I occurred to recall something I read a few years ago about money. Kent Nerburn, if I recall correctly, was the author. I don’t recall the precise wording, but it was something about delineating the state of one’s financial health. People who measure their money against their wants will never be satisfied since another desire will always entice them. People who assess their money in relation to their requirements might acquire control of their lives by controlling their needs. Certain requirements must be fulfilled. If the weight of poverty falls on you, do not seek money. Look for employment. Money will follow, and you will be able to start removing money from the center of your life and reintroducing it as a tool to help you live a meaningful life. Financial well-being is just a matter of harmonizing circumstances.
You may believe you have no influence in this world. Yet, someone hears a tune on the radio that makes them think of you. Someone has been lost in the pages of a book you suggested to them. Someone on the bus recalled a joke you told them and giggled to themselves. Someone put on a shirt and felt stunning because you complemented it. Someone has a recollection of you that makes them smile. Someone is sipping a drink from a cup that you gifted them with. Someone now loves themselves even more since you made a casual remark that made them feel wonderful. Never underestimate your effect; your fingerprints can’t be removed from the little acts of kindness you’ve left behind.
The transient nature of our short life in this world is a recurring theme that I usually write about here. In an earnest effort to keep my thoughts and spirits grounded, I try to humbly ponder on it quite often. The following exchange between a sage and a guy whose death was near that I read about recently has had a profound effect on my thought process.
I’ve compiled it in a way, thinking from the mind of the sage’s point of view. In other words, it’s written from the perspective of the sage’s intellect. This discourse is written through the sage’s eyes. I genuinely feel that it all comes down to perspective and how we think about things. May this inspire a soulful rediscovery in us all. May we find the fortitude to put aside trifling concerns and thoughts and engage deeper into much more significant realities.
“O learned man!, I have an issue and I want to talk to you,” stated a young guy. “Go ahead,” I said. So we spoke about it. “My first worry is that my death is definite,” he explained. “I will undoubtedly die as a result of a problem.” “No, with God’s grace,” I said. “God controls the duration of one’s life. Many people have died as a result of the deadliest sickness…” “No, this is different,” he responded.
Maybe it was my first time meeting someone who was dying. “So he won’t be living for long?” I wondered. It was an odd sensation. “I’ve accepted this,” he said. It was difficult to embrace this fact at first.
When I woke up one morning, I told myself, ‘You’re going to die.’ Live in the now. Go out. Work. Talk. Interact with others. You’re going to die!’ So I got up and started living. After that, if someone harassed me, I didn’t get irritated. ‘I’m dying!’ I’d exclaim. I wasn’t disturbed at all. I was not envious. ‘I don’t want anything,’ I would say. Let others acquire these items.’ If a car carrying a bride and groom passed by, I was as thrilled for them as their moms. ‘Aww, it’s their wedding,’ I would remark. I hope they’re content.’ I would pray for young people in the same way that I pray for the elderly. If someone stomped on me to go ahead, I’d respond, ‘It’s fine.’ Let him have it.’ I wasn’t seeking to become famous if I helped someone because I wouldn’t live long enough to benefit from such recognition. I’ve gotten quite calm. I don’t see anything wrong. My grasp of good language has improved.”
He went over them one by one. He seemed to be referring to the characteristics of pious individuals from the past that we respect. “I see,” I said. “Will God accept these if I die?” he asked. “Yes,” I answered. “But I’ve gotten this way because of my fear of dying,” he explained. “Do you not believe in God?” I inquired. “Yes!” he said. I do. However, I have not improved as a result of this. I adore God as well. God is the only one I have today. No one will stick around for me. But it was death that taught me a lesson. Is this all right? “Won’t they tell me, ‘When you discovered out you were dying, you rectified yourself?'”
“No, it has been stated, ‘Death is enough to counsel one,'” I replied. You were warned and adjusted yourself.” [He said,] “Thank you. I’ll go.” “Wait!” I exclaimed. Let’s become pals. I’ve discovered a genuine individual.” “No, I don’t want to fire you,” he said. “No, sit down.” I’d want to chat to you more. “What is your illness?” “I’m not sick.” “But you said you’d die.” “I claimed I’d surely die, but I didn’t mention I was sick.” “What? “What do you mean you’ll definitely die?” “I asked whether there was someone who could assist me so that I wouldn’t die, and they answered no.” “So, when?” “One day, thousand days, thirty thousand days from now.” I’m not sure.”
I gave it some thinking and realized that I, too, would die – whether in a day or a thousand days… “So you’re not sick,” I explained. “No.” How many days before you die?
I recollect reading somewhere that if we need to bring about changes in our lives, the first step would be to change our thoughts about our life.
Writing and the connection achieved by it sometimes have a transformative effect that’s often magical. It’s often how you discover your true tribe.
“Writing, if nothing else, is a bridge between two people, a bridge made of language. And language belongs to all of us. If I enjoy a poem, that just means I am recognizing within it something of myself, something I must already possess. Therefore, to love a poem is to love a part of myself revealed to me by another person…I really believe that writing is the closest thing we have to true magic. Where else, but in words, can we discover each other out of thin air?”― Ocean Vuong
When you read something that absolutely resonates with what we have to express, that’s an aha moment. Now, I’m in such a pleasant disposition after reading a good essay and I thought of putting down my thoughts on it. Lately, I came across some very interesting essays by Paul Graham. I know that in this world of lesser attention spans, most of us are reluctant to use our time for long format reads. But let me tell you, these are very insightful. One of the essays that I’d like to specifically mention here goes with the title: Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s schedule
In this essay, he outlines the schedule of two types of people – Makers and Managers. ” Maker ” refers to somebody who’s engaged in creative work. “Makers” can be painters, musicians, technical engineers, programmers, writers, etc. The other type of schedule is of the “Manager” who’s in some cases “bosses” or somebody who’s on manager schedule.
He writes it really well in articulating the kind of “mindset” that makers and managers work. Makers and Manager both work in different frames of minds and have different concepts of conceiving time. He explains it in the context of having meetings by explaining how time is considered from the point of view of a maker and a manager. He explains this point as below
There are two types of schedule, which I’ll call the manager’s schedule and the maker’s schedule. The manager’s schedule is for bosses. It’s embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one-hour intervals. You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by default you change what you’re doing every hour.Quoted from “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”, Essay by Paul Graham
When you use time that way, it’s merely a practical problem to meet with someone. Find an open slot in your schedule, book them, and you’re done.
Most powerful people are on the manager’s schedule. It’s the schedule of command. But there’s another way of using time that’s common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can’t write or program well in units of an hour. That’s barely enough time to get started.
You see, he absolutely nails it on the point on explaining this aspect. Managers on handling the logistics and time frames of activities of makers often consider and use time differently. Makers (Examples- painters, musicians, technical engineers, programmers, writers, etc) on the other hand require deep engagement in their work and normally work on a different frame of mind requiring content creation / technical problem solving, etc. The day for managers are divided into pieces for meetings, calls, follow up emails, and other administrative tasks. Makers are looking for large portions of uninterrupted and unscheduled time to do any sort of creative work they’re engaged in. He explains this difference in the context of meetings as a good example that’s relatable to a lot of people.
One reason programmers dislike meetings so much is that they’re on a different type of schedule from other people. Meetings cost them more.Quoted from “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”, Essay by Paul Graham
When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That’s no problem for someone on the manager’s schedule. There’s always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker’s schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it.
For someone on the maker’s schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn’t merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work.
I’m sure that he has a very broad understanding such that he’s able to understand the difference very clearly. He further writes
I find one meeting can sometimes affect a whole day. A meeting commonly blows at least half a day, by breaking up a morning or afternoon. But in addition there’s sometimes a cascading effect. If I know the afternoon is going to be broken up, I’m slightly less likely to start something ambitious in the morning. I know this may sound oversensitive, but if you’re a maker, think of your own case. Don’t your spirits rise at the thought of having an entire day free to work, with no appointments at all? Well, that means your spirits are correspondingly depressed when you don’t. And ambitious projects are by definition close to the limits of your capacity. A small decrease in morale is enough to kill them off.Quoted from “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”, Essay by Paul Graham
Each type of schedule works fine by itself. Problems arise when they meet. Since most powerful people operate on the manager’s schedule, they’re in a position to make everyone resonate at their frequency if they want to. But the smarter ones restrain themselves if they know that some of the people working for them need long chunks of time to work in.
The essay glides over to other aspects on advising startups and other companies to have a more understanding work culture by educating people on the difference in which makers and managers work. One thing he points out in the later part of the essay is that “When you’re operating on the manager’s schedule you can do something you’d never want to do on the maker’s: you can have speculative meetings. You can meet someone just to get to know one another. If you have an empty slot in your schedule, why not? Maybe it will turn out you can help one another in some way“. He jokingly refers to the distinctive language of “grab a coffee” commonly used as a means of proposing these speculative meetings.
These speculative meetings cost terribly for a maker in terms of his time. The fine thin line between blowing our schedules and offending people is the way to steer the way ahead. It’s a very narrow line and often I find that makers are often the ones willing to compromise.
I would technically fall in the category of a maker by its description. I’m a mechanical design engineer by profession. I work on concept designing of engineering products, develop structural calculations to back up an engineering concept & its engineering intent and use, working with teams to develop sketches and engineering drawings sufficient for prototyping a product and also work extensively on costing a product & obviously this includes costing a lot of its internal sub-assemblies. Often at times, I do engage in engineering simulations to evaluate the efficiency of a designed component without prototyping or manufacturing. I can absolutely relate when the essay speaks of the way the maker outlines his time of efficient work. Of course, a maker would definitely get questions like “When do you think you can finish this? , “When would you get this done? “, ” At what date you can complete this work?” etc. A cohesive understanding of all parties and being considerate, understanding, and gentle is what matters in achieving a common goal. You may be falling into either one of these types and probably this could give some insight on the frame of mind in which time is conceived by different people. I hope you found this interesting. Happy to know your thoughts.
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“A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree, one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander.”
― Roman Payne, The Wanderess
One of my long time read is the beautiful blog Notes from the Road. It’s written by Erik Gauger and it is an excellent road travel writing blog. I love the aesthetics and the overall way in which content is articulated on this page. Not sure if this would change in the future, but it looks stunning! What I like the most is his philosophy of travel writing at the core. If we read online, pure travel writing is a treasure to find out. My dad was a forest officer and may be due to the opportunities that I had with him to visit some of the most remote hill stations in South India, I am very much enticed by travel narratives when done well. Erik has done a wonderful job in narrating his travels and as he himself writes on his website,
“At Notes from the Road, I try to stay grounded in my original vision for what travel blogging can be: independent, visual, personal. Travel writing has never been about hotels and reviews. It is, and always has been, about ideas, people, and faraway places.”
– Erik Gauger , author of Notes from the Road
Another example of how beautiful things can get when somebody puts his heart and soul into what he does.
I photographed this with Netta from the Andaman Islands. What I like the most about this photograph is how the sun rising is spreading its light across everything. From the soothings waves to the rocks to the pebbles, we see its light on everything. This resonates with a theme that I read recently. On a particular note, the example of sun is provided where the sun encompasses numberless things with its light. It says that a comprehensive outlook is required to behold the sun itself in the totality of its light. For the sun not to be forgotten, its manifestation is displayed on every shining object by its reflection. Further I read that all lustrous objects have a refleciton of sun’s attributes such as its light, heat and the seven colors in its light (From the Words). The sun’s attributes is encompassing all things facing it. The same allegory is extended to divine mercy we find around us in several manifestations and specifically in man’s mirror like essence. From the food on our table, to the clothes we wear to our comforts, there’re manifestations of divine mercy everywhere.
I couldn’t write for the past few days due to my frame of mind, not in the beautiful space I need to be in, to put my heart into what I do. Today, I’m planning to write about the perception of time and some contemplation on some of my recent thoughts on this theme. Welcome to another slice of our Ponder Series. You won’t be bored with a long read while we explore together on the wonders of time and its perception.
The perception of time and its intricacies are keys to several extraordinary secrets about the world we live in. A baby does not come out in a moment, but takes almost 9 months. A seed could have become a huge oak in a day, but it takes hundreds of years. We don’t eat the fruit on the same day that we plant a tree. Fruits of labor may not be seen right away. All things take time. There are certain things that cannot be fast-tracked. We often wonder about the magic of time and how it’s perceived.
In a wonderful article with regards to time on the brain, George Musser writes,
“It’s not that our memory is a glitchy wetware version of computer flash memory; it’s that the computer metaphor just doesn’t apply. Roediger said we store only bits and pieces of what happened—a smattering of impressions we weave together into feels like a seamless narrative. When we retrieve a memory, we also rewrite it, so that the next time we go to remember it, we don’t retrieve the original memory but the last one we recollected. So, each time we tell a story, we embellish it, while remaining genuinely convinced of the veracity of our memories.”
This is very profound. What we know and perceive as “past” is really a smattering of impressions we weave together as the author articulates it. All the experiences, events happening truly runs as “stories” in our minds and we only have impressions of them as they pass us. When you read an article on my website, for example, that’s a story weaved in your mind when you think about it later. We “perceive” time by usually comparing a “story” or a “moment” with a previously known moment or event if we think about it. When you’re reading this blog on your phone or on your computer screen, just clap your hands once and you’ll hear a sound. If you clap once again, you’ll hear another sound. Now, we call this interval between these two claps “time” by thinking that there’s an interval between them. When you clap the hands for the second time, the first clap sound you heard is only nothing more than a memory that’s formed in your mind, sort of like an imagination. You see, this comparison of moments and events and correlating with each other is what we perceive as time in our lives.
Before reading this post, let’s say you came to the room that you’re in now from a different room and let’s say you sat on the couch/chair or on the bed that you’re in now and once you sit and read what you’re reading now, the images of how you came to the room before opening this website are now only information in your memory. That’s how we perceive time. Hence, the perception of time is heavily tied and if not only tied to the sequence of memories and stories running in our brains. It’s sort of like a movie being loaded with us being the actors in that play. Without these correlations of memories, there wouldn’t be any perception of time. I turned 32 recently. I determine it so because I have my mind being accumulated with memories and events related to those 32 years. If my memories do not exist, then I wouldn’t have any clue of a so-called “preceding period” and would only be having an experience of the single moment in which I’m living. In case if you haven’t thought about it before, pause for a moment and ponder on this reality.
Reels are being played in our brains and stories and perceptions are weaved on and on. That’s a true wonder only for minds who think about them. Deep thought is the key to gratitude. Thank you for reading. I’m planning to write some other chapters on the same theme. It’s actually one of my favorite topic that I can write on and on with a hot cup of tea. Do write your thoughts to me.
Some of the chapters from the Ponder Series that you can read on :
> Ornate Blossoms
> Visual Narrative – Ponder Series
> Reflecting on Shadows
> Stumble over Pebbles
> Ethereal Quality | Petals
> Golden Ratio
> Vision – Pondering on the intricacies
> Ruminating on Bird Nests
> Living Embellishments
> Pondering on Birds
If you are reading this series for the first time, have a look at the intent post.
Illustrated by: The Border Of a Mind.
There are many intricacies that often stay in the realm of thoughts that is yearning our awe. Think of the trees with their branches spreading through the air and producing fruits. With the ease of them growing and diverging into the air, their roots also spread and diverge through hard rock and earth beneath. Seeds and grains bear huge trees within them. Thinking casually about them takes into a realm of an unexceptional everyday sight. At the same time, pondering deeply lifts this curtain of blindness from our eyes and opens the windows of realization that these are indeed spectacular miracles. There’s kind of a solace on realizing that everything, be it a new leaf forming, an old leaf tumbling down the branches, things happening to us beyond our plans are under a divine command. Realizing bounties is key to a state of remembrance, gratitude, and reflection, the key themes that I’ve thought of today. The illustration you see in inspired from an image in my mind around a cottage garden in Ooty, South India.