What Shall We Do?

The Question

Can you answer the question "what shall we do"? As in, what are we as people, supposed to do today? Continuing, what shall we do tomorrow?

I find this is a question I return to over and over again. I enjoy philosophising and self reflecting. Once in that theoretical world, there are a multitude of questions and a multitude of levels on which you can analyze this human experience. I like the question what shall we do because it has immediate real-world consequences. It cuts directly to the point where the rubber meets the road.

My Answer

As a framework for human action, I propose that we can seek to manipulate space and to inhabit space. Naturally, let's break down those two concepts.

When I picture manipulating space, I picture action. Currently I'm sitting at the island in my kitchen as I pen this essay. Before I sat down to write, I took time for a few small chores. I hung up some birthday cards that my kids made for their mother. I also prepared a nice morning mug of elderberry, lemon, and honey tea. I'm working in this space, I'm working on this space.

A final action that I'll add is that I also set an intention before I began writing this article. I sought to be present, to be aware. When I sat down, I took a slow deliberate breath.

Manipulating Space

  • moving physical objects in a space
    • organizing
    • decorating
    • building
    • moving to a different location
  • modifying the emotional energy of a space
    • making a comment that might make a friend feel at ease
    • setting an internal intention before performing a task

Inhabiting Space

Next we come to the idea of inhabiting space. This is a measure of how fully you come into a space. I mean this in an energetic or poetic sense. I've heard "the self" described as a "clenched muscle". The idea is that our personalities, our sense of self is in some way a clinging. We bundle up what is us in order to maintain an identity and simply to survive. This is natural and fundamental to human existence.

Though, as we live our lives, as we move through our days, there are times and places where we can release some of this tension. We can relax into a space. This is the idea of inhabiting space. The idea is to come fully into a space, to inhabit it. To relax the clenched self and expand into the present space. This involves being emotionally available, being physically integrated, and inherently exposing some venerability.

Wrapping It Up

There you have the two energies, manipulating space and inhabiting space. For myself, this has become a useful metaphor. I often seek to do the one to empower the other. I find myself working to manipulate the space around me in order to be able to more fully inhabit it. For you, it may be useful to inhabit a space in order to understand and manipulate it more.

Best of luck out there today.

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