Friday, February 24, 2006

Structure hunger

Apparently we all need structure. This is supposed to be a psychological need. And if you start from the extreme lack of structure it makes some kind of sense. But it also illustrates the firmly held beliefs of some that less structure has its own advantages too.

I'm talking about the experiences of monks, shaman, and various others who retreated to places devoid as much as possible of stimulation. Places like deserts, remote islands and caves. Here they experienced no social contact, no daily routines, in caves no day or night, perhaps here too they even deliberately deprived themselves of any light at all. The images and writings we have hint at hallucination as well as transcendent spiritual experiences. Maybe the two are indivisible.

A far cry from the modern world perhaps. But the flexibility of my chosen lifestyle requires careful tweaking to ensure that I have enough structure for my well-being. There are times when I create structure, but few when I have too much. On balance this is as it should be. The structure I create can be temporary, original and firmly in the present, rather than ingrained habit, inherited, and based in the past. Lack of routine invites me to constantly review the balance of flexibility and structure, and to renew aspects of my life as often as it feels right. In many ways it is challenging, and overall I feel more alive and aware than I ever remember.

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