I choose to be here writing a blog to you who might read. I am happy with that. You may choose to read or not. That is outside my control. I am fine with that. To maintain my sanity I have cobbled together some philosophies and I am coming to terms with some things these days and I no longer feel dread. Or at least, not as much dread. What fun would life be, how would we grow, if we did not have a bit of sharpness in our lives? I think I find myself sliding into happiness, sometimes, these days.
The root philosophies to feed this Tree of Life I am growing are:
1. The Stoicism of Epictetus: This is a general discipline of control over my internal essence and a release of concern over forces which are outside of my control. Buddhist philosophy shares in this when it says we should bend like a young reed under the strong wind to best survive a storm. We cannot control the elements but we can control our reaction to the elements. This includes not coveting the things of your neighbour but desiring only that which you can achieve. But you cannot learn what you can acheive unless you emotionally detatch yourself from the things you cannot control. Because if you fear or desire that which is outside your power then you will be controlled by that thing and you will have no power over yourself.
2. Chassidic/Jewish Mysticism: This is very rich and all encompassing. There are tendrils that go into all aspects of living and it all feeds from observations on the human being which are thousands of years old. People who do not believe in God balk at this, but the term God is a metaphor, there are no definitions which can describe That Which Is and Is Not. When we speak of God -when we speak of ANYTHING – we are talking about ourselves. Whether God Exists or not is a moot point. Rather “God” describes Divine aspects of human character, that which is best in us, those aspects of character which enable us to be happy and productive within modern society.
Prayer becomes self-visualization. We see ever morning noon and evening that which we need to do to make our life harmonious. Just as with Stoicism or Buddhist Prayer there is a great deal of discipline built into Jewish prayer, providing us with the strength to control our inner essence and become. There is also release from that which you cannot control. God also represents forces external to ourselves which we cannot control, whether we call it Fate or Chance. We release control to that, but – through internal discipline – we cause ourselves to see the best within any given situation and act within that to create the best reality possible. It is called Tikkun Olam (Healing the World).
3. The Beat Poets: I am trying to gain an appreciation for the Beat poets/writers. It seems radically outside the previous parameters, but there is no harm in looking… I hope. There is a strong ethical aspect to the Beats which honours the sanctity of Life and appreciates the beauty of Creation. There is also a release to sensuality and I fear that without a strong foundation grounded with discipline this can lead to dissipation and reprobation. I stress that these definitions come from outside. Perhaps the Beats were all just different writers and poets from particular times and places who shared ideas, but Charles Bukowski was classified as Beat, and I leave you with a poem of his:
The Laughing Heart
by Charles Bukowski
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
know it while you have it.
you are marvellous
the gods wait to delight