14 Learnings from 14 Years of Brain Pickings

Brain Pickings was born on October 23, 2006, as a brief e-mail to 7 friends. 7 years and a number of incomprehensible million readers into its presence, I started what has because ended up being an annual custom– a distillation of the most essential things I have actually found out about living while checking out and writing my method through life; personal knowings provided in the general public commons, in the hope that these thoroughly subjective insights of a single consciousness may be of succor or salve to another. It is the only overtly personal writing I do on Brain Pickings. (Though, obviously, the whole of it stays a deeply personal workout in processing my own life and annealing my own concepts through the concepts and lives I commemorate in composing.).

Feel the sadness, take the action, however keep pushing the weight of pleasure versus it all, up until it becomes meaningless, automated, like gravity pulling the stream down its course; till it becomes an inner law of nature.– and what an everything he lived through– then so can any one of us amidst the debris of our strategies, so trifling by contrast. Happiness is not a function of a life totally free of friction and frustration, but a function of focus– an inner elevation by the fulcrum of choice.
Delight in the age-salted man on the street corner awaiting the light to alter, his age-salted pet next to him, each likely towards the other with the angular subtlety of absolute commitment.
Enjoy the little lady zooming past you on her little bicycle, this strong emissary of the future, rainbow tassels waving from her handlebars and a hundred beaded braids spilling from her golden helmet.
Pleasure in the snail taking an afternoon to pass through the abyssal fracture in the sidewalk for the sake of pasturing on a single blade of turf.
Enjoy the tiny new leaf, so shy therefore shamelessly lavish, unfurling from the jagged stem of the parched geranium.
I think typically of this verse from Jane Hirshfields magnificent poem “The Weighing”:.
Couple of grains of happinessmeasured versus all the darkand still the scales balance.
Yes, except we provide both the grains and the scales. I alone can weigh the blue of my sky, you of yours.

Against this contextual background, here is the main knowing drawn from a year so discomposing yet so crucial and transformative a verse from the poetry of life. (You can read the previous thirteen here.).

I selected, by that blind instinct of survivalism we mistake for choice, to raise.

Each year, I have drawn one new learning from that specific season of life. Each year, it has actually swelled into an existential difficulty to prune the vastness, the lushness, the interleaved complexity of experience into a single blade of not simplified but simple insight into the nature of life, glimpsed from the solitary pinhole of this one life. The difficulty has never been more gigantic than this previous year– the most attempting I have lived through, by orders of magnitude. Depression has actually decreased its leaden cloudscape over me once again and once again considering that I was fifteen, but no other year has lidded life more ominously, as the shocking cumulative grief we are enduring together densified the black fog of private loss. In such seasons of life, one is pushed against the limitations of ones being, pushed eventually against the understanding– no, more than understanding and less than understanding: the blind elemental reality– that no matter the external environment of circumstance, one must raise the inner cloudscape by ones own efforts, or die under it.

7 years and a number of incomprehensible million readers into its presence, I started what has actually given that become a yearly custom– a distillation of the most essential things I have discovered about living while reading and writing my way through life; private learnings offered in the public commons, in the hope that these completely subjective insights of a single consciousness might be of succor or salve to another. (Though, of course, the whole of it stays a deeply personal exercise in processing my own life and annealing my own concepts through the lives and ideas I celebrate in composing.).

Each year, I have actually drawn one new knowing from that particular season of life. Each year, it has actually swelled into an existential obstacle to prune the vastness, the lushness, the interleaved intricacy of experience into a single blade of not simplistic however simple insight into the nature of life, glimpsed from the solitary pinhole of this one life. In such seasons of life, one is pressed against the limitations of ones being, pushed eventually versus the understanding– no, more than understanding and less than understanding: the blind essential reality– that no matter the outer atmosphere of situation, one should lift the inner cloudscape by ones own efforts, or perish under it.