At a conference about sustainable development, climate change and human rights that I attended a few weeks ago, one idea was shared in different forms by many speakers.
One said that “all wars start in our head“, another that “borders exist only in the human mind” and someone else said, “without peace at the individual level there can’t be peace in the world“.
It all starts within you.
Every change, every transformation.
The world that you want begins within you.
This unique superpower exists within you.
I’m writing this as a note to myself too.
Sometimes I got heated thinking and debating about things I’d like to change in the world, in my community, in others.
And I forget about the one thing I can always do; I can change myself.
“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Sometimes I get stuck and lost.
It may be because there are so many options and parameters that everything gets blur.
Or because no option seems the right one.
Sometimes I’m just overwhelmed, and I can’t think straight.
When I’m in that place, I remember this conversation between Alice and The Cheshire Cat.
When I have no idea where to go, it doesn’t much matter which way I go as long as I move.
Where do you look for inspiration?
In books, places, nature, peoples, objects or what else?
I met people who are capable of finding inspiration everywhere and in everything.
I remember once I was walking on a trail with a friend when he suddenly halted to take a picture. I couldn’t see anything different from what we had seen for the previous hour.
But he could.
And later on, when he sent me the picture, I saw it too.
We were in the same place, at the same time but his eyes saw something to which my eyes were blind.
According to the studies of the neuroscientist Manfred Zimmermann, our capacity for perceiving information is about 11 million bits per second. Zimmermann estimates that our conscious attention has a capacity of merely 40 bits per second. That means that every second, 99.9996% of the information that we sense, goes unnoticed.
We are all somehow blind to the infinite vastness of reality.
So, inspiration is everywhere.
What change is where do you choose to put your attention.
It is not about finding inspiration, it is about being inspired.
“A map is not the territory it represents.” — Alfred Korzybski
We love shapes and forms because they answer to our need for predictability. They create order and help us understand reality and make informed decisions. They can also be measured, so they allow us to gain clarity about where we stand. They defined boundaries.
However, we should always be aware that the shapes and forms that we used to interpret reality, are products of our mind.
Countries, religions, organisations, social norms.
They are all shapes and forms that we put on top of reality to make sense of it.
But they are not reality.
When we convince ourselves that those shapes and forms are the reality that they become cages, taming our human potential.
“Perception always intercedes between reality and ourselves.” — René Magritte
This is why art is vital.
Artists remind us to look beyond shapes and forms to see the infinite essence of everything.
“We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.” — JFK
Too often we underestimate the power of the small choices and actions we make and do every day. Most of our time in life is made of small acts, sometimes apparently insignificant. But, each one of them contributes to building your identity. And, most importantly, while you may not have control over the big events that happen in your life, you surely can choose how you want to show up every day.
I love how James Clear explains the power of the daily action in his book Atomic Habits.
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”
So, who are you voting for today?
This post is inspired by the Be The Change card I pick this morning; “How do I show up every day” and by the realisation that the writer within me reached 500 votes this morning.
All human beings are extraordinary.
Within each one of us, there is a universe of wonder, ready to expand if only we create enough space.
I just came back from a workshop with other 15 people.
They are what you may misjudge ordinary people. Like the ones that you meet every day when you go on with your life. The colleagues you see every day in the elevator, the parents waiting outside the school, the bankers, the plumbers, the guy driving the car in front of you and so on. Everyone trapped into a role, our universes compressed within the boundaries of the doing.
But once we created together a safe space in which each one felt safe to expand the being, the magic happened.
All these extraordinary universes, no more tamed by the boundaries we imposed on ourselves, flooded into the shared space. They fused together, and a new collective awareness emerged, one that embraces all perspectives and wisdom.
And when it was time to go home, a spark of that wonder was shining in the eyes of everyone.
All human beings are extraordinary, we need to create a safe space where this extraordinary potential can get out and shine.
Anytime you help others shine, the world gets a little brighter.
It’s a gorgeous morning here on the hills in the North East of Italy.
I’m sitting outside, writing this post on a bench surrounded only by the sounds of nature. I can’t say how many different animals are singing from the woods around this place. There are no other guests, and the people working on this farm haven’t arrived yet. So, I can savour every bit of this moment. The crispy breeze, the warming sun, the goat staring at me from her corner and the peacock walking around as if I’m just an accessory to his world.
I am the witness of a morning party celebrating the beauty of life. And out of the blue, this scene from the Peanuts appears in my mind.
Charlie: “Someday we’ll all die, Snoopy!”
Snoopy: “True, but on all the other days we will not.”
If you divide a number by infinite, no matter how big that number is, the result is always zero.
Yesterday I was talking with a friend about how easy it is to get trap into the desire of doing more, achieving more, having more.
It may be for fear of missing out (FOMO), or for the willingness to be in service. Or maybe is just that we love so much for what we do that we crave more of it.
The result is the same.
It’s just never enough.
It happens to me sometimes.
I got so focused on doing things that I forget to savor the moment.
Yesterday morning, while I was driving home, the sky was so clear that I was able to see the Dolomites in all their majestic beauty.
That view reminded me that life, even the longest one, is practically nothing compared to eternity.
This post is just a note to myself.
No matter how far and how fast I walk, the horizon will always be somewhere in the distance. But if I pause, breathe and lift my gaze, the horizon will come to me.
“Everything in Life is Vibration” – Albert Einstein
Yesterday I wrote about our natural frequency.
This morning in my meditation, this idea of vibrations came back to me. I remember reading on Rupert Spira book, The Nature of Consciousness that “The body appears in the mind as a series of sensations and perceptions, and the mind is a vibration of awareness. As such, the body is not something solid made out of matter but a condensation or localisation of and in awareness.”
If everything I experience – myself, others, the world – are different and unique modulations of the same awareness, then to hurt anyone or anything means to hurt myself.
I believe that when this awareness grows in us, then peace is the natural outcome. It is so simple, yet not easy.
To most of you, this thought may sound naive.
Though, I believe that only if we realize that we are one, a sustainable transformation will be possible.
“If we understand and feel that every animal, person and object is our very own self, we cannot go wrong. That is the experience of love.” — Rupert Spira
In the early 1990s, the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio and his wife Hanna where studying patients with brain lesions that were affecting their ability to feel emotions but not their reason capabilities. They observed that when emotions and feelings are impaired, we are unable to make decisions.
Anytime we need to make a choice, we all want to make the most reasonable and objective one. This is particularly true in working environments. We are often pushed to leave our emotions out and make rational choices. The incredible amount of data to which we have access at any moment should always allow us to make the right or at least a good decision.
But does it?
I remember when we had to choose our second flat to rent in London. We spent weeks browsing websites, talking with agencies and viewing options to find the perfect fit. In the end, we choose one that ticks all the boxes. We never really enjoyed that place. After one year we started looking again. Only this time we left more space to our feeling. We ended up with the most unexpected, and a bit fool choice, where we had our best time in London.
What would happen if, instead of ignoring them, we observe and become aware of our emotions and feeling?
“It is emotion that allows you to mark things as good, bad, or indifferent.” — Antonio Damasio