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Apr 09, 2019 21:46:45

Writing changes how I experience my reality

by @jasonleow | 405 words | 411🔥 | 449💌

Jason Leow

Current day streak: 411🔥
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It's strange, but I'd only started observing this recently. When I write about my experience of something before it's over, it changes how I experience the event as it continues to unfold. Sometimes, it changes in a good way, sometimes not so good. So maybe it's good to write about things after the fact, not during.

Like this trip in Kyoto to learn kintsugi. One day, I had a really beautiful experience when at class, perceived fresh and without bias. I wrote about it nostalgically through my own perspective and coloured lenses on the same evening. Then when I return the next day, I realised I'm heavily filtering the current experience through those same coloured lenses, as it is happening. It set up expectations that got in the way of truly experiencing the event as it unfolds. It brought me out of the beginner's mind, and thus destroyed any chance that I can experience the same beauty again. The irony... 

But it's hardly surprising, is it? Science had shown that our memories are hardly fail-safe and accurate. We add lots of spices into the mix after the deed. Some things might not have even happened at all, sometimes. Most importantly, as meaning-making beings, we add personal meanings, values and biases to past events, based on how we interpret. Basically, the moment the event is over, all recollection is wrought wrong, from an objective point of view. Lack of objectivity is not always a bad thing, though. Who has any use of objectivity unless it serves us, propels us into the future? In any case, no human person ever has the objective view on anything, unless you're talking about some neutral, god-like consciousness that sees everything and knows everything without bias and favour. 

But I digress. 

So yes, it's hardly surprising that we inevitably add colour and meaning to our recall of our experiences in the past. How do I work around it? This experience made me think - as a practice to be fully present to what's unfolding before me, perhaps it's a good practice to write about the experience after it's completed. I guess this works better for events that are shorter in length. Anything too long I might need to write about it along the way since I'll start forgetting details. 

It's interesting to learn how writing can get in the way of us being more present to life. Never thought this could happen. 

From Jason Leow's collection:

  • 1

    @jasonleow You have touched on a concept that I find fascinating. Daniel Kahneman refers to it as the contrast between the remembering self and the experiencing self. He also makes the case that the conditions that make you happy in life are not necessarily consistent with what makes you satisfied with your life. This podcast episode features an interview between Sam Harris and Daniel Kahneman. If you fast forward to the 55 minute mark you will hear them discuss this in great detail. https://overcast.fm/+Ic2iyEQUY @keni you might find this topic interesting.

    Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | Apr 09, 2019 07:14:02
    • 1

      @jasonleow @brandonwilson - This is an interesting concept. I have heard about Daniel's theory. Going to make time to listen to these two fascinating individuals talk. Both are very articulate and interesting. Thank you for sharing this.

      Keni avatar Keni | Apr 09, 2019 10:25:01
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      @brandonwilson thanks for sharing the podcast! Will have a listen! Love the spot-on description - the remembering self and the experiencing self!

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Apr 10, 2019 20:41:58
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