Back to basics: Uncomplicate the self

Andersen Butterfly

Driven to get to the bottom of the highly sophisticated system of high frequency trading and find an answer to a seemingly simple question – what happened to the U.S. stock market? – Flash Boys from a recent bestseller by Michael Lewis inspire and remind us that it is possible to keep integrity, honesty, and passion in the unlikeliest of places – the Wall street.

The last chapters provide insight on the danger of large complex systems, big data, and desire to succeed at all costs. The companies that were able to exploit the market built these complex structures using top talent in order to manipulate the data, the market, and society at large.

Complexity and simplicity, sophistication and simplemindedness – we all possess these traits and tendencies within ourselves. A human being is a microcosm of all that is familiar and all that is mysterious, with an unending flow of information – physical and chemical processes, mental and emotional constructs, and an unrelenting desire to thrive almost at any cost.

My teacher Master Johwa says in his book: “You are so complicated because there is you, there is you who wants to become one with you, there is the true you, and there are others as well. You are so complex.” When I drift away from my true self far enough, I start struggling – my mood is down, I am having more negative thoughts, becoming more judgmental, stubborn, closed. I know what I need to do – meditate, but I try to manipulate myself into making excuses – I am so tired, I did such a great job today and I deserve the rest, I just want to relax. However, I have been doing it long enough to know that I am rigging my own system and no matter what I tell myself, I know the truth. One evening I was tired and I knew I had to do it, but I said – let me lie down for a little and then I will meditate. I asked myself out loud before drifting to sleep – Do you want enlightenment or do you want comfort? Loosing consciousness to sleep was my answer on that evening. Despair not, a next day comes with new opportunities and challenges.

With varying success I land myself on a meditation cushion at the end of the day and I sit quietly. I sit and I struggle. All the residues of the day come to me, emotions I did not want to attach to as long as I did – good or bad, thoughts I did not invite. After a while the chatter subsides, my breathing gets deeper, and the magic begins. I can’t explain precisely how and why it works, but it works every time. Some days are so good and deeply satisfying, especially when I experience the timeless time phenomenon and an hour of meditation feels like 15 minutes. But even on days when I am not able to go deep, I still notice the healing effects – shoulder and neck pain disappears, chest becomes open, and head is much clearer.

Unlike the ending in Flash Boys, I would like to close with hopeful suspense. I look forward to a day when this becomes effortless and I live as my true self every single moment. That day may be far or near, or it may not even come in this lifetime. Nevertheless, I am getting all these benefits anyway – becoming happier, joyful, loving, and peaceful.

What if every human being assumes a personal responsibility of coming back to basics, to the true harmony within?

“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” – Hans Christian Andersen

3 thoughts on “Back to basics: Uncomplicate the self

  1. What disturbs me about Flash Boys is that those programming the computers used in high frequency trading had little idea how the business strategists were (and are) using their code to “front run” the market. It’s a perfectly legal–albeit unethical–business practice that should make all of us question not only the structure of financial markets but also the ease with which our own contributions can be captured and used in ways we do not intend. Lewis’s book illustrates that there *are* ethical people in business, but it also poses the very troubling question, “Why aren’t there MORE ethical people in business?”

  2. Merely a smiling visitor here to share the adore , btw outstanding style. Audacity, more audacity and always audacity. by Georges Jacques Danton. deaggcbkafed

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