Love is the will to extend yourself for the purpose of allowing yourself and others to express your/their own way of being human (definition inspired by Scott Peck). To accept and welcome everything. Not to shape someone around your own needs, but like a rock yields to the chisel, make yourself porous and absorbent to their touch, being so intimately vulnerable that it will cut away your dead flesh. In a constant flux of change, trust that what is cut, is not you. It was dead already, and only ballast. (Iris Murdoch, Judith Butler, Alain Badiou, Rainer Maria Rilke, Khalil Gibran, Scott Peck)
To die means to let go of all qualifications, of all stories about yourself and the world. It makes fears and preferences become groundless, because without stories, nobody is there. It opens the gate for a deeper calling: that a life may be revealed through your body and mind. A skillful death brings life. You learn to live life dangerously: fearless and in complete surrender to love. And when you are finally summoned, pregnant with aliveness, you can fall backwards into Death’s warm embrace, fully satisfied and without regrets. (Jean Klein, Gilles Deleuze, Osho, Marie De Hennezel)
In the face of death, what is worth living for? Regardless of your impact, after a while nobody will remember you (How often did you think about Alexander the Great today?). Your loved ones will all pass, and any tangible impact you made will fade out (Do you know the name of the grandmother of your grandmother?). When you accept that everything changes and nothing lasts, what is still worth doing? A calling goes beyond a life’s mission or a self-chosen purpose. It is a way of being present, without project, following an intimate intuition, not expecting, not seeking. Accepting and welcoming things as they are, inside you and in the world. Without assumption or judgement listen to what is there. Without fear or preference allow it to break through from within. So that through your body and mind, a life may be revealed. (Alan Watts, Gautama Buddha, Eric Baret, Jean Klein, Gilles Deleuze, Henri Bergson)
To make optimal use of the conceptual mind, without becoming enslaved by it. Celebrating our shared inquiry and understanding, without limiting life to what can be expressed though language or what can be logically conveyed. Beyond the spoken truth, creating happenings that unveil what is real. Sharing practice rather than belief. Intensely experiencing what it means to be alive, so fully trusting and immersed in it, that the quest for meaning dissolves. (Karen Armstrong, Joseph Campbell, Gilles Deleuze, Martin Heidegger, Abhinavagupta)
In a time of populist indoctrination and commercial manipulation, it is increasingly difficult to stand still, just be with what is, without the need to change anything. It requires resisting the societal pressures to conform, consume, perform, produce, be healthy and be happy. We make ourselves vulnerable to these pressures by self-imposing instrumental (economical) reasoning: “How is this useful? What does it bring me or us?”. It kills all creativity that doesn’t make a demonstrable contribution. Instead, we propose a sanctuary for uselessness. Protected from outside pressures, it allows for activities and states that have no other value than their intrinsic, esthetic, and/or sensual pleasure. No added value, no performance indicators, no evaluation; just the sheer joy of expression (Charles Taylor, Brian Massumi, Erin Manning)
At the frontier of an intense desire, when carried till an excess of fulfillment, it loses its enticing spell, and its emptiness is revealed. On the other hand, pre-emptive moderation can prevent you from digging deep enough to connect to a vital source, or from rising high enough to overlook your life’s maze and gain new insights. Beyond good and evil, we try to capture the vitality of intensity and excess, seizing the productive tension between erupting extremes.
The freedom to propose your own way of being human is not guaranteed by the absence of external restrictions. When you are unaware of outside influences and internalized conditionings, an apparent freedom of choice leads to alienation: you freely choose a life that doesn’t fit you (think about the high prevalence of proudly choosing to work towards a burn-out). Perversely, the freedom of choice forces you to identify with that “chosen” life, as if it were you, thereby pushing you further away from and obscuring the origin within. Constraints can protect you. Fasting and abstinence can reset the senses, thereby intensifying subsequent pleasure. Solitude can bring self-recognition, thereby making deeper connections possible. Not getting what you think you want, helps you cleanse the conditionings and dullness at the inside, paving the way for a real choice. (Michel Foucault, Carl Jung, Brian Massumi, Erin Manning)