Where I’m at…

Lately, I’ve been seeing and hearing from lots of new folks coming here thanks to my appearance in the Minimalism documentary which recently started running on Netflix. Very cool and humbling, to say the least. So, this is a post to help folks find what they may be looking for and where to dig in to find more.

Posts here generally run on a “when I have something to say that belongs here” schedule. I post far more frequently right now at Rhoneisms. That’s my place for shorter essays and thoughts.

Go here if you’d like to buy the book enough which was mentioned in the film.

All of my books are available for purchase here.

I have also posted many things here around the subject of enough. You may enjoy reading how I increasingly subscribe to an Amish approach to technology, a great way to make your Twitter timeline more sane, or how we are better off when we choose tools and methods that are proven. All of these and more are about the choices that lead to a more simple and meaningful life.

I also have a free newsletter that has been warmly received. The schedule, format, and topics are irregular but I’m confident that those that subscribe find something helpful show up in their email inboxes every once in a while. Take a look at the archive if you’d like to get a sense of what I write about there.

Finally, I love being a guest on podcasts, email interviews, and any other engagement where I can reach and help more people. My info page tells you everything you need about me and how to get in touch. Please do.

I’m a writer. Writing is how I make this world a better, friendlier, stronger place. If these words improved your day, please let me know by contributing here.

Right Livelihood

Right Livelihood is the fifth precept in the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path. I have found this one the most difficult for me to find a way to apply to my online interactions and communications (and, thus, write about).

The precept is meant to speak to the way we make income or take on tasks. It discourages making any profit from those businesses or dealings which harm others, ourselves, or otherwise do not respect life. In the Buddha’s time, this spoke to things such as drug dealing, weapon manufacturing or sales, slavery, butchery, and even fortune telling. While I’m sure there are people using social media tools like Twitter and Facebook to help facilitate such transactions, I have not had any first hand experience with such. I certainly do not traffic in any of these nor do I ever plan to. Therefore, it would be easy for me to call this one "done" and move along.

But, I don’t think any of us should get off so easily when navigating the Eightfold Path. Each precept is meant as a prompt for our deeper consideration. Therefore, I feel compelled to seek any way my business dealings might be falling short of my greater spiritual goals. In a way, to borrow the popular Christian meme, I find myself asking "What would the Buddha do?".

Is the price of my products a fair one on both sides of the transaction? Am I paying too much attention to impermanent metrics like sales, downloads, or followers? Am I advertising my products and services in a way that is boastful, deceptive, or insensitive? All of these could just as easily fall under and be addressed by the concepts within Right Livelihood.

Right livelihood also stresses that we do not take our work for granted. That all of our actions, especially our daily tasks, are the result of all that came before and simply a contribution to a greater whole. That pride and hubris in our success is simply a recipe for suffering when change in such inevitably occurs so we should not dwell on it. So, to use social media to constantly promote our good work and congratulate ourselves on our own success simply makes this insecurity apparent to the world. Work that is consistently good speaks for itself.

I use the concept of Right Livelihood to remind me to keep my focus on doing work that contributes to the greater good, that is meaningful and helpful to those that choose to purchase my products and services, to humbly realize that any failures or successes will be fleeting, and that the most mindful path is to simply continue to do good work.

As the old Zen proverb says, "Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.