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Give Me Strife and Suffering (but in manageable doses)

"Life is suffering," said Buddha. His plan? Release your attachments to this world and end your suffering.

I'm not with Buddha on this one. Give me strife and suffering. And once I have grown stronger, tempered, hardened by the strife, give me MORE.

Life is strife, suffering, struggle. Your body and mind are kept alive by a series of violent chemical reactions, your heartbeat, the acid in your stomach, the cells constantly breaking apart and dying as new ones are created, the battle towards homeostatis with different bacteria and cells combating each other, all inside your body.

Your mind - your thoughts - may come into conflict, especially when you're trying to do meaningful things. It's easy to feel the pull of distraction and ease, and to choke up and pause in fear when you look at the mountain you're set to climb. The mind is not in harmony, especially at the beginning. Struggle, strife, conflict, suffering.

I say - give it to me! But not so fast that it will break me. I must be pragmatic. We must be pragmatic. We have our limits. We can expand them over time. It's not brave to go into the gym for the first time and try to lift 400 pounds. It's foolhardy, unrealistic, stupid. Being pragmatic, aware of our limits takes its own sort of courage.

The Value of a Throwaway

On Tynan

I have this rule for myself that if I say I'm going to do something, even if it's only to myself, I do it. My overarching principle is to always to do the best I can, but sometimes my best is not very good. Maybe I've told myself I'm going to go to the gym, but I'm exhausted and have to rush my workout because of an appointment. I'll go, but it's not going to be good.

My thinking in doing these things is that absent of any other value, I want to train myself well. I know that I don't do great with gray areas or slippery slopes, so I avoid at all costs giving myself excuses to skip.

As I've committed to writing every single day, you can imagine that there have been throwaways from time to time. It will be right before I'm supposed to go to sleep, and all I want to do is splash down a big enough chunk of words to feel like I did my duty. This is especially tempting when I know I've got a backlog of a few good posts, so I won't need to rely on whatever I write.

Sometimes, though, these throwaways come out really well. Maybe it's random chance, maybe it's repetition, or maybe it's the unburdened context of writing a post that's just going to be thrown away anyway. Some of my favorite posts are those which I originally thought would be trashed. I'm getting the benefits of training my brain, but also high-quality output.

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