I’m beggning to like the routine of sitting down in the moring to write by hand. And I am enjoying the lack of electricity too.

I go to bed between 8:00 and 9:00pm because it starts getting dark. I wake up just before sunrise, at 5:30. Nine hours of sleep is perfect for me, otherwise I feel the need for an afternoon siesta.

After waking up, usually the first thing I do is prepare coffee. I don’t have a coffee machine yet, so I boil some water, allow for the grinded beans sit a while while cooling down. I then pass it through a sieve, and it’s good. Any other option is just marginally more tasty or more convenient, and since at this time I literally have $5 dollars to my name I am in no rush to change my coffee maker.

I am no stranger to financial constraint and I feel the same when there’s nothing or a lot in my bank account. That is not true, I spent around two months of financial difficulties and when the money of a project came through I felt a noticeable improvement in all psychological aspects: anxiety, hope for the future, mood, etc. One cannot completely escape Maslow’s pyramid, only lower the requirements. I also have a modest amount due to be paid and I guess that’s why I’m boasting I don’t fret about money, when in reality my financial situation is already resolved.

There seems to be a change in the perception of wealth, no? It used to be that confession that one had no money to his name was a sign of disgrace, yet nowadays, and I catch myself boasting about it at this very moment, that money plays no role in life except as to cover one’s needs.

But this is a trick, because we used to equate money with virtue: he who has more money is more clever, smart, hard-working, etc. As people are able to produce massive amounts of wealth through leveraging algorithms (or selling drugs) wealth has become a poor proxy for virtue. Most left-leaning friends will argue it never was an indication of virtue, but this is confused thinking. Unless you are a drug lord or have money pouring in, managing wealth requires temperance, prudence, self-restraint, delayed gratification and so on.

I took a break from writing and thinking flowed towards the writing course I’m creating. The working title is “Writing as therapy”, and we (René and me) are still working out what will be taught and how it will work.

Is introspection teachable? No, let us step back: Is introspection important? I see different skills that may be confused: awareness and introspection. All extraverted characters I’ve met have said things like “I don’t like being alone, my mind gravitates towards dark places and I don’t like it”. The self is like a closet filled to the brim. In solitude it bulges as if it were alive, threatening to burst open and drown us in an avalanche of unresolved issues.

I’d say the willingness to peek inside the closet, to allow things to spill out and then put them back into place is what introspection is ultimately about.

We have defined introspection, allow us then to define awareness.

Awareness is dwelling at a place which allows you to take into account all the elements of human experience. It is being able to feel, think and act at the same time as you perceive it. You may know someone who “thinks too much” and then their body disconnects and they become purely mental beings, or a purely emotional person with whom you can’t reason because emotion overrides anything else (with some people it would be impossible to discuss if it’s ok to put down stray dogs, for example).

Awareness is being able to notice everything that goes on outside and inside while immersed in activity, without judging it. As you speak you feel your emotions, you hear your thoughts, you sense your body. If something makes you angry you notice the anger before reacting.

Awareness (or non-judgemental observation) and introspection go hand in hand. If you instrospect and judge you are setting yourself a trap. So the student has two tasks: to look inside and to stop judging. But how?

Only meditation allows this kind of feat. Hmmm…

  1. You begin with awareness

  2. Awareness can be about either inner phenomena and outer phenomena (can they happen at the same time? I must try).

  3. The awareness results in experience which is captured in writing.

The model is more complicated than this. Let us begin by making a long list of introspection and awareness exercises and find the model that. What is imagination? What is creativity? What is reason?