Some phrases just strike a chord with you, and that’s what happened to me with “Absolute Indiscriminate Involvement”. And perhaps because of the absolute randomness* that led me to this phrase, it made the resonance all the more striking.
Here is my interpretation of indiscriminate absolute involvement.
If you do something, do it with all your heart. And if something is not worth doing with all your heart, don’t do it. That’s the absolute involvement part. Simple enough.
Now the indiscriminate part. That’s actually what caught my attention the most. That means, you suspend judgment about what is important and what is not important, what you like and what you do not like. For example, I have a long list of shopping to go through, it’s a backlog of 3 months of items to buy/replace/replenish. I do not like shopping, and that’s an understatement. I know that’s weird, but that’s just the way I am wired. So every time I open up the Amazon website, I find myself longing for my dentist appointment. Yes, really.
My new favorite phrase says I should not judge the shopping as dreary, frivolous…or that dreaded word, boring. I should approach it with the same gusto – same absolute involvement – as, say, sitting on the edge of my seat just before Arya Stark jumps on the night King, “dancing” when the room is empty and Gin Wigmore is blasting out Black Sheep on my sonos, or laughing my heart out at another one of Anne Lamott’s unpredictable one-liners in “Bird by Bird”.:..or….Shopping. Oh wow.
You can replace shopping with whatever has had a permanent place on your to-do list for months – do those with the same love and engagement as everything else you love to do. Imagine that. How radical.
Let’s make sure though how involvement is different from attachment. When you like something, you crave it, you look forward to it. Like a vacation that you are dying for (even though my last vacation was just a few weeks ago. A girl can hope). That’s attachment. And when you come back from the aforementioned vacation, you can’t stop thinking about it. That’s Clinging. Or if you hate doing something, you dread it. Like bureaucracy. By attaching an emotion, whether it is positive or negative to that action (dread in this case), you create a connection to it. All these are forms of attachment which takes you away from living your life – the life that’s in front of you at this very moment – fully. And attachment is not involvement – involvement is all about engaging in the present moment, participating in life as it happens, experiencing it when it happens.
And it is not just about the things you dread in life. Imagine being engaged in everything we do, just as we are engaged in the things we love. Perhaps soon we will start loving everything we do, just because we engage in it. After all, recent scientific thinking does accommodate for reverse causal relations (that is for another post, another time). For now, I can’t wait to try this new concept out.
Absolute indiscriminate involvement – I have a feeling this is going to change my life.
*Source: I was doom-scrolling on youtube (which I rarely do), and when I clicked on a video by SadhGuru because I misread the title of the video (guess you could attribute that to non-involved surfing) . Hence it felt like absolute randomness, I could call it serendipity, if it makes anyone feel better.