These past few days were really rich with personal inquiry into honesty. I dived deep into the subject to the point where it became quite suffocating. I was piercing my inner world, trying to get to the heart of my dishonesties. For three days straight I was spending way too much time on introspection and it made me feel very aware of my presence. I call it presence but due to the nature of the inquiry, confronting my own bullshit, the more suitable way to call it is self-pity. It got so narrow and introverted that at some point I felt it is becoming too much. As I wasn’t making any direct connections to the momentary experiences, I got pretty stuck and lonely inside facing all the unpleasant realisations. But the good news is that yesterday I got to the point where the narrowness of the space became so obvious that I had to take a step out and look for the bigger picture again.
Very often we get stuck on the details, focusing too much on procedures and execution. We tend to forget about why do we do what we do. What is driving these operations we are busy with. Like in my case, I was dissecting my mind trying to get a grip on the ares where I am deciding myself. But what is the point of it? Without looking at higher motivation, this unpleasant procedure won’t make any sense. But if I look at it through the prism of intrinsic motivation, which lays outside of my internal structure, then the process becomes meaningful. The purpose of this exercise is to get a better understanding of my own trustworthiness so I can be trustworthy for the people. Having it as a motivation adds sense to the suffering and makes it easier to bare. So it is essential to always keep an eye that your intrinsic motivations stay in the field of awareness. It is not easy to do though. Zooming out needs a time gap to step out and get an overview.
What helps me is to have in mind two concepts, two ways to engage with the world through individual experience. It is meditation and contemplation. There is an important distinction between the two. Meditation literally means to ‘move to the centre’, whereas contemplation means ‘to hold an idea in mind’. To meditate is to observe something in its naked state, whereas to contemplate that thing is to raise it up into meaning.
Meditation is our attention ‘scaling down’, and contemplation is our attention ‘scaling up’. When we scale-down, we deconstruct our experience; when we scale up, we assemble a larger vision from disparate parts. To be mindful is to do both simultaneously, to be more precise and detailed in our attention, but also to be able to grasp a greater territory of insight. Meditation deconstructs and narrows our attention, whereas contemplation constructs and widens it. It is essential that we get a sense of these two different modalities and actively use them. I am using meditation and contemplation merely as metaphors here, without relation to particular practices. Keeping the possibilities to use both perspectives serves me as a reminder. In the ideal scenario they become a reminder to shift. They don’t always work, but with a bit of practice it is a useful way to pull yourself out of the narrow space of self-entered analysis.
I am glad I managed to take a step back and contemplate on my dishonesty and see how can I apply this experience to the bigger picture. It feels like a new chapter is opening up.