Sunday’s meditation – 1. Tranquility with one’s self, 2. Acceptance of one’s environmental reality, and 3. Contentment with the ultimate reality. That meditation has the wonderful effect of minimizing the Fear of Missing Out (FoMO). It creates that effect by opening oneself up, in our minds and emotions, to more of the infinite possibilities of what exists, and we can see more clearly how we might relate to everything and what we might do in our actions.
From the Internet there is an ocean of information now instantly available to us, but of this abundance there is a tiny amount that is useful to what we might choose to do with our lives. We come to our moment in time and place limited to our personal past, and the available opportunities before us that we can use. Only the information that we can use has any real value to us, and the rest of it is noise, and this noise is a distraction that interferes with the successful performance of what we want to do.
Conan Doyle explains this to us in Sherlock Holmes’ first book A Study in Scarlet (1886). Watson discovers that Sherlock doesn’t know the Earth revolves around the Sun.
That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth traveled round the sun appeared to be to me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.
“You appear to be astonished,” he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. “Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.”
“To forget it!”
“You see,” he explained, “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose…”
“But the Solar System!” I protested.
“What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently; “you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”
That 130-year-old comic story is the flip side of FoMO. It’s the intentional missing out on things that will have no impact on one’s personal life or actions. The intent is to maintain one’s abilities to perform what one wants to do by eliminating distractions that waste time, energy and brain space.
These days many people are creating bucket lists of things they want to do before they die. Check out this beautiful bucket list of 866 items from Annette. I noticed that I had done a lot of her bucket list items as part of my life, and not as a special thing in itself, but as part of what I was doing. What bothered me about Annette’s list was that she was doing most of them as a paying tourist, and that is inherently meaningless and using resources that could have accomplished something more useful. For example, when you do something, make it an action that enhances other people’s lives. Even that seeming giving your attention away is useful to your self’s goals because it forms a habit that helps you treat yourself better in the future. At that future time in some way you will be that other person.
You should fear missing out only on things you could do to help other people.