More on specificity

Back when I was a nine-to-fiver, I never had time for life. Existence was made up of working, eating, and sleeping, and I felt continuously hurried. Now that I’m running my own business, my work has become an expression of my life (as opposed to life being an expression of my work) and it’s a vast improvement. But I must admit I still feel pressed for time, and my days are overflowing with stuff to be done. This is a good thing, since I love my work, but it’s key to maintain proper perspective, nonetheless.

What I’m talking about here relates to yesterday’s post: as you learn to notice, study, and love the details – the minutia of your experiences – how do you keep from being overwhelmed? There are an infinite number of details: can you possibly attend to them without drowning? A phobia about this is probably what hampers many a brilliant conceptualist, who views the specifics with distaste and suspicion and therefore is seldom successful.

I have no definitive answers, but here’s a suggestion, a theory I’ve built after decades of confusion. Working with specifics is how we learn to love, to bond organically, to apply our compassion to manifest realities and to cherish unconditionally. Concepts and generalities are the stamp of ego applied to awareness of specifics.

For example, perceiving specifically, we notice that our coworker is feeling blue today. Generally, we sympathize with bad days, having had them ourselves. If details scare us, we won’t betray any empathy for our coworker; if we love specifics, we’ll naturally transfer the general empathy we feel to specific comfort for the individual.

And how do we keep this from monopolizing all our time? The answer’s inherent: we move on to the next detail. We dwell in details, and allow generalities to take care of themselves. We aren’t overwhelmed because we’ve developed an equal devotion to each specific as it arises, and we view our conscious hours as an unbroken progression of interaction with small truths.

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