberty recognizes the individual’s right to discover and cultivate his passion, whatever that may be. Liberty respects the sacredness of human life and presumes no superiority over the human spirit. Liberty leaves the individual free to discover his destiny and ascend to a higher state of being.
Tyranny sets forth to funnel the individual into worldly systems of control, and to regulate all manner of individual activity. Tyranny sees the individual and presumes to know what’s best for him. Tyranny looks upon the infinite human spirit with disdain and seeks to cage and dominate it. Tyranny attempts to inundate and distract individuals with all manner of worldly fear, power, and entertainment so as to disconnect the individual from the spirit. Tyranny places all individuals into collective groups, labels them accordingly, and then proclaims that individuals are meaningless outside of the collective. Individuals who fall for this deceit then see themselves as part of a group and they see other groups as their enemy.
Mindfulness cuts through Tyranny like a fiery blade and the Mindful one sees right through these distractions and deceits. Mindfulness knows that Liberty is required for harmonious human interaction. Mindfulness maintains amor fati - a love of fate.
This is why Tyranny holds an eternal hatred for Mindfulness: it cannot exist where Mindfulness is present. Tyranny understands it actually has no power; it must be chosen by individuals. Thus Tyranny must convince individuals of its ability to deliver a better future. History shows that Tyranny is fairly adept at selling this illusion, at least until Mindfulness rises in opposition. History also shows that Tyranny is never capable of delivering the better future as promised. Instead, Tyranny disrupts the lives and plans of countless individuals, families, and friends – always for its own benefit and not theirs. Tyranny disrupted or ended the lives and plans of billions of individuals in the twentieth century alone.
Tyranny, for the life of itself, cannot understand the Mindful one. Despite being in touch with his tremendous individual power, the Mindful one does not use this power against others. Nor is the Mindful one ever interested in negotiating with Tyranny; he simply refuses to stray from his chosen path. Tyranny is befuddled when the Mindful one refuses all manner of bribes, deals, and kickbacks. Tyranny is frustrated when the Mindful one is not deterred by slander and ridicule and it is enraged when the Mindful one does not respond to intimidation and threats of force.
Through it all the Mindful one stands tall, confident in the validity of his principles. Tyranny has learned there is very little it can do to deter the Mindful one other than kill him. But the eternal spirit of Mindfulness can never die.
Tyranny comes in different sizes, shapes, and colors and these different forms often compete with one another in the political arena. Politics is simply the art of Tyranny, and a clever one at that. Many an individual has strayed from the Mindful path for the allure of politics; often with good intentions.
Mindfulness understands, however, there are no political solutions to political problems. Political solutions always begin with “we must” or “you must” but this is a dead-end road. “We must” and “you must” are unsustainable because they are not grounded in Mindfulness; they are grounded instead in some combination of self-interest, short-sightedness, ignorance, fear, and/or exploitation.
All true solutions must stem from “I must” first. That solution is then amplified if multiple “I musts” come together in harmony. This is the network effect. But the inspiration has to come from within first – from the “I must”.
The Majesty of Mindfulness is the solution to the major problems of our time. Mindfulness is simply a choice and anyone can choose to put on its mantle. Mindfulness cannot be forced upon others, however, as free will is a vital part of the Universal code. Thus, Mindfulness is latent within each individual seeking to unlock its power for himself.
The first step to awakening the Mindfulness within is an honest assessment of the System.
We are told at a very early age that the key to success in this life is to master the System’s power game. We are herded into schools to pledge allegiance to the System and learn how to play by its rules. We then mindlessly rush off to college to further our education on how to succeed inside the System. From there we either take our place within the rat-race, or we pursue an advanced degree from an accredited university. The advanced degree, we are told, is the key to unlocking and gaining entry to the higher tiers of the System. Similarly, each corporate job is a platform to prove our ability to operate within the System so we can get raises, bonuses, and then move up to the next rank within the System. And there is always a higher rank in the System.
This is not the Mindful path.
There is nothing inherently wrong with pursuing this path within the System, but it is much more likely to lead to stress, confusion, short-sightedness, small-mindedness, physical exhaustion, mental atrophy, family problems, and depression than it is to enlightenment. I know this from first-hand experience.
Now there are certainly those who have achieved self-defined success and happiness from within the System. There are plenty of people who have used the System to provide a quality life for themselves and their families. But past experiences are not indicative of future results and the System is becoming more and more fragile by the day as the Information Age continues to disrupt the established industrial order.
The System was easy to support in its adolescence as there was ample room for growth to mask the ill-effects of exponentially expanding credit-based money. The hockey-stick graph of credit expansion has now eclipsed the rate of economic growth, however, and the System is teetering as a result. The owners of the System must now resort to iron-fisted measures to keep it from tipping. If you follow the System’s predefined path, your every move will be subject to restrictions, licenses, regulations, taxes, and prohibitions. This is not a formula for success, and it is certainly no way for a sovereign individual to live.
An honest assessment of the System will likely lead you to conclude that you would be better served by exiting it, but you will probably be unable to immediately make your get away. Unless you have a tremendous amount of resources at your disposal, you will have to distance yourself from the System one step at a time. This is not easy for someone who has spent their entire life doing the “right” things – getting an education, working hard, and saving some money for retirement. It is very difficult to accept the fact that the System has been structured to plunder the honest people who follow the predefined path and it is normal for this realization to lead to depression or anger, or both.
But Mindfulness cannot coexist with depression or anger. The next step to awakening Mindfulness is to learn to be calm and accept the worldly injustices for what they are – an opportunity for growth. Liberty and Tyranny swing on a pendulum. As do Justice and Injustice. One or the other is inescapably present at all times in all places. There is a fundamental balance that seems to exist in the Universe which suggests that opposite and contrary forces are always interconnected. In order to know one you must also know the other. This is expressed as the yin and yang principle in Eastern philosophy.
The System currently represents Tyranny and Injustice but it is becoming extremely fragile and one day the pendulum will swing back towards Liberty. And later the pendulum will reverse course once again. There is nothing we can do to change this process at the macro level. All we can do is learn how to move away from the System and become a positive force in our local reality - our families, friends, communities, businesses, associations, and online networks.
The Mindful one does not seek to change the world; he seeks to change himself. The end goal is admirable, but it is the journey that is most important. The obstacle is the path.
Opportunities for earning income outside of the corporate cubicle arise as Mindfulness grows. This income is still subject to the regulations and taxation of the System, but some of it can be legally sheltered before the System gets to it. One must develop these meaningful sources of income in order to move away from the System. Yes this means paying taxes that the System will use against you. Yes this means accepting dishonest fiat currency that is used to transfer wealth from the outsiders to the owners of the System. But what other options are there currently? It is difficult to grow in Mindfulness if one’s life is a constant struggle just for sustenance.
As your non-wage income grows you will need Mindful strategies for protecting and investing your money. The System suggests you trust government approved retirement plans and government licensed mutual fund managers to handle your asset management needs. Those moving away from the System prefer some combination of a more diversified approach: gold in the attic to hedge against currency collapse, specially structured high-cash-value life insurance to hedge against future bail-ins and wealth taxes, domestic real estate, farm land and other locally-controlled hard assets that cannot be inflated away, offshore real estate to hedge against domestic political risk, a decentralized Bitcoin wallet to participate in the peer-to-peer renaissance, and/or a contrarian approach to the stock market based upon investment analysis from the perspective of Austrian Economics. And of course it is prudent to keep a little cash on the sidelines for the times when assets are dramatically oversold due to herd-mentality investors rushing for the exits.
Mindful investments are not based on greed or on the hopes of future luxury; they are made to sustain individual freedom and build human civilization. Mindful investing is not about making money; it is about converting money into income streams and hard assets so as to be free from the need to work as a wage slave for basic necessities. The specifics differ with each individual but the idea is the same: to blend Mindfulness with practical self-reliance so as to strengthen the synergy between body, mind, and spirit. This approach enables you to get rid of ‘life pockets’ and adopt a more holistic approach to living – instead of having a ‘work life’, ‘social life’, and ‘family life’ you just have ‘life’.
The Mindful path is steep and rugged with lots of twists, turns, and forks. Rumor has it the path also has no defined end. But those who choose to walk the Mindful path find that their problems seem to fade from relevance with each additional step taken. So they trod on, confident in the validity of their journey and respectful of the eccentricity of the Universal code.
Where does the Mindful path lead... Who knows?
Such is the Majesty of Mindfulness.
More to come,
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