Men go and come, but earth abides.
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I have a meditation I like to use. I imagine myself up above a river, looking straight down. I take the time to imagine the water and the way the light plays off it, the dirt and the sticks, and the rocks that make up the banks, the trees that create the shade, the sounds and the smells that make up the scene. I try to hold all of that in my mind.
Building the scene is a fun challenge, I'm actively creating something, but holding the scene gets dull pretty quick. My mind starts to wander and, while the scene is still in my mind, I start to remember assignments I need to complete, the times I made an ass of my self, movie scenes that make me laugh.
As I try to hold this simple image thoughts constantly bubble up from my sub-conscious and my conscious mind is trying to grab them, hold them, examine and be distracted by them. And this is the meditation - my goal isn't to suppress those thoughts, it's to gently hold them as they bubble up then place them in the river to watch them drift away. It's a practice of allowing my thoughts to surface, appreciating those thoughts, then letting them go to allow others to arrive.
I've been doing it for several years and it's gotten much easier to get in that river state of mind, which I think is the space you're trying to make available.
I like this personality system called the enneagram.
Essentially, you find your type and it'll help you understand how you act in times of stress and times of success. By understanding how you act, you can recognize when you're in a low point. It also details why we sink to our low points and the steps each type needs to take to get out of it.
When I'm feeling low, it doesn't help to have my wife make a plan because I don't understand how I'm feeling. But when I use a system like the enneagram, I have a better idea of what's going on and can see why certain actions help.
It's a neat system.
To me, it's some homogeneity of belief. I like the farm because it acts as a social safety net - if conversation gets difficult or awkward, you can retreat to what you know is a shared belief by everyone who's there. It keeps the connections from drying up completely.
I'm not sure I get the context of the Heinlein quote though.
Nail on the head.
I think about this a lot with churches. My wife has been looking for a church that's more diverse. She found one that had a lot of racial diversity, but most of the members were in the local divinity program and she just didn't click with any of them.
Now we're at this farm where everyone has similar ideas on the value of food, but there are widely different backgrounds and beliefs (though most of us are white.) She likes this group more, but feels guilty because in her eyes it's less diverse.
In the latter location, we're exposed to a broader range of opinions and experiences, but they feel less diverse (to her) because they're all processed through a similar lens.
I'm not saying one's right - but I do believe a community requires some degree of homogeneity to at least start to mix together.
I don't know how much I buy this. My wife is one of three kids. Their mom raised them for a while, while their dad worked as a teacher. Then their dad took some time off while their mom worked as a teacher. They're all well educated and, for the most part, well adjusted and they were all planned for - but based on your premise they were working -2 jobs while raising their family.
I'm thinking about my sister who, with her husband, is very well off. And yeah, I'm sure raising a kid as they know it takes a massive chunk out of their income - their kids want for pretty much nothing. But I also think there are ways to raise kids that aren't so detrimental.
I'm not trying to say kids aren't expensive, but I do think there's a bit of a fiscal boogeyman around kids, especially among the well educated.