Morning Meditations #26: Everything’s a Journey

I get to be a good patient today. Back to the dentist’s office for something called a root stem, I think. Having it done before any cosmetics because I only have half a head of chewers right now, and the side that I do have isn’t in the best shape to, oh, say, eat. Excited to be drilled upon today.

So after a wonderful night of talking, studying, and writing I had time to sit and think after evening meditations. Some things started to pop into consciousness. I held off. This morning during a little forty minute yoga session, the thoughts returned. I am ready to confront something. One of my happiest conversations closed with, “It’s all about the journey, man.” I will officially refute this statement now.

This seems to have become a wastebasket mantra for the people. I am not going to get into any of the potential pathologies from believing it is all about your/the/our journey. Rather, I would like to address why the other parts of life that aren’t a journey, or were a journey, are just as important. May require me to break out a little of my research, but I’ll attempt to tone it down a notch.

According to Danial Kahneman’s research and work (please watch this if you have not: http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kahneman_the_riddle_of_experience_vs_memory?language=en), we have two selves which construct happiness and self image. These he has dubbed the “remembering self” and the “experiencing self.” The experiencing self, the one who is actually on any journey we take is a wonderful creature who should never be neglected. This is the self which I think the meme (this is the correct way to use this term for all of those who think it equals captioned pictures of cats dressed up like Gandalf) refers to for my point. The remembering self cannot be on an adventure. This self no longer exists from our personal perspectives, mathematically true, but we cannot access it from our present vantage.

If it is all about the journey, then why use memory at all. We should all just forget what we have done, who we have touched, loved, and fought. “But Rance, without the journey we wouldn’t have any of those memories.” True, but that doesn’t remove the fact that those journeys are over. They are no longer part of our future event lexicon. But according to Kahneman, these memories are half of us. That seems an awfully large part of who I am to believe that it is supposed to be all about the experiencing self—journey, man. I don’t want to neglect any part of myself. That is what got me into the position where I had to change my life, lose some relationships, and claw back to a point where I can move forward.

That seems like a lot of steps to get back to moving forward. Glad it is the way it is, but maybe there is a better way for future generations.

If we are to cherish journeys it will be good for us to decide and observe what good the journey is doing. Besides, do you really want to experience the journey into darkness and depression? I can tell you it isn’t a journey I liked, may have been necessary, but some people do not survive. That would not have been an awesome, cherishable journey for my daughter and family.

I propose that we change this idiom to “don’t forget the journey” or perhaps “the journey is today.” Something that doesn’t run the risk of making the journey a dead term. Robert Reich once said “’Globalization’ is one of those words to have gone from obscurity to meaninglessness without any intervening period of coherence.” Lets not let “the journey” fall prey to this phenomenon. If we don’t work to preserve its meaning we won’t be able to identify what the journey is, where it begins and ends, and what work it really does for us. This last point is very important to me.

In evolutionary theory it is often important to observe and consider what an expenditure of calories is really all about. Sometimes there are hidden reasons, or the caloric expenditures are not based on the fitness of an organism, but rather the fitness of a parasite or pathology.

IMG_0493The journey is ours, do not forget it, but at the same time, do not objectify it. Give it proper respect and then let it pass into memory. Preparing your mind and heart for the next great experience.

Something I love about myself is:

21. My feet. These things are huge by most standards. Size 14 seems to be just early enough in the ridiculously large and impossible to buy for range to make choices very limited in regard to style. It has always been something I identify myself by, and these feet have gotten me into some very interesting conversations about anatomical comparison accuracy.

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