Meditations in Luang Prabang

this place is the epitome of focus on doing nothing. its not off the grid but it’s not most people’s option 1, 2, or 3 in Southeast Asia.

the irony is I have spent a full week in one place for a change and although extraordinarily chill, this place would not strike me as the place I’d love to spend more than a full week.

one thing I have come to grips with is it is very challenging to actively do little to nothing. I’m wired to challenge myself. something I’m realizing in my time meditating in the temples here as well as in the waters of Bali is that perhaps my incessant need to one up myself and everyone around me has soured me.

Buddha teaches they the entirety of our existence is one long struggle with suffering ending in death. I may be phrasing it in a depressing manner but I get the ethos. there are parallels to Viktor Frankl’s Holocaust read Man’s Search for Meaning.

some of the things I realize about my time here include an almost unhealthy need to constantly ugprade myself. perhaps it’s an insecurity, but I prefer to label it a nasty scar from spending so much time in Silicon Valley.

here i push myself to meditate longer with each passing day. I ask myself to read books to improve my speed and literacy. I use the silence and peace to write more. in this private enclave in a lost corner of Southeast Asia, one would think I could truly just chill. but the thoughts pervade my mind. the need to keep working on myself. am I missing a larger point about life?

one thing I will be more conscious of is not being so hard on myself. I’m not sure if others would describe my life as a success or a failure. good news is I care more about what I think than others. when I think of the entire body of work which is my life I would qualify it as a success that’s fighting to put a defining stamp of success for the world to recognize. but when I think of individual moments my mind always recalls my failures first. maybe this wiring is the very trigger which drives me forward, but I believe there is a healthier approach which can yield smoother results. a more loving approach.

I read a quote by the famous monk “walk as if your feet are kissing the ground”. there’s a profound truth here which completely alludes me today.

second, I always find myself comparing and reconciling with the world around me. I can feel it in the quiet moments when thoughts bubble up out of nowhere. again it stems from this obsessive pursuit to be better. I think of the surfers at Echo Beach. I think of my time with Patrick in the Philippines. I give everyone all the credit in the world but myself. I remember when I was young I did that to my own family. thinking that for some reason the right answers were always everywhere but underneath my own roof. Johnny and I had a conversation in Cambodia with a Frenchmen and I think now to his statement that in life we are all faced with big questions and often you won’t find an answer but rather a better question to ask.

Sometimes we get trapped in our own self image. it becomes an identity. mine to constantly fight against the grain, to prove I am right and smarter than everyone in the room which manifests via my predictions. I look back and realize that much more my success draws from these traits.

today I’m convinced there’s a way to flow through life instead of hacking at it. think of life like an ocean rather than a jungle. even my time at Cloudflare toward to end was a stark lesson relative to my start. my start was hacking in all direction, at all my problems, getting distracted by everthing. by the end I found a groove learning to build a real network and staying focused on a single lane. A lot like a surfer who is focused looking at the horizon for his next wave.

a path that’s more about reading the waves properly. that’s where my vision should be directed. today my vision is focused on finding the Golden Nugget in the jungle. Here forward I want it to be focused on riding the next wave.

there is a key difference between my jungle and ocean. it is one that’s been bugging me for a while now. the Gold in the Jungle is an observation without active participation. it is simply identifying coordinates on a map with a timeline. the Waves in the Ocean implies doing the above while understanding both myself and the target are in constant motion. it also means encountering wave after wave. being in the ocean means identifying the right wave but also being intimiately in the action. it asks me to deal with the situation as it comes. there is no hiding the ocean which I learned on multiple occasions on this trip.

it should be spent more on watching the waves

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