“Make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life.”
A friend of mine compared what has happened over recent years to a café. We enter it and search for a space in which we can sit with our friends and chat. But as time progresses, the café’s walls get smaller and smaller and the chat of others louder and louder. You begin to hear all manner of conversations that you otherwise wouldn’t care about: things which, frankly, you shouldn’t be listening to. This leads to frustration. It becomes increasingly difficult to escape the noise and re-center yourself on what actually matters to you.
Italo Calvino’s description of life as an inferno in Invisible Cities comes to mind;
The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.
The last problem is that if you check social media any time you feel a twinge of boredom, you train your brain to expect constant stimulation. It’s okay to feel bored! Boredom is a skill. The more you can tolerate boredom when you’re doing nothing, the easier it is to rest in deep thought when you’re facing a difficult challenge. - Michael Lynch
Like wealth, enlightenment is a goal that knows no limit, and in both cases the pursuit of it can enslave. In both cases, I think that the object of the pursuit is a spurious substitute for a diversity of things that people really want.
If you can’t solve a problem, then there is an easier problem you can’t solve: find it. (George Polya)
Burger, E. B. & Starbird, M. (2012). The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking. Princeton University Press: Kindle Edition.