The Notes app on my iPhone essentially functions as my journal. I write in Notes almost every day, and the following is a collection of what I’ve found to be among the most valuable notes I’ve taken over the years.
Note on Notes: most of these are my own thoughts, ideas, conceptualizations, etc., many of which are inspired by reading and listening to others. Some of these are direct concepts from other people that I’ve re-worded, re-conceptualized, or expanded, and I will do my very best to credit sources where appropriate. Others are direct quotes, and I will note their sources.
– Be your best, not the best.
– It is amazing how life just goes on. Sometimes this fact hurts. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable or weird or distressing. But most of the time this fact is awesome. All those little stresses just vanish in time, and that’s a blessing… that is the value of impermanence.
– HUGE point of relationship advice: What’s good for your partner is good for you, almost always, especially in time. That is, if you genuinely give your partner what they’re needing (particularly the relatively “little things”), with the genuine intention of wanting to meet their needs so they’ll be happy, even if you don’t agree with the need or understand the reasoning, or if it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable to accommodate, you must realize that if your partner’s needs remain unmet and they continue to feel unseen and unvalued, your resistance to the accommodation will ultimately bring you down. A partnership is a unit – you are in a very real sense one being – and if one partner is unhappy, the unit will be unhappy, at least eventually to some degree. If you do the little things that keep your partner happy, even if they’re totally against your grain, the unit will be happier amd you will be happier. If you insist on being right all the time, and if you insist on not doing little tasks because they’re not fair to you, you will in some way reap the unhappiness or discomfort of your partner.
– Chaos, Rigidity, and Integration (concepts adapted from Daniel J. Siegel):
— Chaos and rigidity can help explain (almost) every single mental-behavioral health affliction. Chaos and rigidity, as the ‘extreme zones’ perhaps best characterized as hypo-order [of mind & behavior] or hyper-order [of mind & behavior], are the causes AND/OR the effects of almost mental-behavioral health afflictions.
— Chaos and rigidity are both products of a deficiency in self-organization. Almost all mental-emotional-behavioral problems occur have roots in self-organizational dysfunction.
— Integration is the balance zone between chaos and rigidity. Integration is rooted in self-organizational activity, both mental and behavioral. Self-organizational activity helps establish self-awareness and primes activation of self-regulation.
— For understanding the concept of Integration as it functionally pertains to well-being: essentially all studies show that happy, healthy people have integration within the brain (interconnectivity among brain parts/regions) and have integration between and among others and environments. All “mental health” disorders show varying degrees and varying forms of chaos or rigidity in the brain and/or between the self and external relationships to people, processes, objects, and environments. So practically, this broadly means that the more you can optimize self-organization within the brain (while using the brain, i.e. interoception), and the more you can optimize self-organization in external experience, the more healthy your mind will be. And this “self-organization” involves the process of ‘differentiating and linking’ which establishes and sustains Integration, or ‘the optimal balanced state for genuine well-being’.
— Self-organizational activity, and a subsequent state of Integration, involves the continuous application of Discernment. The process of Discernment involves recognizing thoughts and emotions that are insignificant and fleeting vs those that are significant and lasting; it involves identifying healthful vs. non-healthful behaviors; and it involves distinguishing between what we can and can’t control [or rather between what elements are actionable or un-actionable)
— Rigidity is like a state of “stuckness” in life. Chaos is like state of constant disorder — too many real and perceived complications. Order (or the zone/range of order) is the optimal center in which a harmonious state of Integration is both a cause and effect of an ordered mind and ordered behavior. (This is basically a semi-formal description of ‘life balance’ and how to attain and sustain well-being thru balance. [Although ‘harmony’ may be a more comparable word for the concept Integration.]) The notion of Flow is conceptually very similar to Integration, just with different terms: Boredom – Flow – Overwhelm, as it pertains to our capabilities and our actions == Rigidity – Integration – Chaos, as it pertains to order or disorder of mind and behavior.
–(Siegel) A Healthy Mind = One that is (regularly) optimizing self-organization; One that creates Integration both within and between [informational processes and experience] (both internally and externally). The point of defining “the mind” is the first step in determining what constitutes “a healthy mind”.
— (Siegel): Basic spirituality could be defined as consisting only of 1) Establishing meaning, and 2) Connection to the life experience. (Or: Connection + Meaning). [Further: to be spiritual can simply entail examining meaning, both experientially on the micro/self plane and existentially on the macro/universal plane, and then consciously connecting the self to the universe or to existence, and consciously making this connection more genuine and deeper and/or clearer.] Perhaps spirituality, when defined in this manner, could also be thought of as the perpetual process of intentional truth-seeking (despite consciously understanding that everything cannot be known), while attempting to actively connect our conscious experience to the realm of ‘not-knowing’, by which our connection is sustained via engagement and acceptance of the unknown conditions of existence.
– Think of personal ‘power’ not in terms of dominance, as in having power means having the ability to dominate other people or your experience. Instead, think of power more as EFFICACY: “the ability to produce a desired or intended result.” Being powerful or empowered in this sense, as in being efficacious and effective, is a good and healthy quality. Do what empowers you. Do what gives you more control over yourself and allows you to positively influence your own conditions.
– Sense your body. Just briefly stop and sense its presence, multiple times a day. Body sensing increases awareness and relaxation. Be with your body.
– Quality of life is largely determined by how well we can direct our attention. With so much information and so many resources at this point in human existence vying for our attention, we must make a consistent effort and learn to consciously direct, shift, and focus our attention. Attention management is paramount for productivity & happiness. Managing attention is key – maybe the key – for sustaining balanced/harmonious state of Integration or Flow.
– Avoid hyper-commitment in your intellectual pursuits, and avoid any form of dogmatism in your believing and sharing.
– Think wisely, and do what is wise. Ask yourself if your line of thinking and your course of action would be considered wise by a wise court. Then proceed accordingly.
– Be as efficient as possible, up to the point of stress. Efficiency is never worth chronic stress.
– If you feel yourself forcing something then you’re going about it wrong.
– Always try to catch yourself forcing things. If you catch yourself forcing something – an issue, a point, an action – you must pause and remind yourself that force is rarely necessary, that there must be a reason why you’re forcing it… that there’s probably something else that should be addressed first so that you don’t feel the urge to force. Upon catching yourself forcing something, you must scale back your emotion and your physicality, examine your intention, and then determine what aspects of the situation you can influence without force.
– If you’ve ever ‘wanted’ to believe something, ask yourself where that desire comes from. Hint: it’s not the desire simply to believe what’s true.