What's Important to You? ​

Are you so confused of who you are, what you need to do?

You often wear yourself out by doing meaningless works?

Figuring out what’s important to you is one of the most essential things before practicing a minimalist lifestyle.

To begin with, I would like to share three stories of my own.

1. High School Nihilistic Doubt

jeswin thomas hgJu2ykh4E unsplash
Photographed by Jeswin Thomas

For almost a year in high school, I was plagued by doubts about the world’s reality. 

There was a time when I couldn’t help imagining that there was a world different from the one I was living in and that everything around me was a hoax.

When I got my exam paper on every examination, my heart will not stop doubting the accuracy of the world. I fancy myself suddenly angry tore up the examination paper to toss around and around the teachers and students incarnation agent Smith. After three hundred rounds, I change to Mourinho and their war to fly to the sky penetration Matrix to witness the “real world.”

There were many such delusions during that time.
Until one day, I realized that I would have a nervous breakdown in all likelihood, so I thought very seriously about the reality of my life (am I just a brain in a VAT? Is life now all a sham, and there is a “real world” behind it? “

The conclusion is: I really can’t tell.

But even in the absence of a shred of solid evidence, I am willing, deep down in my heart, to choose to believe in the reality of reality and live on that basis, and if that conclusion is refuted, THEN I will accept it.

I Want to understand the things of the moment; I felt in a literal sense what is called “a steady stream of power from the inner surge.”

There is a kind of what all can’t destroy my things, just so hard, pestle propped up there, without any negotiable, irrational logic to support me. It’s invisible; I can’t point it out to anyone. I can’t justify its existence in words, and it’s something that has no reason, but more convincing than any reason, that has ended a year of anxiety, insecurities, and self-doubt for me to live in the present world with a steady mind.

2. Embracing What's Important to Me

photographed by Dan Dennis
Photographed by Dan Dennis

I had a severe stutter and joined a stuttering support group.

I find that almost everyone, like me, blames stuttering for many of life’s frustrations. In their imagination, no stammer of their own will be perfect; they can be nine days on the moon and under the oceans to catch turtles.

However, as someone who has come out of stuttering phobia, I would like to say: it’s not true.

Without stuttering, we would only find ourselves with more problems. Stuttering is nothing more than a scapegoat. It diverts our attention from more problems.
Stutter is not the worst thing; the worst is that stuttering divided us and is present at the moment of contact.

A stuttering phobia when speaking most of us attention is not on the content of the speech at the moment, but on the surveillance of themselves, if the stuttering now, so he will be nervous or anxious, worry about how others will see themselves.

If he doesn’t stutter now, he will still be nervous and anxious about whether he will stutter later and how others will see him later.

In short, he is most concerned not with the present reality but with the imaginary “future” in his mind.

All of this, in turn, makes a person more anxious and prone to stuttering, creating a vicious circle. I was able to move on from stuttering because I finally learned how to live with those anxieties, fears, and innerves, how to speak with acceptance of the present moment as it is, and how not to be distracted by my non-stuttering self or others’ opinions of me.

3. The Internalized Thinking of A Foodie

photographed by Carles Rabada
Photographed by Carles Rabada

I’ve come to the same conclusion: While future goals are essential, it’s even more critical for me to be fully present and live each moment. The present moment is subtle and easy to pass away when my life is made of such a humble “now.” If I don’t learn how to be present in every moment, I probably won’t fully enjoy what I want, even if I have it.

I’ll end with an opening paragraph from Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are:

I’m a foodie, and even the soaring numbers on the scale can’t break my resolve to eat.

But recently the stomach is not good, too full dinner will have loose bowels, so have to control the amount of food.

There is a noodle shop near the residence where I often patronize, mix noodles, and fried pork chop is unique; I often am a point of meat silk mix noodles + fried pork chop as dinner.

Now, for the sake of my health, I’ve decided that if I go to dinner, I’ll order noodles and nothing else and reduce the frequency of my visits to his house. But for a foodie, it’s fierce, you know? !

Here’s an important word: dopamine.

Many people’s general impression of this is that it’s a brain secretion that makes you feel happy, but the effect of dopamine is to make you “think” that doing something will be good. It triggers desire and the “carpe diem” impulse and pleasure.

Like the Christmas Turkey McDull has been waiting for for so long, it is most delicious and happy between the uneaten and the first bite.

Please wait until it eats into the stomach; the feeling is also so. Dopamine makes us overestimate the value of something, which makes us more impulsive.

When we satisfy a desire and feel relaxed and satisfied, few of us will realize that relaxation and satisfaction are not from the pleasure of the thing itself but more from the appeasement of the desire itself.

Metaphorically speaking, dopamine weighs a massive rock on everyone’s heart, and we struggle to remove it by any means possible.

When we somehow remove it, we feel so happy that we mistakenly assume that the pleasure comes from the action, not the loss of the rock itself. So my solution is: to the noodle shop one day have a pork pasta + Fried pork chops and be conscientious, eat very intently:

every bite I chew slowly, digesting teeth shred tender succulent tactility, loin mixing hot chili sauce on the taste buds after the taste of spread, and eventually slip the warmth of the throat into the stomach, use your body to remember this feeling.

When I go back later, if the surge of dopamine urges me to order more, I recall the feeling, compare it with the current desire, and find that the dopamine has multiplied the pleasure I get from frying the pork chop many times over, and the urge subside. As a result, I used to eat about three times a week, but now I eat about once a fortnight.

What's Important to You?

Photographed by Emily Morter
Photographed by Emily Morter

Three stories finished, I don’t know if you can understand what I want to say.

Health, money, true love, freedom… These things are excellent and essential, but the ability to embrace and be present in each moment in its fullness is more critical than any of these things.

One of the problems I’ve become increasingly aware of in the last year is that I’ve created too many “what ifs” for myself, believing that my life can only be meaningful and happy when certain conditions and things are achieved.

But as a firm believer in the impermanence and uncertainty of life, I often ask myself, what if I were to cross the street tomorrow and suddenly get hit by a car and die? What if tomorrow all the people in the world were suddenly extinct except me?

The Conclusion

I’ve come to the same conclusion: 

While future goals are essential, it’s even more critical for me to be fully present and live each moment. The present moment is subtle and easy to pass away when my life is made of such a humble “now.” If I don’t learn how to be present in every moment, I probably won’t fully enjoy what I want, even if I have it.

I’ll end with an opening paragraph from Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are:

“Guess what? When it comes right down to it, wherever you go, there you are. Whatever you wind up doing, that’s what you’ve wound up doing. Whatever you are thinking right now, that’s what’s on your mind. Whatever has happened to you, it has already happened. The important question is, how are you going to handle it? In other words, “Now what?”

Like it or not, this moment is all we really have to work with.

Yet we all too easily conduct our lives as if forgetting momentarily that we are here, where we already are, and that we are in what we are already in. In every moment, we find ourselves at the crossroad of here and now. But when the cloud of forgetfulness over where we are now sets in, in that very moment we get lost. “Now what?” becomes a real problem.”

Quiz Time!

Here is a fun quiz to figure out what is the most essential thing in your life.

I’m in tears finding out that the most important thing for me is Inner peace.

Tell me down below the comment about your quiz result!

Good days!

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