Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Your Transcendental Experience

In a comment, share your Transcendental experience with me and your classmates both as a means of processing for you and also aiding your peers' understanding of this movement.

In your post, at least describe what you did and what you learned from your experience both about this movement and about the extent to which you embrace and can live by its values.

You are welcome to go beyond these requirements, also exploring the questions on your project handout if you would like.

28 comments:

  1. In order to achieve a transcendental state of mind, I decided to limit my speech this last weekend (Saturday and Sunday) to 5 statements per day. The intention of curtailing my speech was to limit any unnecessary or irrelevant statements. This would necessitate thought as a precedent to each of my verbal communications in order for me to ensure that I was making a meaningful and thoughtful contribution to the conversation; not wasting my time and the time of the people around me by making small talk. What's more, by not speaking, I gave myself more opportunities to listen to and develop my own ideas about the statements and opinions of whoever was talking to me. I anticipated that it would be very difficult for me to limit my speech and that I would be pressed to stay under 10. However, I was surprised to come to a similar breakthrough as Thoreau did upon his tax imprisonment. Just as he was able to expand his range of thought and reflection upon the confinement of his body, I too was quickly absorbed in my thoughts and reflections about myself and the world when given the opportunity to focus on them. Being alone with my thoughts for the majority of the weekend helped me to clear my mind of distractions and make true progress in regards to developing beliefs about myself and the things that interest me. This reliance on my original ideas helped to bolster my confidence. I believe this experience was a step towards increasing my self-reliance and I have found that I strongly sympathize with this movement because of its truly American ideology which values solitude and the individual. I believe that if I can continue to strengthen my individuality and become more sure of my ideas, then my ideas will probably be better because they will be the result of more profound thought and undoubtedly be more accurate. Therefore, my contribution to the world will be more insightful and meaningful as the result of a transcendentalist ideology.

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  2. For my transcendental experience I visited a nearby creek and sat in solitude for about two hours. This allowed me to achieve a transcendental state of mind because I was able to think and reflect on myself and certain actions and choices I have made. Acheiving a transcendental mind consists of making peace with yourself and nature, which I had done. This allowed me to gain a deeper meaning of my purpose here on earth and it gave me peace knowing that I am not just here to be busy with school, but I am here to make a bigger impact. Sitting in solitude was indeed hard because I had to cut out time in my busy schedule but it did give me a new perspective on how to live, which is exactly what I needed at this busy time of year.

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  3. For my transcendental project I gave up all electronics for a weekend, except for educational purposes. I realized that giving up all my electronics (TV, computer, Kindle, and cell phone) for a weekend was a lot harder that I thought it was going to be. I also found out though that I ended up spending my time a lot more efficiently, than I usually do. Instead of spending my time watching netflix or checking social media sights I finished all of my homework fairly early, and spent a lot more time with my family. Doing this transcendentalism project made me a lot less stressed in the end and also gave my mind a break from always worrying about what's going on in the world. After completing this project I have decided that giving up electronics was a very good thing for me, but I don't know how long I could go without them. Electronics have become a normal thing in my life and it would be very hard for me to just stop using them. So instead of giving electronics up all together I have decided to chose one day a week to give them up, and maybe move on from there.

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  4. For my Transcendentalism experience I chose to travel to Cherry Creek State Park with only the essential warm clothing and a water bottle. I left non-essentials such as my cell-phone and even things such as sunglasses at home to ensure that I would be as spiritually disconnected from modern society as possible. For about three hours, I wandered throughout Cherry Creek State Park pondering about as many aspects of my own life that I could create into a colorable thought. While exploring my own thoughts, I continued to find ideas of mine that had almost been subconsciously hidden by the hustle-and-bustle of an average modern day. From these newfound ideas, I felt as if I had finally been able to understand the true nature of Transcendentalism. While surrounded by the natural landscape, I was able to feel truly connected to the natural beauty surrounding me, and I knew that the only way a problem could arise out there could happen is if I were to let it happen.One of the large ideas of Transcendentalism that I was able to experience and connect to from Walden was that true peace comes from not only taking the time to, but to desire to make the “time and ability to visit the bottom of the pond in its deepest parts” (Thoreau 242). By allowing oneself to explore the frontiers of your own thinking, you are able to re-establish the link to nature, and the true nature of yourself.

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  5. In order to achieve a transcendentalist mindset, I gave up my cell phone for the weekend. I decided to give this up because I have found that I am drawn to my phone, like my whole life revolves around this piece of technology. I found that by giving up my phone I was able to escape some problems, but not all. I feel as if when a person is left to their thoughts, their thoughts begin to eat the person from the inside out. Giving up my phone made me realize how much I depend on it and also how much of a burden it can be to my life. For instance, my family and I had family game night! This is the first time in ages and I think that perhaps I could be to blame for such the long duration of time due to constantly being attached to my phone. I had to find other distractions to make up for the absence of my phone. When I was left to pondering, it did seem more evident that perhaps my self image could use some reshaping. I began to believe that life was bright and that I was one of the contributing rays to this light. I felt like in order to be a good contributor to society, I should first contribute to myself. The loss of my phone impacted me in both positive and negative ways as was expected. I think that giving up a necessity in one’s life should be on a more personally-driven basis so the person can truly grow from such an experiment, but by having an outside drive, I was able to realize the dependence I have on technology in general. I think the definition of this movement is to examine yourself and once doing so, you can escape this vain reality in which we partake in. Secluding myself from the outside world allowed for insight on my own world. Overall, this experience made it so I allowed myself into the Transcendentalist role in such a Gothic society.

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  6. To achieve a more transcendental state of mind, I decided to spend one day without using the computer as a means of recreation. I would use it only for educational purposes. This included, but was not limited to, playing games on the internet, visiting social media, and listening to music and watching videos on the internet. I chose this project in an attempt to simplify my life and transcend extraneous things that had little to no real purpose. I could easily spend my time that I normally use doing these things in more worthwhile pursuits, such as studying for finals. I found this to be harder than I thought it would be. I didn't realize how hard it would be to not be able to look up my favorite songs on YouTube, or Skype with my sister when I noticed she was on, or simply play a game on the computer when I got tired and frustrated with the stress of finals. Overall, though, it was a freeing experience. I was able to do my homework with much greater efficiency, and really focus on it. It also helped me gain a greater understanding of what it means to be truly transcendental. Though I'm not going to sell all my possessions and live outside anytime soon, I really got a greater understanding of what it meant to get back to the basics, which is basically what Transcendentalism is all about. I don't think I could do this all the time, but I will probably continue to limit the amount of time I spend using the computer for fun. Technology has become such a big part of life today that it is hard to stay disconnected from the internet completely, but maybe a little limiting would be good for me, especially amid the hustle and bustle of this season.

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  7. A transcendental mind set was a goal when I set out on my transcendentalism mini project. In order to achieve said goal, I came home from school and went to a local park for approximately four hours to avoid contact with any family or friends. This included no phone, no music, and no social media. I left myself no way to even entertain the thought of contacting who ever I felt. Though there were many options of how to perform this project, I chose the one I did to find simplicity in life. To relieve some of the pains that society and my culture has placed among me in a variety of ways. Finding the hidden knowledge that lies among every leaf and branch in nature. Going into the project, I was very stressed about school, grades, and finals. I thought that there was no escape from the areas in my life that were causing me trouble within me. I had purposely chosen Monday night because of the large amount of homework that I had, most of which, involved technology such as preparation for History the next day. The overall experience, though helpful, was very difficult for me. I was up until two o’clock that night attempting to finish all of my work due the next day. But, while completing my word, I felt little to no stress and zero worry about what I would have to face the following day and even week, looking back on it now. I realized while outside that in life, especially in school, all I can do is my best and I have to learn to except that. Along with the growth of the sediment , I also learned what it truly means to be transcendental. Being a transcendentalist isn’t just about getting back to the basics of life, its what one learns while living with only the necessities of life. Its also about what one shows to others and the mark they make upon their society. Although that lifestyle isn’t for me, I have learned that I need to believe in myself and in my abilities. Do my best and be proud of what I did. Although I may never become a transcendental in my life, I only spent four hours outside and learned alot. I will return to this method in the future if I need a place to relax and get rid of stress.

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  8. In order to promote Transcendentalism, I gave up television for 4 days and tried to focus on self-reliance. It was a challenging experience because I normally watch television on a daily basis and ignore my personal thoughts about life. I noticed that electronics play a large role in my life and many other people's lives according to other student's posts. I found that media pollutes the minds of many adolescents and influences them. Many forms of entertainment have been provided in order to distract one from true life's potential. My friends and family thought that it was strange that I gave up the ability to watch my favorite television shows because they know that I have an addiction to the media. Avoiding the use of this electronic was extremely challenging, but also rewarding because I felt that my mind had the freedom to think. I was able to have extra time to think about my feelings and who I want to be as a person. Through this process I have learned that I am able to control myself and my attitude towards life in general if I step away from society's many influences. Self-reliance is not natural during this century and has to be worked towards. It is important to learn self-reliance because it gives an individual the ability to lose dependence on family and friends. Self reliance and loss of distractions are important because it teaches us not to be attracted to or take advantage of the use of material objects. In the future, others will not provide us with money and a safe home, we will have to be dedicated and work hard to accomplish what we want in life. Practicing these methods of Transcendentalism improve our personalities and views on life.

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  9. In order to better understand this movement as well as relate to its belief system, I took a long walk along the Highline Canal on Sunday morning. I view transcendentalism as a sort of rising above society and to appreciate the better and more simple aspects of life, to appreciate life in its rawest form. Before the walk, I was stressed out about finals, volleyball and a number of other things. This time, it seemed, gave my mind a chance to run through all of those causes for stress until it simply became sick of the exercise and was at last at peace. Although cold, the walk was serene and peaceful. In terms of self-reliance, it gave me the chance to recollect my thoughts and set right to work on what I needed to get done. However, I do not think that I would want to partake in such a tedious activity very often, as it only relieved my stress for a short amount of time. Also, as much as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau seem to detest society, I rather like it. I feel like I fit into this world that they view as "corrupt". Overall, I appreciated the experience, but do not wish to lead such a dry, stress-less life. I would feel unfulfilled.

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  10. I truly indulged in Transcendentalism this afternoon by going to a park alone for about two and a half hours. I sat in the same place on the swings the entire time. My phone was turned off and there was nothing but my three layers of clothing and I. The cold was extremely uncomfortable after about an hour and a half but I pushed past it to continue my experience. I witnessed the rising of the moon and the setting of the sun. When I first went outside, the sun was still fairly high in the sky. However, when I left the park, the sun had set barely underneath the mountains leaving a myriad of oranges and pinks along the horizon. The moon was to the back of me, and with each minute that passed, the better I could see it. I looked around at the emptiness of the park and I felt silly for the first hour to be all by myself. Thoughts came to me such as: "What if someone saw me sitting alone for 2 hours on a swing?" and "What would they think of me?" But, starting the second hour, my worries transcended into a complete disregardance of their opinions of me. The hours that I spent my time on the swing allowed me to forgot about my worries and recognize different things about myself. Honestly, alone time is extremely healthy for me as an individual because I always plan my life so that I am going at a constant speed of 100 miles per hour. I stress and overthink the future. I tend to get caught up in a routine and lose sight of what really matters most to me in life. Sitting outside put everything in perspective as well as highlighted the simple beauties our world displays. But, I still could hear people and cars pass me by. This made me appreciate humanity because I realized that it's incredible how the literal nature of the outdoors and the nature of people can work together in harmony to create this beautiful world. They are nonexistent without the other. So, I concluded that it is important to receive and live by some transcendentalist mottos. However, humanity is an incredible race and we are meant to live with each other. Ignoring each other is just as ignorant as ignoring nature. So, I understand where Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were coming from when they decided to live out this lifestyle. But, I also think that it is sad that they can't enjoy the good half of society.

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  11. For my transcendentalism project I gave up TV for 3 days and for 1 day I gave up my phone and computer, unless I needed to use it for academic purposes. By doing this I hoped to be able to focus on myself and not see what was happening in the community around me. I wanted to, as the Transcendentalists would say, “not corrupt my individualist purity.” By avoiding social media, I would be able to think in my own mind and not let what was going on in other peoples’ lives influence my thoughts. I also wanted to avoid bad habits, like procrastination which usually happens when I am surrounded by electronics. By making myself avoid using my electronics for recreational purposes, I found that I was less stressed because I finished my homework fast and was able to put my focus on other activities. Something I noticed while doing this project, was how reliant I am to technology. Whenever I was bored I reached for my phone to look at a social media site, but I had to stop myself. The good side to this was that now instead of mindlessly looking through my phone, I used my own mind to entertain myself, which gave me time to think. Everything around me seemed more simplified and I was more relaxed. I learned through this experience that although we live in a society that revolves around technology, it’s good to relax and get back to the basics. I want to limit my dependency on technology, so that I can rely on myself, and let myself come up with its own ideas, rather than reflecting on other lives through social media. It won’t be easy, but I think over winter break I will severely limit my use of technology to let myself think and enjoy the time with family, it’s good for our mental health to really take a break. This project really helped me think transcendentally and focus on my own thoughts.

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  12. In order to partake in a transcendental experience, I gave up listening to music for about two days. I listen to music constantly throughout each day, and I find that I am very attached to it, and it is a large part of my life. Although I love listening to music, I think that it can sometimes be a distraction from my work. By giving up music, I became much more productive, and was able to spend more time relaxing with just me and my thoughts. I noticed how I became less stressed because of this, and really appreciated the extra time I had to spend in peace, no matter how little that amount of time may have been. Although I appreciated this time, I felt as though something was missing. I discovered the important role that music plays in my life, and how much it means to me. I found myself longing to hear music, but resisted the urge to play any. Drifting away from this distraction allowed to me reflect on the morals and values of transcendentalism. When I first explored transcendentalism, I thought it was a cool concept, because I enjoy spending time in nature when I get the chance, but then I realized that I would never be able to spend a very large amount of time in nature away from society. This caused me to wonder why anyone would do something like that. It came to my attention that I have a normal routine each day of my life, and even though the order of this routine may be switched around at times, I don't travel far from it. After doing something as little as giving up music for a short while, my eyes were opened to how peaceful it is when I am less stressed. I now find it easier to understand why someone would become a transcendentalist, yet I still cannot imagine being secluded from society for a long period of time. I have become so used to having all of the technological advances of today's world at my fingertips, that wandering too far away from them would be a challenge for me.

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  13. For my transcendental project I went without social media and You Tube for six days. On the first day my project seemed easy but as the days went on it became difficult and I found myself wondering about what I was missing. On Monday during lunch a friend told me she had seen something hilarious on twitter and everyone around the table talked about how they had seen it too. At first I felt a little left out and wished that I could read the tweet. Later I realized that when I wasn’t spending a lot of time online I had more time to pursue things that benefited me even if I missed out on a funny tweet. I decided to quit worrying about what I was missing and instead I focused on the benefits of a simple life. Without being able to see what my friends were doing all the time through social media I started focusing on myself and what I wanted to do. As I became more concerned with my life I found myself entering a transcendental state of mind. After the six days were over instead of going right back on the internet I decided to go for a run to debrief my experience. I got out on a trail near my house and took out my music for 30 minutes so I could think about the last six days. I started off thinking about why I had chosen social media instead of like texting or other experiences I was caught up in. Social media for me had become a place where I would compare myself to others. Thoreau and our other transcendentalist authors would not want me to think about how others compared to me. I also thought about how the last few days had changed me and I compiled a list of before and after in my head. I found more positives in the after category than in the before. This led me to conclude that I didn’t like how social media had led me to lead my life overall. I resolved that I really respect transcendentalist ideals and I want to use them in my thinking when I am on social media. I plan to limit my online time more than I usually do so I can focus on self reliance and not depend on what others think of me. I hope that in the future I can explore more transcendentalist ideals so I can become more of an individual.

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  14. For my transcendental experience, I sat on the park bench on the path in my neighborhood for about a hour and a half. I left everything other than myself at home. I'm usually very busy and my activities are often with many other people, and I don't find myself alone with my thoughts much other time than when I'm going to sleep. Since transcendentalism is a huge supporter of individuality and self reliance, I decided to put myself in a situation where I literally could not rely on anyone else to guide my thought processes, in order to see where it took me. Within the first fifteen minutes I almost gave up. I found that my thoughts seemed to consume me. I over thought and re-thought every little problem I have in my life. I thought about what I should have said in conversations, what I should have done at practice last night, what I shouldn't have done over the summer, among many other things. It felt never ending, and it was actually sort of scary. Then, I looked around at the open space and my thoughts took a turn. I actually made a mental note of how I felt instantly better when I just relaxed. I stopped over thinking, and just enjoyed my own company. It's so easy to forget that my little problems are finite, and that they could be much worse. Not only that, but also that I am creating these problems myself. I believe transcendentalism is effective in helping people come to terms with the basics of life and how living with only these things can be beneficial. While I am not a supporter of living off the land and cutting all ties with family and friends, I think I realized after my experience that it's important to my sanity that I take a break from modern life sometimes. I want to be someone that will be remembered for my sanity if nothing else. I want people to say, "Wow, Sarah was grounded." I want to find solitude often enough to truly get to know myself, not the person I am on social media, and around others. I want to impact the world by being so confident in who I am and what I stand for that I won't ever question myself and I will inspire others to do the same. Transcendentalists are all about this. They believe that everyone should do their own thing based on their own beliefs and thoughts and I agree. Being alone with nature for even just a hour and a half really put this into perspective for me. I hope to continue this journey of learning more about who I am and what I truly need in my life.

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  15. My transcendental experience involved doing my yoga outside on my front lawn yesterday instead of in the comfort of my room. It was cold, uncomfortable, and there were these two really obnoxious birds that kept making the type of noise you'd expect to hear in the 9th circle of hell. I tried my best to think deep thoughts but my yoga mat kept slipping on the snow and ice and it was like zero degrees. I continued my routine until the very end although I was unable to grasp quite what the transcendentalists experienced when they were in nature. I found that I much preferred the comfort of my room. While I can understand how exorbitance is harmful, it seems that the other extreme is just as pernicious. As with many things, it seems living is viewed as a dichotomy; either you live richly or simply. This is not only a disingenuous idea but also a destructive one as it leaves out the path that can perhaps bring about the most happiness: the middle one. In the same way that multiplying two negative numbers produces a positive one, it would seem that by combining two detrimental methods you get an advantageous one which is why I've always tried to live with balance.

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  17. To find myself and to become more transcendental I challenged myself to not using my phone for ONE WHOLE WEEK. I began this challenge Wednesday December 4th, and continued until the next Wednesday, December 11th. I chose this as my project because I am always on my phone and it is always with me distracting me from life at the time. I am not really sure why I let my phone get this attached to my life… There is no need because when I was younger, I didn't have these things and I managed to live. I only allowed myself to one social media, so I chose Twitter, giving up the others because I thought that it would challenge me more. Talking to my parents before, and knowing my busy schedule, I knew I was going to have to use my phone for its basic purposes… but I only used it in necessary situations. To make sure I only used it in emergencies I had my mom de-activate my phone for the week, meaning I could only use the emergency texts when I was connected to wifi. Which meant that if I needed to contact someone I needed to be self-reliant and find a way to do so. I usually ended up asking someone if I could borrow their phone and then immediately gave it back. During the first few days I struggle big time keeping off other social medias and cutting back on Twitter as well not being able to text at my leisure. But as the week went on it became easier and easier to let go of the not necessities and get back to life in the now. In the big scheme of things, giving up my phone made me realize how much I was missing out on because my face was in my phone. It gave me an appreciation of life that I had never seen before, I was able to dig deeper in to my life and relationships as well. Transcendentalists would say "get back to basics" and so that is what I did. All though I allowed myself to look at one social media I found myself not doing so as much, because without the phone part I realized I didn't really need anyones opinions in my life. I could finally focus on myself and the things that truly mattered. I believe that because of this I am more calm, I focused on myself and found things that needed to be changed and because of that I was actually able to do so. I am really excited that I found these flaws because without this realization I would have probably lost some friendships along the way. When I brought the idea to the table my family thought it was a great idea so that we could focus on us as a unit and become closer, my friends also agreed, yet they were sometimes annoyed that they couldn't reach me. I have learned that I have many flaws, too many to count, and they were continuously getting worse because of the use of my phone, and technology. Continuing this process I think I will most likely try and get rid of some of my social medias and get back to the basics and relationships in my life.

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  18. For my transcendental experience, I spent an afternoon at the lake at Chatfield State Park away from the outside influences of school, all forms of media, and any conversation. Being in nature was a sanctuary for my mind fleeing the barrage of thoughts about my daily world. This escape gave me the separation and solitude to search for my own thoughts on what is most important in life. I learned that a transcendental getaway was very helpful and manageable. I enjoyed the peace and clear mind I had during this experience, and I can see transcendental getaways are like a Sabbath; a day of rest. While I can embrace the values of solitude and separation for a short amount of time, I would not be interested in long term separation or solitude from society. In addition to this type of experience, simplifying is another ideal of transcendentalism. It is not easy to give up things I have learned to live with, but I could simplify my life by reducing the number of possessions, minimizing distractions of a busy schedule, and decreasing the use of multiple electronics. Possessions, other than what is necessary to live, aren't truly needed, but society tells me otherwise. Having less on my schedule would free me to slow down the pace of life. Decreasing electronics would open my mind to think freely and to rely less on technology. Society breeds a fast pace of life with technological advances promising bigger, better, faster. Slowing down offers a look inside of yourself to see what you really think and feel. By simplifying, I can get rid of things that take up time, but another area I waste time is in the details of life. Society stresses perfection, down to the very last detail and the details are where I get caught up and spend too much time. Nature is not perfect, but it endures. When I'm in nature I remember how small I am in the world. I focus on insignificant things in my world because they seem big to me. When I step outside of my world and into nature, I see that they are not. This transcendental experience gave perspective on what is not truly important and from that, I can establish and strive to fulfill a meaningful purpose.

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  19. In order to achieve a more transcendental state of mind, I went all Saturday without using any screens: my phone, TV, any type of video game, and only using my computer for homework. On a regular basis, I am constantly on my phone, mostly utilizing social media but also texting, calling, and even playing Candy Crush. When I am not connected to society in the forms of Twitter, Instagram, snapchat, Facebook, or contacting people in any other way, I almost want to break down because I don’t know what to do. Netflix is also a go-to for me when I am bored and feel like I have nothing else to do. Isolating myself for only a full day was an extreme challenge for me because I am not familiar with what to do without these items. I put my phone in a drawer so I wasn’t tempted to scroll through anything, and kept my computer in my room so I wouldn’t be tempted to open it out of habit. For the first few hours of the day, I was constantly reaching for my pocket to text someone or look up a song before I realized it wasn’t there. I swear I even felt a buzzing in my pocket even though my phone wasn’t there, though I was probably just paranoid. After I got used to the realization that I was not going to be connected for the day, I started embracing the fact that I should be doing something productive. I got most of my homework done before Sunday, which almost never happens. Although I thought I was going to be bored out of my mind, I actually came to realize that there are plenty of other things that I could be engaging in instead. I got to spend more time with my family and have actual conversations with them without pulling out my phone every five minutes. I hate to admit it, but I actually enjoyed having freedom from it and not stressing over what the rest of the world is up to. Transcendentalism is about isolating yourself from stress-inducing behaviors, and I think I was very successful by the end of the day. I wasn’t sure about it before, but now I know what Emerson and Thoreau mean when they talk about how living simply brings you more peace. I don’t think I could do something like this often, but when I get the chance I will try to embrace giving my bad habits up for a while and learning to relax.

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  20. This is actually the official end of my transcendental experience, because part of it was not to go onto certain sites (of which this is one). For my project, I chose to go an entire week without my laptop. If I ever did need a computer, I was restricted to the arapahoe website, infinite campus, and google docs, all for academic purposes. Usually, I use my computer all the time, especially after school to get my homework done, and after that to waste my free time. But this week, I had to find other ways to use my free time. Having limited use on computers really put me in a transcendentalist mindset, even though I didn't really miss my computer. It was easy to go a week without it, and I could certainly go a lot longer. It was really the mental aspect that affected me. Just being conscious of the fact that I was being more transcendental changed my week. It helped me to be more self-reliant, and to depend more on myself for entertainment. Other than that, though, it was extremely easy. I found that I'm already a pretty transcendental person, and I'm already very self-reliant, and it was hard to even think of an idea for this project. I could live by the values of transcendentalism very easily, except for the fact that there are some aspects of it with which I completely disagree. But in terms of self reliance, and sticking to my own beliefs, and not conforming to the rest of society, I already do that a lot. Though, it was a little inconvenient, (though not difficult), to not use my computer. I will go back to using it after this, because it's much more helpful than it is harmful. Over all, I think people can benefit from a little transcendentalism in their lives, but it shouldn't go to extremes nor be our main focus.

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    1. Also, I learned that when you don't use your computer for a week, you end up accidentally posting stuff in your little brother's name on another computer. Whoops. Sorry.
      This is actually Sarah.

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  21. For my transcendentalist project, I killed two birds with one stone. Friday, December 7th was my state competition and for every competition we have to put our phones on airplane mode for the entire day. We do this so we can focus more and so we are completely shut out from the outside world. I especially payed attention to my behavior this time around and noticed a few things. I noticed that I cheated three times and took my phone off of airplane mode to check my text messages.
    I was paranoid that someone had to get in touch with me and I would miss it. The only things that I missed were messages from friends wishing me good luck and to let them know how it went. I realized that I would have been much happier if I wouldn't have cheated and just kept it off until the competition ended.
    Transcendentalists must lie such a peaceful, calm life. All that they have to think about is what is happening in the now. Not a tweet that someone posted an hour ago, not a text from last week, and not a call that they have to make tomorrow. It would definitely be a major challenge for me to give up all of my material, technological items, forever. I have grown up with a computer and a phone, so not having one available to constantly check would be so difficult for me personally.

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  22. For my transcendentalist project I decided like many other students to sit in solitude outside for two hours. I decided to complete this task at the Arapahoe baseball field because that’s the place I feel most peaceful and at home without actually being at my home. To be completely honest I was kind of grumpy going into this project because I didn’t want to sit outside and freeze to death for hours. I also wanted to be studying for finals so I could be doing something “productive” with my time. All though I had this mind set I did it anyway. I turned off my phone and left it at home so I could get the full experience. I got to the field and laid down in the outfield thinking “I’m freezing”. For about the first five minutes all I could think of were the reasons I didn’t want to be doing this. After that my mind started to wander. I felt completely relaxed which wasn't something I felt very often. My mind took over my body in a way. After that point I couldn’t feel the cold. All I was thinking about was all the happy things in my life. It was almost like my imagination took over my whole body. One thing that kept popping up in my brain were all the great vacations I had been on with my family during my childhood. I remembered when my parents said we were going somewhere special and that we would love it. They refused to tell both me and my brother because they wanted it to be a surprise. I remembered how they blindfolded us in the airport which I’m sure looked kind of odd to other passengers thinking back on it. Finally after four hours we got to take our blindfolds off and there we were. Standing right in front of the biggest cruise ship I had ever seen. When I was thinking about this I almost saw it in more detail in my imagination than I did in real life. Right in the middle of my vivid dream my mom’s car pulled up and she said that it had been two hours. I couldn’t believe this. It only felt like 30 minutes. I didn’t expect to like this adventure nearly as much as I did.

    I certainly know I could never be an extreme transcendentalist but there are some things in my life I would like to change. For example, every minute I’m not doing school work, I’m hanging with my friends. Yes this is fun but it makes me feel really stressed during the school week because I haven’t had any time to relax. What I’m going to do more often is take one day on the weekend and just relax. Lay down and do nothing all day. I feel like my stress level would go way down and I would just be a happier person in general.

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  23. For my Transcendentalism project, I did not spend personal money for five days. I allowed myself to buy one lunch from the cafeteria, through a lunch account that my mom contributes to. I didn't buy Starbucks, lunch across the street, go to the movies with friends, go shopping, etc.. I was presented opportunities to do all of these things, but I declined. I did this project to challenge myself on various aspects of Transcendentalism: carrying yourself in the presence of all opposition, thinking independently, and self-reliance. I had to bring and make lunch every day and had to depend on myself rather than others (shops and businesses) to provide my person with necessities.
    I chose to do this as my project, because it made me deeply think through impulse choices. It made me realize that I frequently spent money on things that wouldn't last long, things that weren't of the "real" world. Also, Transcendentalism is about making your own decisions, not ones of the world or of your friends. In all of my experiences where I had to decline spending money, I was being persuaded by others to spend my money in this way, although sometimes I didn't really want to. The world and society teach us that it is ok to completely spend our money on useless things, drinks and lunches that won't last more than an hour. Instead, I carefully thought through all of my decisions and as a result found myself spending time wisely and saving up money for more meaningful things in life.
    Near the end of the five days, I found myself at peace with not having to worry about having enough money with me for these things or transferring money between my bank accounts. I realized that although I had not intentionally intended to, I had found peace through my project. I also learned the meaning of "the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude"(Emerson 2). It is easier to not spend money by yourself, but when you are with others wanting to spend money it is much more difficult to stand alone.
    Overall, I really learned more what Transcendentalists went through being different and the inner struggles they fought to not go back. This project brought me peace and knowledge, but it was a challenge to not spend money for five whole days. I also learned how to think my decisions more through from my own standpoint without other's contributions.

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  24. In order to procure a transcendental state of mind I decided that everyday of this week, instead of having a snack when I got home from school, I would go outside and take walks and sit around to quench my mind of irrelevant, normal teenage thoughts. During my reflection at the beginning of the week, I realized that even without other people around to skew my thoughts I still would return to thoughts about school related topics and the upcoming break. As I tried to go deeper with these ideas and get past school to reach a transcendental state I would get stressed and overwhelmed with thoughts about better ways to manage my time. However as the week went on this experience proved to have some positives. Spending time outside let me blow off some steam and relieve the stress I was creating with my unproductiveness more so than watching TV, or playing on my phone at home would have. As the days went on, my mind eventually got bored with thoughts of homework, tests, and weekend activities, and it would just start to wander. Some of the things I thought about I could relate back to my life and other thoughts were completely new ideas which I can not really explain. I learned that for me transcending is just the act of letting your mind wander, and that is why transcendentalists are all so very unique in the way they define and go about transcending. If all you thought about was money and then you experienced life without it and enjoyed the freedom then maybe you transcend more like Daniel Suelo. When I was outside I felt like I was doing my own thing, and thats what I thought Ralph Waldo-Emerson would want me to do, and I felt like I was connecting with nature like Henry David Thoreau did. All these connections came about just because of my daydreaming and it is kind of incredible to think about how the brain works, maybe as humans we were created for a life filled with solitude, so we could make great discoveries like some of these transcendentalists.

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  25. For my transcendental I made the decision not to change my normal routine. Although this project was as opportunity to try something new and expand my horizons, I am very happy with my life and who I am. While it would have been easy for me to give up a possession or spend time in nature, I thought it would be more of a challenge for me to force myself not to act on the suggestions we were given. If I spent the week doing something to fulfill the project, I wouldn’t have been doing it to better myself but rather to receive a good grade. I think the Transcendental movement is about standing up for what you believe in regardless of what you are told to do. I don’t feel that I would be being true to myself if I changed who I am simply for a grade. The learning we have done in class has influenced my thinking and I want to take parts of the movement and apply them to my life. I had a hard time justifying any action I could perform for my project. Even while submitting this I still want to quickly make something up. Not doing anything for the project was a risk for me. But it is a risk that I am willing to take in order to stay true to who I am.

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  26. For my transcendental experience I chose to give up watching movies for the entire week. Usually I watch at least one movie every night, so giving this up was difficult because I didn't know what to do with myself. Going somewhere and spending time alone was also an idea for this transcendental experience and cutting out movies gave me the opportunity to do that also. After the first night, when I was sitting at home wondering how to occupy myself, I found that I began to think about my life and all the problems I had going on. It was overwhelming because when I watch movies, I just focus on the story and how those characters feel and not about myself. Although the thoughts of all my problems scared me, having that solitude also gave me time to work through some of these issues. I was able to come up with ways to fix these issues and that made me feel happy with my decision to give up movies. Giving up movies also resulted in less procrastination of my homework. Usually, I would put off homework to watch a movie because it would relax me and I would just leave it all for my off hours the following day, however, without movies, I would finish it all the day before.This experience helped my understanding of the movement because it showed me that what Chris McCandless and Daniel Suelo did isn't all pointless. It is actually relaxing since they don't have to worry about anything but themselves. I think after this experience, I will start to decrease the amount of movie watching that I do and start focusing on my own thoughts and ideas rather than those of the movies because I found that I can not only be relaxed by watching movies, but also by focusing on myself in solitude.

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  27. As an attempt to partake in a Transcendentalist experiment, starting Sunday night, I banned myself from using the internet and television, except for education purposes. This included Netflix, social networking sites on my iPhone, and watching movies on my laptop. For three days straight I succeeded in my experiment, ending it on Wednesday night. In order to allow myself to completely rely on my thoughts only and other activities to occupy my time, I had to move all of my apps to a separate page on my phone. Much like the FOMO project, in which I didn’t go on social networks for twenty four hours, I found myself swiping through my phone out of habit, surprised to find my apps gone. Staying away from the TV and movies was surprisingly easier than I thought, but might have been different if it were a weekend and I had more time on my hands to sit around. The only reason I allowed myself to keep my phone at all was to stay in contact with my parents when I was at school or out, seeing that I can’t drive. The school scene without using my phone was easy, because we aren’t allowed to be using our phones during class any way. I spent my off hours doing homework, only using the computer if needed. After school, I found myself accomplishing my homework more efficiently than usual. I wasn’t getting distracted by Snapchat notifications or the latest Instagram needs, which allowed me to use my time more efficiently. The rest of my nights were occupied with practices and games, and spending time with my family. The time that hit me the most was right before bed. I have fallen into the routine of spending my time on social networks and playing games on my phone before I fall asleep, sometimes even keeping me awake. A few times I found myself looking at my blank phone screen and wondering what to do, then realizing there were a million other things I could be doing. This is the point where I had the best opportunity to embrace Transcendentalist ideals. Instead of finding myself lost in the thoughts of others through pictures and statuses, I found myself lost in my own thoughts. I learned to think freely and reflect on the day, instead of rely on technology to fill up my time. I found the entire journey easier than the FOMO project, because instead of waiting until the time was up, I had the opportunity to embrace self-reliance and find my own ways to occupy my time. Leaving my thoughts to myself at the end of the day seemed like the equivalent of solitude, which encourages people to live with only the basics of life and only things that can be beneficial to a clean state of mind. I am tempted to try the experiment again for a longer period of time, or only allowing myself to use the internet for recreational purposes on the weekends. I realized that I rely too much on entertainment on not enough on myself, and there are easy ways to change that. I don’t believe in living off the land or cutting ties with the people and things that mean something to you to become a Transcendentalist, but in order to live life in the most beneficial way, small things such as relaxation and embracing the little things can make the biggest difference.

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