Tag Archives: Philosophy

It Will Change My Life

27 Sep

“You don’t try to build a wall. You don’t set out and say ‘I’m gonna build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that has ever been built’. You don’t start there. You say ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid’. You do that every single day, and soon you have a wall.”

This week, I watched a video that blew my mind. Posted by Marcella Purnama in a post about wisdom, this video will probably change my life.

I would like to share it with you.

Destined Coincidences

3 Feb

I personally believe that there are no coincidences. Having observed that most of the coincidences that have occurred in my life have been either life-changing or of a significant importance, I have concluded that there is no such thing as ‘accidental’. A coincidence is one of two things: a sign or destiny.

A coincidence is defined as “an event that might have been arranged although it was really accidental”, or “a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance”, or even “when something uncanny, accidental and unexpected happens”. I have had some pretty weird coincidences in life: bumping into someone I know from London in a café on the other side of the world; meeting a future friend due to a decision based on flipping a coin; and most recently – being quoted on a website next to my favourite author.

This last one happened today. I searched my name on Google and found a page where a paragraph of an article that I’d written had been copied and pasted next to my favourite author’s quotes on the same topic. I had never heard of the website before and have no idea how they found and, most importantly, why they chose my work. But there it was – my words alongside those of an author who I have loved since the age of fifteen. I laughed out loud in sheer disbelief.

Although everything is obviously coincidental, ‘chance’ and ‘accidental’ somehow don’t describe this situation. My work was taken by strangers and posted on a website about a country to which I am soon moving. It happened to fit into a section about which a famous author had something to say. And not only is this a famous author, it is one of my favourite authors…who also happens to write about philosophy and spirituality.

At first, I did what we usually do when things like this happen: I laughed, said “What on earth?!” , and then got on with my day. Only a while later it hit me: this is a destined coincidence. Weird and wonderful things like this don’t happen for no reason! Calling this ‘mere chance’ would be a lame excuse to cover a lack of faith. A lack of faith in the extraordinary.

Many people don’t listen to intuition, or believe in signs or natural healing, because ‘there is no proof for it’. Nowadays, we need a contract, a bill, a letter, a statement, a signature or a certificate to believe in the validity or legitimacy of something. When we say “I trusted this man, because he is a lawyer” people nod in agreement. If we say “I trusted this man, because he had kind eyes” people take us for a lunatic. Yet we have forgotten that our intuition, the natural world and all the signs around us are stronger and more ‘valid’ than any contract or theory could ever be.

We do not need ‘proof’ to know that we love someone – we just know it. We do not need proof to think that it will rain in the afternoon – we just feel it. We do not need proof to sense that someone is looking at us – we just sense it.

In the same way, we do not need proof to know that a ‘coincidence’ is actually a sign. The only thing left for us to do is to allow ourselves to believe in it, and to follow this sign to wherever it may be pointing.

Surf Sea Sunset Beach

The Art of the Essential

13 Jan

“Are you rich?”
“I have everything. I no longer even have possessions.”
~ Malcolm de Chazal

A few months ago, I met a guy in Paris whose only possessions were the ones he could fit into his rucksack. Ever since reading L’Art de l’Essentiel (The Art of the Essential) by Dominique Loreau, I have been trying to achieve a similar sort of thing.

In her book, Loreau outlines the Feng Shui principles of space clearing that bring peace into our lives. Excess or unnecessary possessions can have a negative effect on our energy, slowing us down, making us depressed or lethargic, and eventually making our possessions become the owners of our lives.

Just before the new year, I managed to clear my shed of eleven years’ worth of junk. Clothes, books, films, music, jewellery, stationery, a bike (that I rode once, six years ago), roller blades, a tent (that I borrowed from someone five years ago), and other similar things. Friends came and took what they liked, and the rest went to charity. I followed Dominique Loreau’s basic principle: if you don’t need it or you don’t love it, let it go. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t experience any remarkable feelings of loss or regret when I parted with these things.

It was a different thing, however, when I started going through my university folders. Ninety-five percent of four years of work went into the recycling bin. Four years’ worth of lectures, homework, assignments, essays, notes, photocopies and research proved to no longer be of any worth to me. When I’d finished my first round of recycling I sat back in horror… “What was my education for if only months after finishing it, I am already throwing it away?!”. I remembered my endless battles with philosophy (one of my BA subjects) and how I thought about giving it up a few months into my first term at uni. But I didn’t, because I thought it would be ‘good for me’ in the long-run.

Sitting amongst all the philosophy papers that I was about to trash, I decided then and there never to do anything with the hope that it will be ‘good for’ or ‘useful to’ my future self. I realised that we can never guess what we will want or need in the future, so the best we can do is to make the most of the present – that way, our best possible future will unfold naturally. If we hold on to objects that we don’t use now, we ruin our present by being tied to things that have no relevance to the life we would actually like to lead. If we spend our time doing things we don’t enjoy, believing that they will be ‘useful’ for our future selves, we will end up losing opportunities to do the things we genuinely love.

Living with only the essential brings freedom and peace to our lives. We are defined by who we are and what we do, rather than by what we own. When we learn to effortlessly let go of material things, we find it easier to let go of situations, places and people.  Happiness does not lie in the things we own, but in the things we give.

 On the same topic: Art of the Essential Part IIArt of the Essential Part III