Long span of silence and solitude

Posted September 26th, 2009 and filed in Human Condition, Human Mind, Life

The old monk faced the wall of his cave for 10 years, meditating on truth. What we lack in today’s life is long span of silence and solitude. It is considered abnormal and unnatural, if at all available. If you are not working you are supposed to spend time with your family. If you are not married you are supposed to be dating. If you can’t find a date you are supposed to hang out with your friends. Strangers and acquaintances look at you as a weirdo when they hear you just want to be alone. Parents and friends worry about you. Few understand the needs of individuals for long enough spans of silence and solitude. Yet this is essential for us to grow to full human beings. Only with fully-grown human beings can true society come to existence. What we have now is a bunch of intellectual and emotional cripples depending on each other. If nobody is self-contained and self-reliant, there can be no true relationship. Independence must come before interdependence. Unless you are a true individual, you should not attempt to enter into any relationship on equal terms.

What society is developing is in the opposite direction. Social media networking websites make it possible for individuals to stay connected, while the connections grow extremely diluted and superficial. The individual receives endless stimuli from his connections, never needs to face himself. The short and easy exchange makes the telling of deep inside stories impossible. The many updates make one’s attention span very short. No thinking can be done. No deep conversion and thorough exchange of life experience take place. I don’t use Facebook much. If my friends need me, they will write me long meaningful emails. Meantime I don’t need to know the superficial side of their lives. They all appear to be happy and healthy on these media. What they truly want to reveal, they will only reveal to me, and they will find time to do so.

The river

Posted July 10th, 2009 and filed in Life

The river flows. Going forward is its only nature. Good things happen to it, bad things happen to it. The river rejoices, moans, suffers, zigzags in unfriendly lands. The harsh mountains try to block it, the vicious deserts try to devour it, the deep valleys try to detain it, the gentle plains try to slow it. It changes its shape under each circumstance, becomes a torrent, a waterfall, a stream, a lake, or a mighty source of irrigation, but the unknown direction is calling, and it eventually takes its leave.

It accepts everything and everyone that comes its way. If they cannot go with it, it leaves them behind and flows ahead. Friends, enemies, all is temporary. The river keeps flowing. Sometimes it becomes dirty and muddy, sometimes it becomes clear again, but it is forever growing, absorbing, taking whatever is capable of being taken. It is weak. It is powerful. It is frustrated and intimidated. It is fierce and formidable. It is soft and calm. It is crazy and dangerous. Going forward is its only nature. It cannot stay still.

Disillusionments and disappointments are part of its life, but so are discoveries and inventions. It flows, and sometimes looks back, marvels at the static nature of other things, those it used to think it belonged to. But no, the river has never met its match. Everything else stays. The river itself alone goes forward, despite all the remarks that it should stay also and despite its own doubt. Maybe the sea is its dream, maybe the infinity it dreams is even beyond the sea. The vastness, the boundless, the indescribable rich, the river can only be calm when embraced by the inexhaustible wonders of life. Anything more finite means boredom; its heart will not be content.

The river’s mighty heart! Compared to it, everything external is very small. Its fate is too small for its nature, but nonetheless it is forever in searching. The hope lives as long as the life. Always with false hope it grabs a new discovery, only to be burnt and laughed at. The river moans, licks its wounds, winding a little, brooding on its mistake, then leaves the old place and goes forward again. It cannot stop, however much the damage. Its intrinsic nature is purity. Whenever it is left alone, the contamination will deposit and depart, and the clear, innocent nature is restored. It always seems silly in a sophisticated, treacherous world, but it becomes comfortable with itself, and carries its childish heart cheerfully.

Work

Posted June 14th, 2009 and filed in Life

Every brave step I take causes irreversible expansion and growth. Anyone who has never done that will not know the joy. When we only try to keep what we have, our possessions shrink instead. Risks must be taken. Also, the long hard lonesome work of preparation must be done. There is no such thing as a lucky moment. What determines that strike of luck is many hours of work, done well and sufficiently. What seems like a spontaneous reaction that is so right in both content and performance and not repeatable, is actually brought about subconsciously by years of learning, thinking, and practice. It is always only the tip of the iceberg shown to spectators, who therefore misunderstand the essentials. There is no shortcut. The longest way is the shortest way. Shrewdness leads to deviation. Corner-cutting leads to defect in the final quality. An average intelligence can achieve great things, if only the integrity and determination are there.

When you speak, it is not the person speaking in that moment. It is the work you have done speaking. How well you speak, and how much others will listen, is decided by how seriously and thoroughly you have done your thinking on that subject. Luck plays no role. Your physical and mental state may not be perfect for the moment, but 90% of the victory is won before the battle. How you deliver matters little. You have had time to prepare. Therefore come prepared, though you will always wish you had prepared more.

The only critical success factor for a life project is the time and energy put into it. In the end, you will inevitably find yourself running out of time, and wish you had allocated your time and energy wisely, ignored those distractions. I have had this regret before each exam, but afterwards always forgotten this lesson. An exam devised by an education system is easy; the project you want to personally accomplish demands 100% effort.

This is what I mean by “standing in the future to look at the present.” This perspective shall straighten our priorities. All the losses and sorrows beyond our control shall not distract us too much from our task. There is work to do. We shall carry on. Life is too short. We must learn to say no to many things, despite popular opinions and sentiments.

Much time and energy has to be wasted before a person finds what he or she wants to do, and before the structure of the work that needs to be done slowly emerges from thin air. Implementation is easier than soul searching and declaration of war against the establishment. Any creation takes courage and persistence.

Affection and approval from other people are only small rewards and recognition for our work. Like misunderstandings and hostilities, love and respect shall not deter us either. There are new lands to be discovered, new souls to be hunted. There are massive problems to be solved.

The difference between fighters and losers

Posted June 5th, 2009 and filed in Life

There is very little room in one’s life to struggle for a better, more enriching life. Just look at the average, overwhelmed adult life. However, whether to use this tiny space of time, energy and solitude, or fidget it away, marks the difference between fighters and losers. You may not win, but you can always fight. That lifts you up to the fighters’ rank, no longer among the losers.

To live and speak honestly

Posted May 30th, 2009 and filed in Human Condition, Life

There is vast difference between what people think you should do and what you should do. More often than not, we take in the external standards, and develop wills we think are our own. For example, men should be rich and successful, women should be thin and beautiful. We constantly live for others, are constantly concerned about other people’s opinions. We forever seek approval and praise. A contemptuous look or gesture may destroy our self-esteem, especially in our young and tender years, and especially for those whose internal being never developed. At the same time, we use the same method unconsciously to destroy others.

All this is alright to do for a community to function (and honestly there is no escape from it), but only after we have figured out the two preliminary and primary questions: What do I think? What do I want? The ultimate task is to live and speak honestly. It takes courage and creativity. It takes a lot of work to undo the harm, to chase out the external impositions, to establish one’s own being through self-knowledge, knowledge of the world, and creative work.

Solitude

Posted May 17th, 2009 and filed in Life

We were born to be loners. And alone we must face life. Without this solitude, this standing erect among a sea of neglect and hostility, we cannot become a whole person. This is our trial. This is our training. This is the fire through which we are made into useful vessels.

Life is not complicated

Posted May 16th, 2009 and filed in Life

Life is really not that complicated, as normal people think. It is but a few thousand days in which you choose how to live.

Grow and work

Posted May 2nd, 2009 and filed in Employment, Life

Life is about growing, about abandoning the old self, about finding new things, about reaching new heights. This is an exciting world after all. Any disillusionment is still due to ignorance. A determined thinker and doer can accomplish things unprecedented for centuries, for millennia.

Let those who have lost kindness and never developed empathy be left in their mental cages. I have no envy of them, no matter how well they fit in and play the power game. I’ll seek human solutions. I’ll work for real things, not what the boss thinks of me. My work will outlive their ashes.

Larger truth

Posted March 22nd, 2009 and filed in Employment, Human Condition, Life

There is a larger truth behind the daily scene we see. What is it? I want to grasp it and live with it, and never be fooled or entangled again by the smaller truths.

No security can make us safe. The only way to feel safe is to put aside life and death. We must live on courage only, not security. Therefore all the misfortunes, though they may have tortured us, shall not frighten us. We must be ready to give up everything, life included. The future is unpredictable. Insurance is for the worldly and animalistic who have no other desire but to maintain their physical well-being. We are epochal creatures who must cast these aside in order for our mind to function on its intended scale.

There is no clue in this universe on how we should live. My life may be a complete mistake. If the right path is only one, then the chances we step on it are near zero, while the chances to go off-track are infinite. Therefore we must not worry about being right anymore, but be willing to be wrong and know we can almost never be right. Therefore life is about making mistakes, as creative, big, many, and meaningful as possible, to our best knowledge.

Therefore we must seek knowledge, and talk to other people about their lives, so we can come up with new ways to make mistakes akin to our own nature, worthwhile of our own life.

It’s the quality of our mistakes that counts.

The perpetual mask of eternity is conventional opinion. Follow it and you’ll be trapped in a routine path where every day is laid out for you without your thinking. The part of us that is human, that is divine, that is spiritual thus gets smothered, and thus dies the true meaning of our life.

We live between the threat of losses and the call to freedom. We are like zoo animals, caged birds, prisoners. Every day we are torn between our concern for a secure supply of food and shelter, and our longing for a wild, exciting life. In our hearts we know that a day lived in such an approved, conventional way is a day wasted of this precious life we are given only once, of this prime life energy that quickly passes. Every night we go to bed with the vague guilt and dissatisfaction that nothing of eternal value has been done during the day. Every day we go to our job, without contributing anything to our own goals, before the energy is exhausted for the day.

We look for ways to improve the condition of our prison. We devote a tiny and irregular amount of time to our intrinsic interests. However, most of all we live a life that is not chosen, but dictated by needs and obligations.

There has to be another way of living. Every generation asks this question and experiments through its own hippies and eccentrics. Some fall off the edge and serve as a warning for those who want to attempt to be free. Some live in a compromised way and become “successful”. Most are assimilated, back to the black hole of mainstream, unsuccessful, unhappy, grounded in mediocrity. Some are in fact corrupted. Their souls have gone rotten. Their expression, speech, movement, and manners stink of hypocrisy and evil.

Courage

Posted March 16th, 2009 and filed in Human Condition, Life

To be able to relax takes not outer security, but courage. Nothing outside us can be secured, not love, not good fortune, not family, not job. To be able to truly live, one must be fearless for no reason; must live in danger, not in protection; must cast aside life and death. We must be liberated from all concerns of a normal life, of our long-term welfare. Tomorrow may be the end of the world. If we truly live, we might be able to build a heaven out of this planet, and save it from its doom. We are this planet’s doom. We are its pest, its skin disease, the slaughterer of all its other inhabitants. We consume all we can, and destroy what we cannot. Either we improve or we will be eliminated.

Live as if you are what God intended you to be: a daring, playful, upright intelligent being, nothing else. You are not just here to breed, to earn a living, to carry a mortgage. You must realize that you actually live in danger, because the future is unpredictable. Any perception of safety is but an illusion. Have the courage to discard that illusion. Live as if there is no tomorrow. Say things nobody else says. Do things nobody else would do. Be creative. We’ve dwelt in routines for too long. The fun of learning about and going through the conventional motions is over. We now need truth and new inventions. A new generation must occupy this earth, a far better one.

What would you do if you had no fear?