For those equipped with it, sight is foremost among all the senses and as such plays a profound part in the theatrical play of social life. Appearance, especially including all manner of artificial and augmented alterations, is an investment strategy, a statement about oneself, an outward philosophy, a ladder to higher social echelons, a protective guardian, a vessel to a higher spiritual plane, an irresistible force of attraction, and a deception technique.
In many ways it is a weapon, however, one could ask whether it is the wielder who is wielding it, or whether it is the weapon that is wielding the wielder. Does the woman following the latest beauty standards use them to further her own personal philosophy of life, or are the beauty standards using the woman to further the agenda of those invested in them, to the woman’s detriment?
Does the bodybuilder with his perfected-beyond-reasonable physique overcome his hitherto assumed insufficiency, or is his outward caricatured masculinity masking the insecurities hidden deep inside?
Does the veiled woman shield herself from the exploitation, intrusions and temptations hindering her from obtaining a deeper connection with God, or is the veil actually unveiling her perhaps unconscious inclination to conform to the standards of those whose approval she thinks she needs?
We all play our parts, but do we do so out of free will, or are we simply subjected to the totalitarian rule of expectations and delusional ideas? The characteristic most notably defining humanity is the ability to choose freely between what is right and what is wrong, and yet most of us are not aware of that ability and choose to submit ourselves to what seems to be a free choice, yet what in fact it is nothing but an act of voluntary submission to psychological slavery.
Only through a nonjudgmental, mindful awareness and embrace of what reveals itself in life and in the mind, will emerge the elusive treasure of true free will. Only then can it be said that our altered appearance is our own free choice.
They come from the unexplored cave of the unconsciousness, emotional turmoil born out of the lava pit of the unexpected, unleashed into your far too convenient and comfortable world of self-contentment. Those foul hellions are sent with one purpose: to haunt you, to morph into suffering, tragedy, fear, anger and the seed of corruption: change. You run away to escape the chaos of this experience, only to find out that the stress, the umbilical cord of tension, cannot be cut, and will pull you back into the cesspool of psychological agony.
Then along comes a notorious savior: the deceitful succubus, with her whip of obsession, whispering sweet promises of blissful escape, through a tunnel of forgetfulness, away from the chaos, luring you to what seems the perfect order of ecstasy and fulfilled desire. Only then do you find out that no paradise lies on the other side, and the tunnel transitions into a loop of reinforcement, keeping you stuck in the same nightmarish cycle with ever-increasing desperation, and ever-decreasing relief.
Is there a way out? The grasp of the whip is tight, and the charms of the succubus are hard to resist, but once you figure out that all the shimmer and shine are actually chaos and stress incarnate, you can embrace the tension of this instrument of chaos and, knowing you cannot really fight this supernatural creature, you just endure, allowing the corruption to spread and threaten to overwhelm you, but holding on to the idea that this grotesque being may have manipulated you, but never truly owns your very core.
Sooner or later, the succubus will grow bored and tired of seducing you, and you will have to face what you had been trying to escape all your life: your true antagonists. These hellions threaten to lay waste to your mental landscape, but now you know that they are no true enemies, as they are simply the harbingers of change, who have come to urge you to get out of your self-imposed prison of comfort and convenience, and to embrace chaos, to grow into the great human being you are destined to become. You bow politely, and gladly let yourself be taken away, on the endless voyage towards the magnificent unknown.
The flame of hope can never be extinguished unless you surrender her to the long, cold night of forgetfulness.
It is the first day of a new beginning. Time for celebration, or to follow up on resolutions made?
How about we make a toast to pain? What we might be celebrating is in fact a life that haunts us every step, a life that enslaves us rather than sets us free: we try to fit in with our social circles, keep up with the Joneses (or Kardashians), stay up to date through social media, follow our “true” passions, make needed career changes, get married, ask for that promotion, become an entrepreneur, listen to our parents, surround ourselves with comforts we think we need, escape sorrow by means of indulgences, try to change the world, or go on a quest to find our true self.
I say, let the the sirens of today’s madness sing of wants and needs, let the ghosts of yesterday wail of regrets and the demons of tomorrow threaten with fears. I say, sit down and let them howl, rage, pull at you, and attempt to tear you to pieces. Could this instead be the moment you choose change, and through change freedom?
All those voices from inside your head and from the influential social environment, telling you what to want and what to need in order to achieve happiness, assert themselves as being indispensable to a free life, yet they are the very opposite: they are Machiavellian creatures seeking domination over you by exploiting your biggest weakness: pain.
There, I said it. Suffering. Let it summarize all that you try to avoid and fear to acknowledge: guilt, tragedy, insecurities, trauma, fear, loss, mistrust, loneliness and other psychological turmoil. Breathe it in, bravely endure it, and even embrace it like you would your true soulmate. Let all hell break loose in your head but do not identify with any of it: it all comes, makes an awful lot of noise, but eventually passes. You are NOT your pain, but it is crucial that you go through it. I am not just telling you, I am urging myself to do the same, as it has always been my challenge too.
Then do something wild and creative: write, draw, paint, sing, dance, or do whatever makes you feel a free soul for the moment it lasts – as long as it does not harm yourself or others. Let all the pain be the energy that drives you to new extremes, until a thing of beauty emerges, a rare gem that would otherwise have been lost to mankind. Do not rationalize it, choreograph it, formalize it, describe it, or in any other way allow it to confine the untamed primitive flame: just go wherever it guides you. And when the dust has settled, exhaustion has finally caught up with the wild intoxication, and wet pearls trickle down the worn landscape of your tormented face, only then start trying to make sense of it all, and the result, a true masterpiece beyond any externally imposed standards – as it just IS – should be the perfect equilibrium between that wild untamed freedom that lies behind all that pain and the orderly form of you that exists in a relatively orderly universe.
Do not fear your pain, as the world is full of those who cannot handle their own pain and therefore seek to exploit your pain, and your pain will set you free, raise you to new heights of creativity and self-realization. And again, you will not need to dwell in pain indefinitely, but the sea of sorrow must be crossed to reach the other side.
forest sets me free. Among those solemn wooden beings I find myself again, innocent
curiosity and utter bewilderment leading me along the path, toward the great
unknown. My footsteps in a world oblivious to them make me feel insignificant,
yet this is a liberating experience. It humbles me, restores the child-like
nature stolen from me by life, a nature driven by asking bold big questions
with too much of an imagination to be able expect reasonable answers.
in the middle of a lavish nothingness, surrounded by the boisterous silence of infinity,
I remember seeing the world as an unsolvable puzzle. It often just dumbfounded
me. I was struck with sudden perplexity, admiring the intricate beauty of the
universe, while at the same time abhorring it for its horrible tendency to defy
Growing up, understanding came as a manipulative trickster, taking on ideas as disguises, answers by too many people to too many questions that all begged answering. Soon my mind became soaked with thinking, the sickness of endless cycles of self-defeating ideas that traverse generations like an ineradicable epidemic. No matter how many answers were administered as medicine, it was never the cure I was looking for.
answers did provide some comfort, though. The scientific method taught me to
better approach questions and answers, question what needed to be questioned,
but also came with the relief of realising that many of the tragic things
happening to us humans are due to psychological, genetical, and epigenetical
histories, a cause-and-effect dance from which it is often hard to escape.
Perhaps that meant I should not hate myself for my wrongs, but rather try to
understand the causes, learn from them, and show forgiveness.
Still, there remained this uncharted land, the great unknown of the unexplained. Consciousness, especially self-consciousness, seemed to be one of those logic-escaping demons: The Great Defier of Scientific Understanding. And the darkness, the emptiness, the bewilderment which was both a great joy and terror to me in my younger years, kept making itself known, through mere whispers and, as I failed to pay attention, it became symptomatic instead, resurfacing as everything it was actually not.
Along came a fresh wind of religion and the spiritual, inviting the unknown in a more purposeful way into experience. However, in many instances, there seemed to be too many attempts to deny the void of the unknown as well, by offering alternative answers, moral ones, or pseudo-scientific explanatory ones, and institutionalised rituals of dealing with questions, or rather refraining from asking questions altogether but rather surrender to the answers revealed, and those only. Revelations which, however, came in various flavours, just as many as there seemed to be people claiming to know answers, and it almost seemed a sin to just crave again that innocent bewilderment, that wonder, to just admit not having any answers. Is it a terrible mistake to question default answers to unasked questions about the divine? Or to question the logical fabric of reality when the weirdness of nature at the deepest quantum level makes questionable those scientific frameworks that no longer seem to allow any place for mystery?
the middle of a forest that asks no questions nor has all the answers, I stand,
wondering whether the wilderness that bewilders me is telling me a profound
truth: that the true path is to surrender to the eternal questions, the
questions that defy answering, as they are beyond answering, forcing us to let
go of the need to find answers. That we, spiritual people, religious people and
science-minded people, should all stay bewildered, and marvel at how questions
unfold by themselves, without expecting reasonable answers, when we submit to
seems fairly fashionable to fantasize about the future. A regular
appearance in the reality show of wild futuristic foretelling is Ray Kurzweil,
whose predictions are said to come true with exciting, or, if you are a
pessimist, frightening accuracy, give or take a few decennia.
mysterious abyss between mind and body will, if we follow his optimism, be
bridged by many body-mind integrating technological developments, perhaps even
leading to eternal life, a metamorphosis into a digitized entity.
will then also become smarter itself: “2029 is the consistent date I have
predicted for when an AI will pass a valid Turing test and therefore achieve
human levels of intelligence.”
modern philosopher Sam Harris shares this idea that superhuman intelligence
will emerge, but is perhaps a tad less hopeful in stating that “it’s the
most worrisome future possible because we’re talking about the most powerful
possible technology.” He fears that AI will improve itself, leading to a
entrepreneurial and technological prodigy Elon Musk, on similar lines agreeing
that there should be constraints on AI to prevent such a runaway effect, keeps
building his brave new world of automated cars, affordable Lego brick houses,
flying cars, Starlink global internet through satellites, increased solar
power, Neuralink implants and SpaceX reusable rockets, with serious intentions
of colonizing Mars.
else, if we may believe the digital prophets of our time, are marvels of
science just waiting around the corner?
and augmented realities that cannot be distinguished from the real thing?
3d printers that can create just about anything?
we see a decline in simple jobs that can be automated and an increasing demand
for “deep work”, as Cal Newport argues in his book of the same title,
all in an age of increasing distractions?
we embrace an era of peace, because “the decline of violence is a fractal
phenomenon,” as Steven Pinker has argued?
can see it over millennia, over centuries, over decades and over years.”
man be able to take (epi)genetical manipulation to the next level, a salvation
from illnesses and handicaps – or creating its own kind of threats?
robotics help advance our society, make us inferior and dependent, or will it,
together with the parallel development of AI, lead to a Terminator Judgment Day
style of apocalypse?
will the sciences advance, will they help increase our understanding
beyond what our fallible minds and senses allow us to currently experience, or
will they become corrupted by market forces, or perhaps turn into instruments
of death, as had been forseen during the creation of the atomic bomb?
we see the end of our planet, solar system, universe, or just our
will we finally unequivocally uncover the fabric of a final reality, beyond
current scientific and spiritual reach, something that will unite us all and
disprove the assumption of individual existence?
am no futurist or storyteller. Nor do I have an outspoken opinion about the
“good” or “evil” of future phenomena and inventions. New
technology has always raised suspicion, and that must have been the case even
in the Stone Age. And now we are comfortably reading this post on a digital
screen, a technological feat made possible by the manipulation of electricity,
a force of nature which frightened our dear ancestors so.
My concern is of a different nature: the search for meaning and our true humanity. Cal Newport warns of shallowness in work and focus, I warn of shallowness in existentialism, in spiritual experience, in morality, in wisdom, in philosophical inquiry, and in the critical thinking and intuition required to distinguish the truly beneficial from the irrevocably harmful. Whatever the conditions, whatever the substrate of reality we will inhabit, let us not abandon the path toward realization of our greater selves, and by that I am not referring to physical or technologically greater selves, but spiritually greater selves – however that expresses itself in your own unique experience!
On November 18, 1978, the charismatic cult leader Jim Jones successfully convinced hundreds of cult members of the People’s Temple to commit “revolutionary suicide” through the intake of a mixture containing, as one of the lethal ingredients, cyanide. Victims included more than 200 hundred children. Hence, it became known as the “Jonestown Massacre.” More information about this man-made tragedy can be found online, including audio recordings of the final moments before the suicide. However, I do want to caution you: they will be shocking.
The mind is an awe-inspiring phenomenon, beautiful yet terrible. It is the most dangerous weapon in the world. If wielded benevolently, it may lead to Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, the internet, or frozen yogurt. If wielded malevolently, it may lead to the Spanish Inquisition, the atomic bomb, or the Jerry Springer Show.
mind which can turn evil and cause catastrophes is an extremity, but the core
problem is the difference between what I call “the higher self” and “the
thinking mind.” The thinking mind might also be called “the ego”, however there
are so many conceptions and definitions, that this would be misleading. The
higher self has spiritual connotations, which relate to the ideas I discuss in
other writing, be it blog posts or books.
thinking mind is a unity of self, or rather an experience of a consistent perspective
of perceptions and concepts related to a sense of self and identity, which
involves believing in the narratives told about this self.
mind is what it believes it is, what it thinks itself to be. It is like an
impostor, claiming to be the creator of its own existence and narrative, even
if those narratives (science may have proven this) are derived from other
people’s narratives about the applicable person.
Acts like a “god” within, a divine “I”,
originator of its own unique self and ideas;
Takes credit for ideas which come
from beyond the thinking mind, like a boss who writes his name under the work
of an employee;
Manipulates and deceives for gain
like a con artist;
Is self-righteous and charismatic,
like the leader of a cult;
Forcibly supresses opposition and
brutally resists change like a narcissistic dictator.
thinking mind, however, fails miserably, like a clown with Alzheimer, in
perfectly performing its tricks. It suffers from biases, is fooled by optical
illusions, falls pray to stereotyped and irrational thinking, follows flawed
heuristics, has a low capacity short term memory, and an unreliable long term
memory storage and retrieval system which is susceptible to suggestions.
powers are mainly derived by conviction and belief: as long as the higher self
believes the (self-)narratives and identifies with the constructs of the
thinking mind, it grows, like a totalitarian state with propaganda.
things may happen when beliefs are taken too far in the direction of
glorification of the individual self, for instance when the spiritual,
pantheistic idea of “everything is identical with divinity” leads the self to
identify itself as a god, mixing intuitive spiritual experiences with
individuality, a sense of self, and other dualistic ideas. That’s when the ego,
the thinking mind, takes over as divine soevereign. That might even be the
origin of evil, although this would be a very bold statement.
higher self is indeed majestic, however, it is not a self in the sense of an
individual entity with a clearly defined identity. It is not a godly figure, not
the “divine I,” but rather something beyond the world of individual forms of manifested
existence, the great indescribable mystery, or the void of emptiness in which
everything dissolves, but from which everything also emerges, in endless possibilities
of limitless conceptions, with infinite characteristics.
you allow yourself to be sucked into that black hole of apparent silence,
inertia and nonexistence, showing the willingness to sacrifice your noisy,
pretentious souvereign called the thinking mind, including everything it is
identified with, you will be struck with horror upon disintegration, after
which you will reemerge integrated with a smile on your face, as you have then
looked into the eyes of truth, the higher reality of your higher self.
than being lured into a trap set by your thinking mind, allowing yourself to be
convinced to consume the cyanide of ignorance, you will awaken with a clear
awareness, steering clear of the manipulated realities and conceptions of the
thinking mind, with absolute confidence.
Image: The Death of Caesar, by Jean-Léon Gérôme [Public domain]
has supposedly said something along those lines. In Ancient Greek: Ἓν
We live in an age of strong beliefs, values, and judgments, fiercely fought over on battlefields real and digital.
Social media are engineered to transform healthy communication into addictive connection and appraisal seeking; and rational into irrational, highly emotional decision making. Even to the extent that it influences voting outcomes.
Beauty standards taken to extremes, with digital retouching creating demigods and goddesses setting unobtainable goals for unfortunate souls who seek to resemble them.
wealth and the prestige of fake selves and fake lives are forming the
foundations of a new religion, lacking, however, meaning and purpose, damaging
the environment, and increasing the gap between the rich and poor.
increasing disconnectedness of digital connectivity and the meaninglessness of
many 21st century endeavours create a void that is filled by fake
news, fake beliefs, unfounded claims, and fancy cults that pretend to aid
humanity but in fact hide a network for sexual abuse and exploitation.
religious people dressing like religious people, without the heart of virtuous people, promising those who do follow
them extrinsic rewards before or after death, but preaching hell and damnation
for those skeptical minds who seek the intrinsic reward of pure truth and
virtue by becoming virtuous for the sake of becoming virtuous.
void of meaninglessness is also filled with the claims of spiritual people who
pretend to be “scientific”, without really understanding science.
even scientists seeking prestige or needing funding commit intellectual sins by
publishing “fake” science funded by stakeholders, or science without meeting proper
The lonely voice voicing rare truths cries out but is overwhelmed and silenced by the majority of voices who seek only the confirmation of beliefs they are invested in too much.
We are deafened by the shouts and noises of irrational manifestations, the suppressing totalitarian regime of the fake and judgmental, and the pretensions of ignorance.
in the silence of the acknowledgment of ignorance, the knowledge of not knowing
or pretending to know anything, do we find the clarity of consciousness to
answer the question: what do we truly know? For although we may well be
inclined to believe many things – and to some extent rightfully so – we are
ignorant of many, if not all things predicating by truthfulness and reality.
might have known a thing or two, but never claimed to know what he did not
actually know. He challenged people with fixed beliefs who claimed to know what
they did not know. And he was, if we may believe Plato’s narrative, poisoned
Descartes came to cogito, ergo sum. Only knowing that he existed through his thinking, starting from an almost nihilistic standpoint of not knowing anything.
may learn many things, but shouldn’t we be skeptical, be humble about what we truly
world is full of stakeholders that want us to belief something, because they
make money out of it, because it increases their status, or because it makes
them feel more elevated as a social, religious, or spiritual idol.
return to the void, and keep asking yourself the question: what can I truly
know, and how does it – whatever it is – truly benefit me and others?
Painting: François-Xavier Fabre – Museum of Art and History, Geneva
is the key to life, it covers most of the Earth’s surface, it is one of the
main ingredients for the recipe of our body, and we need to drink plenty of it
in order to survive. It is used in spiritual rituals, cools us comfortably during
hot summers, and also dampens the spirits of forlorn creatures in autumn, when
it pours down relentlessly for days on end.
can also be a destructive force, for instance when a massive tsunami wave
crashes down onto a hapless coastal settlement, ruining the forsaken coast
can be a perfect ice cube, all it’s power and virility seemingly contained.
evaporated, it becomes like a ghost, unseen yet present, transforming into
raindrops or even snowflakes if conditions allow it.
is the versatility of the phenomenon called water, and what does that tell us,
at least as an analogy? Much, but let’s focus on the different states.
ice cube. Frozen water. On first impression flawless and motionless. In reality
more complex than that, but for the sake of my argument, let’s assume it is in
a perfect state of order. Fascinating as it might be, it is also rather
lifeless. Imagine being turned into a statue, like in a fairy tale, frozen in a
certain state, never able to get out of it. Or, if you still want to allow for
some mobility, being stuck in a day, a day that keeps repeating itself in exactly
the same order and manner in an endless cycle. Both the static and cyclic state
seem rather miserable, right? Let that be the extreme of perfect order.
let’s zoom in on the tsunami again. A huge wave creating havoc. Death, destruction,
despair. Only miracles of a spiritual nature, or marvels of a scientific origin,
could heal what was hurt, and restore what was lost. Some will be traumatized
for life, others will be financially ruined. Such is the cost of chaos, the
extreme seems desirable. Neither the state of order nor the state of chaos can
sustain life. And yet both are necessary. The magic happens at a very small
area in the middle, a kind of “golden zone”, where chaos provides the degrees
of freedom, and order helps maintain some kind of continuity, an equilibrium. Not
a static equilibrium, but one that is fed by chaos, adapts, grows, and even
learns. This is where complexity occurs, where all that makes existence
beautiful and lively emerges, and where intelligence comes into existence.
is like total freedom, randomness, meaninglessness, unpredictability, and instability.
It is movement without purpose, without direction.
is the opposite: it is control, rigidity, predictability, and stability. It is
either static or cyclic (though the latter seems more apparent in this
universe, which seems to be always in motion).
is the moving equilibrium between those two extremes, a delicate balance where order
maintains form, but chaos allows it to grow more complex and better adapt to
the conditions of its context of existence. Going to either of these extremes
will lead to either stagnation and maladaptation (too much order) or decay and
These ideas of order, chaos, and complexity, if you ask me, can be used, to describe things that happen in the universe, from the smaller scales of particles (like in thermodynamics) to the larger scales of galaxy formation. They can be used to describe the dynamics of the human mind, and those of human society. Something I am trying to do in my book, which is still in progress.
the conditions of the early universe would have been too random, or rather too
rigid, galaxies, and life as we know it, would probably never have evolved.
concepts of order, chaos and complexity seem to be very useful in describing
what I see and experience, what I rationalize about, whatever their scientific
worth may be.
what does all of this tell us about the more spiritual side of existence, on
which I have been writing stubbornly for the last few years?
consider the ocean: vast, seemingly endless, borderless, shapeless, humbling,
inspiring, majestic, and remorseless. If you behold her like a poet would, not
a scientist, she takes no definite shape, but incessantly flows and brings
forth waves. She consists of countless individual drops, yet those drops are
part of the whole and have sacrificed their stricter individuality, they are “one”.
Everything that could be formed out of the ocean’s water, either as a whole or as
a part of her, is in a way already there, like ice cubes, snow flakes, or even
ice sculptures. However, none of those forms are manifested, they remain latent
yet are always potentially there.
water evaporates from the ocean, cooling down and eventually transforming into
hailstones, these hailstones are like “manifested order”. Like Erwin
Schrödinger’s proverbial “cat”, from the Quantum Mechanics thought experiment, which
seems to be in two conflicting states: alive and dead, suddenly coming alive as
a manifested creature, as in the collapse of a quantum wave describing the
possible states of existence.
ocean, the unmanifested, called Brahman in Hindu philosophy – the Absolute, the
pure and formless ground of being from which creation and manifestation arise –
is NOT chaos, or change. It is absolute flow, but as it is formless, it is not
change. Change and chaos (the extreme version of change) only occur when there
is order, when something has already been manifested, when something has arisen
out of nothingness. So when the tsunami wave crashes down onto the coastal
settlement, it causes chaos because the coast and the settlement were already
there in the first place.
the unmanifested ocean which I will now call the “higher reality”, and to which
I have referred many times in earlier writings, all those things that can be
described using the concepts of chaos, order, and complexity also exist, but
not as a manifested form, as they are always in motion, and always “whole”,
divided yet one. As it seems impossible to fully comprehend, let alone clearly describe,
what this vast ocean of the unmanifested actually is, we mortal manifestations
of that higher reality might refer to it in various abstract or comforting
terms, and from a religious perspective that could be what is meant by “God”.
the drops in the ocean, at the deepest level, we are part of this higher
reality, and yet we experience existence as something that is manifested in a
certain mold we refer to as the physical universe. We experience a distinct
self, related to a distinct body, in a world full of other distinct forms and
other distinct, conscious beings, behaving as if separated, following sets of physical
rules which may be uncovered through the various sciences, within a framework
of space and time which, at least at the macroscopic level, to the conscious
mind, seems to unfold as a one way deterministic trip from past to future; and
even science, probing this manifested universe only, has a thing or two to
teach about this seemingly unidirectional movement of time and space –
especially at the smallest scales, where past and future states, or rather even
time itself, seem nonexistent.
order must be manifested in order for chaos to emerge, and growth (complexity)
arises due to the interplay of those two extremes, at a very specific, optimal
intersection. Complexity, therefore, must seem nonexistent too in the formless
ocean that is unmanifested higher reality, right? It is like everything you
will ever be, and everything you ever can be, already exists. What is the point
of growth? In manifested reality, you might want to find and embrace the ocean,
which you had forgotten when you embraced (or were determined to embrace) mortal
life. Then the whole journey toward spiritual enlightenment would just be an
uncovering of what was lost, and finally overcoming that amnesia fully, forever
forsaking the distinct self that had forgotten its true origins.
is my belief, therefore, that through life in the manifested world, something
is gained, a way of perceiving the unmanifested that would otherwise have been
impossible. And I am confident that we are each on our own personal quest to
find our own purpose in this bewildering enrichment of consciousness, to find
our own true voice in the all-encompassing, time and space-independent heavenly
choir of meaningful experience, a unique unity which may only be achieved by
overcoming all our shortcomings, and our egocentric self, as those lead to the
state of duality which traps us in the illusion of conflicting manifestations,
in its most extreme form a kind of hell of separateness and isolation.
embark on this journey, defy the odds, embrace the ocean fully, and, once
discovering your true sound, add your own fabulous voice to the orchestra of
Image: Albert Bierstadt – The Shore of the Turquoise Sea
are attracted to things, possessions, achievements, pleasures, people, ideals,
values, concepts, and anything between heaven and earth that rewards us
temporarily with neurological highs.
At the same time we feel aversion towards things that hinder satisfaction, or that put as in any kind of disadvantage, even suffering.
When we attain certain things, and they become valuable, like luxury goods, titles, money, a partner and, especially, our own self, our ego, we feel affiliation with them – identify with them – and they become part of who we are, of the who we present to the world, and the who we enjoy looking at in the mirror. We grow attached to those shiny rubies of experience.
thing is, none of it is durable, none of it lasts, so we keep on looking for
reinforcements or replacements. It does NOT work. We can fool ourselves, and
fool others, but deep inside, our TRUE SELF knows it is just a load of utter
we embrace and start feeding our true self, we will become conflicted. We might
get stressed, frustrated, scared, or even angry. The mind does not like such
conflict, but it is for the best, we have to overcome and persevere.
have talked about the true self before. Let’s introduce the concept of
sacrifice. In some cultures it is commonplace to perform ritual sacrifice. Such
ceremonies might be aimed at feeding the poor and creating greater social
awareness, but sacrifice goes much deeper than that.
certain religious traditions (especially the Abrahamic ones) it is narrated
that certain people who were searching God, were asked to sacrifice the lives
of their spouse or children. Now, most would (hopefully) not agree with
actually killing family members to appease God, but it is paramount to try to
appreciate and acknowledge the significance of the willingness to “give up
matters, it seems to me, in such extreme cases, is the coming to a realization
that nothing in this world should be hold so dearly as to never wanting to part
with it under any circumstance. It should be clearly stated, however, that I do
not intend for this to mean “to not hold anything dearly”, or to actually give
those things up. On the contrary, I encourage holding dearly to what matters,
to people who matter, in life, however, not to the extent of sacrificing one’s
true self. The crucial lesson here is to let go of all identification with
anything else than the true self. One can still love, care, and even achieve –
as a matter of fact, when embracing the true self primarily, such love can
become even more profound! – but one is no longer bound by them to the realm of
the finite and manifested, the universe of unavoidable tragedy. It will
transform the self from a self of wants into a self of needs, and from a self
of needs into a self of being. A self that simply is, without any need of
becoming anything else than itself.
do not need to be drastic and dramatic, like in the case of hermit monks or the
people told about in religious traditions. Small sacrifices are small steps,
but small steps can lead to bigger ones, and even the change in awareness, and
the willingness to change associated with these small steps, can bring about a
whole chain reaction in the self.
The sacrifices made are not just for the sake of those who might benefit from them, even more so they are for the sake of our own betterment, for the salvation of our true self. And the salvation of our true self is the best gift we can provide our loved ones with, a beautiful self is worth more than the world’s most expensive jewels.