To contemplate reality, one has to get himself there. St. Augustine would claim that without moral purity no contemplation of truth is possible. However, even to get this drive towards the good and moral, to be able to grasp it, some discipline and silence, that is space for the mind to reflect are necessary.
Below I regard seven useful and easy steps one can take to begin his journey to a better and moral life (morality as a proper direction of will towards the right and beneficial for all things), and eventually to contemplation and philosophical knowledge.
1. Walking in nature (more here). The requirement for this one is to be alone in a natural place. Walk in the quietest time of a day. Have no distractions with you (no phone because it is the worst distraction), be consistent and walk every day, spend no less than 30 minutes on a session.
3. Reducing the amount of information. Whatever goes into your mind, stays there for a long time. Memory preserves every consumed bit of information and brain processes it. Thus, to come closer to an inner self informational fasting is required. Better put, you have to be deliberate of things you let in.
To get a better hold of steps 2 and 3, think of yourself as one who will be repeating the same day eternally. What would like to be doing on that day? Who would you spend it with?
4. Reading thought-provoking literature. It is self-explanatory as long as you don’t go into reading esoteric new-age garbage. Philosophy, religion, art, and science should be the first on the list.
5. Writing. Do it in many forms – a diary to keep progress in everyday life, notes for a more extended thought, poetry for self-expression, and so on. The goal is to see yourself from outside. Writing helps build a better theoretical view of oneself, progress from opinion to knowledge.
6. Meditation. This practice has countless benefits: calmness, control of emotions (based on the delayed response), dissociation with picture-thinking, concentration, and ultimately self-actualisation.
7. Proper sleep, that is, without too many dreams. It can be only achieved through enough sleep at regular hours. A sleeping routine must be devised to sleep well – for example, meditation, reading, cold shower and no visual information or socialising two hours before sleep.
Here you have it – the simplest and most mundane things to do that can have a significant impact on your life. We are so distracted by impressive things that forget how to enjoy life in its simplicity. Steps 1, 6 and 7 I call recreation as distinct from entertainment that corrupts, demoralises and stupefies us, makes us dissatisfied with our lives. Steps 2 and 3 are concerned with the social dimension in general and speech in particular; it needs to be addressed because if we use (hear and speak) a language of others, we may adopt the notions of its conveyors, and it’s advisable to watch that carefully so that not to fall prey to false ways of life. Steps 4 and 5 are the only that advance intellect, whereas all the rest are rather formal and create conducive conditions for moral and intellectual advance, that is the advance of will and knowledge, that is consciousness (in the end, free will show itself to be
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